I’m looking to put wainscoting on the bottom 1/3 of a wall and wallpaper the top 2/3. Is there a recommended order in which to do this? My thinking was that if I put down wallpaper first, leaving maybe an extra inch on the bottom which the wainscoting would cover, the wallpaper won’t have a visible end seam. Not sure if it would actually work out though.

Lastly, I should mention that the wall has a small concave or bow inwards. It’s hard to see even if examined closely but since the wainscoting won’t be bent, there will be a gap between the wall and the top edge of the wainscoting which will need to be filled. This might play a factor in the order of things as well but that’s just a guess.

  • Are you using a chair rail or other trim to cover the transition?
    – Kris
    Feb 6, 2021 at 15:41
  • @Kris - yes we do plan to have a chair rail.
    – JaredH
    Feb 6, 2021 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


I put the wallpaper up first once and put the wood trim on top. When you go to change the paper you have to score it. That works. I am doing a project now and didn't buy enough wallpaper so am putting board and batten wainscoting up. Basically I don't think it matters which goes up first. But if I had a choice I would put up the wainscoting first. That way the wallpaper is easier to change.

  • Thanks for your input. Having some time to think about it, I'm a bit concerned about messing up the wallpaper if I put it up first, as the process of installing the wainscoting might nick, scratch, etc the wallpaper if it's up before he wainscoting.
    – JaredH
    Apr 26, 2021 at 15:35

I ended up putting up the wainscoting first, then the wallpaper afterwards. The benefits are that there was no risk of damage to the wallpaper while installing the wainscoting. The downside is that the wallpaper had to be scored where it met the caulk along the top of the chair-rail. If you look closely, you can see the score mark. No one notices or cares, and frankly it looks completely fine.

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