Mike in Irvine, California Asks:

I have to install wainscoting around inside and outside corners in my kitchen and dining room.

My question is this.  How do I wrap the wainscoting around the corners?  Do I put vertical stiles on both sides of each corner or do I have the panels straddle the corners?

Thanks for any help.  –Mike

Ken’s Answer


Mike, it all depends on if you are installing wainscoting with inset panels (like WAINSCOTING-100) or a continuous wainscoting, like the kind we installed in our kitchen (WAINSCOTING-109).

Wainscoting With Inset Panels on Corners

You can create two kinds of wainscoting with inset panels, and both of them need to have vertical stiles installed on both sides of your inside and outside corners.

  1. True wainscoting made with vertical stiles and horizontal rails.  These get actual vertical stiles on the corners.
  2. Wall frame wainscoting (which isn’t true wainscoting at all — it’s sort of like faux wainscoting — like I installed in this room) is made from installing frames of panel molding on the wall with chair rail above and baseboard below.  These you should make appear to have vertical stiles on the corners.

Of course there will be exceptions, but as a general rule corners need to have the structure of vertical stiles on the corners.

Continuous Wainscoting on Corners

This kind you can wrap right around those corners without including some structural element like a vertical stile or pilaster.

However, you can integrate pilasters into your corners both to help you make the transition (like I did on this staircase) between corners or simply as a decorative element.

Good luck installing your wainscoting!

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[This is part of our How to Install Moldings series.]