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Add Character To Your Home With These Interior Wall Trim Ideas

Transform your blank walls with these gorgeous wall trim ideas including wainscoting, board and batten, accent walls and shadow box trim.

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Minimal Wall Paneling Instagramcourtesy @isoscella/instagram

Minimal Wall Paneling

This minimal wall paneling idea from @isoscella adds understated texture to the wall without overpowering the room. Strips of medium density fiberboard (MDF) were primed and then attached to the wall with Liquid Nails adhesive.

Here’s a tip from @isoscella: Don’t line up your MDF panels with the ceiling or baseboards because these areas are not always perfectly straight. Instead, use a level on each panel before attaching it to the wall.

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Modern Wainscot Instagramcourtesy @nadine_stay/instagram

Modern Wainscot

Danica of @nadine_stay wanted wainscot in her home office, but gave it a modern spin with these skinny vertical slats. She used MDF because of its smooth finish and affordable price.

For a similar look, cut MDF into strips with a table saw to your intended height; remember to use a finish blade for smooth edges. Nail the slats to the wall with a nail gun, then fill in holes with wood filler and caulk. The whole thing was then painted a beautiful, earthy green color — City Arboretum by Valspar.

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Reverse Board And Batten Instagramcourtesy @bc_designaz/instagram

Reverse Board-and-Batten

Traditional board-and-batten has recessed squares with flat strips (or battens) around the edges. This reverse design by @bc_designaz has no battens. Instead, the normally recessed squares are attached directly to the wall.

To give the MDF squares more contrast, the walls were painted with a flat sheen and the squares have a satin finish.

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Simple Box Trim Instagramcourtesy @ali.bakun/instagram

Simple Box Trim

To add interest to a wall without committing to long hours of labor, try simple box trim design, as seen in this entry by @ali.bakun.

Before attaching the wood trim, the husband and wife team measured the size of boxes they wanted and sketched the design on the wall. Then it was a matter of attaching the trim to the walls with a nail gun or adhesive, filling in the holes and painting. An easy project that makes a builder-grade wall look custom.

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Modern Accent Wall Instagramcourtesy @themodelhomelife/instagram

Modern Accent Wall

This modern trim work designed by @themodelhomelife for @ashtonwoodshomes turns a previously blank wall into a work of art.

The intersecting lines and geometric shapes are the focal point of the room, while the bedding and furniture remain clean and understated. This creates the perfect balance for a relaxing bedroom. The green color is Dried Thyme by Sherwin-Williams.

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Square Board And Batten Instagramcourtesy @frankie_jayne.home/instagram

Square Board-and-Batten

Board-and-batten trim can be done in rectangles or squares. In this guest bedroom by @frankie_jayne.home, the squares have a distinctly modern look. The clean lines of the grid pattern give the room a fresh dose of style and texture.

Board-and-batten is incredibly versatile and looks great with all kinds of decor styles. You can cover a whole wall, or use it as an alternative to wainscot, as shown here.

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Recessed Panel Wainscot Instagramcourtesy @rtitusdesigns/instagram

Recessed-Panel Wainscot

Recessed-panel wainscoting is similar to board-and-batten, but features deeply beveled squares or rectangles with molding detail for a more traditional look.

Wainscot is often painted white, so we love the punch of blue used here in this room by @rtitusdesigns. Though the trim work is more traditional, the vibrant color and geometric wallpaper make the room playful and unexpected.

Photographer: @_dpphoto_

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Picture Frame Wainscot Instagramcourtesy @norfolkathome/instagram

Picture Frame Wainscot

Picture frame molding is exactly what it sounds like — molding shaped like a picture frame that’s attached to the wall.

In this nursery by @norfolkathome, the picture frame molding is used as wainscot, adding subtle sophistication to the overall design. Before painting, be sure to caulk all the seams between the molding and the wall for a smooth finish.

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Oak Slat Wall Instagramcourtesy @callumeastdesign/instagram

Oak Slat Wall

Painted wall trim looks great, but you can’t beat the richness and character of natural wood! This horizontal slat wall by @callumeastdesign was done with beautiful white oak. The exposed grain, tonal variety and sharp, clean lines make take this modern accent wall to the next level.

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Molding Around Artwork Instagramcourtesy @insidenumberseventy6's profile picture insidenumberseventy6/instagram

Molding Around Artwork

Here’s another version of picture frame molding (also called shadow box trim or box paneling), but this time it’s used on an entire wall. It’s a great way to highlight wall art.

The trio of prints seen in this living room by @insidenumberseventy6 would look great hung traditionally. But surrounded by the matching trim, they become a refined and elegant feature of the space.

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.