The Dos and Don’ts of Painting Chair Rails: Tips from Professional Painters


Chair rails break up the monotony of a blank wall. By adding a horizontal element to the wall, they create a sense of visual interest and depth. They can also help to define the different zones or areas within a room, such as the dining area or the sitting area in a living room.

If you’re looking to update your home’s interior, painting chair rails is a great place to start. However, this interior house painting project can be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with the process.

But don’t fret. We’ll provide you with the dos and don’ts of painting chair rails to ensure a successful outcome.

The Dos and Don’ts of Painting Chair Rails: Tips from Professional Painters

DO: Choose the Right Paint and Tools

The first step to successfully painting chair rails is to choose the right paint and tools. Professional painters recommend using high-quality paint specifically formulated for trim and molding. This type of paint is typically thicker and has a higher gloss or sheen, which will help it adhere better to the chair rail’s surface.

You should also invest in quality paint brushes and rollers. For chair rails, it’s recommended to use a 2-inch angled brush and a mini foam roller. The angled brush will allow you to easily apply paint to the chair rail’s corners and edges, while the mini foam roller will provide a smooth, even finish.

DON’T: Skip the Prep Work

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when painting chair rails is skipping the prep work. Before you start painting, it’s important to thoroughly clean the chair rail’s surface. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. If there are any dents or scratches, use wood filler to patch them up and sand them until smooth before painting.

It’s also important to tape off any areas that you don’t want to paint, such as the wall above and below the chair rail. Use painter’s tape to ensure clean lines and protect the surrounding surfaces.

DO: Use Proper Painting Techniques

To achieve a professional-looking finish, it’s important to use proper painting techniques. Start by applying a thin coat of paint to the chair rail, using the angled brush to get into corners and edges. Use the mini foam roller to smooth out the paint and create an even finish.

After the first coat has dried, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections. Then, apply a second coat of paint using the same techniques. For best results, wait at least 24 hours between coats.

DON’T: Rush the Drying Process

Another common mistake homeowners make when painting chair rails is rushing the drying process. It’s important to allow the paint to fully dry before touching or moving the chair rail. Otherwise, you risk smudging or smearing the paint, which can ruin your hard work.

In general, you should wait at least 24 hours before touching the chair rail. However, if the weather is humid or the paint is applied thickly, it may take longer to dry. Be patient and wait until the paint is completely dry before touching or moving the chair rail.

DO: Consider the Room’s Design

When choosing a paint color for your chair rails, it’s important to consider the room’s design. If the room has a lot of bold or busy patterns, consider choosing a neutral or muted color for the chair rails. This will help balance the room’s design and prevent it from feeling too overwhelming.

If the room has a more neutral or monochromatic color scheme, consider choosing a bolder color for the chair rails. This can add a pop of color and interest to the space.

DON’T: Neglect the Finish

Finally, it’s important to pay attention to the finish of your chair rails. A high-gloss finish can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to a room, while a satin or matte finish can create a more relaxed and casual vibe.

Consider the overall style and design of your room when choosing the finish for your chair rails. If you’re not sure which finish to choose, consult with a professional painter who can provide you with recommendations based on your specific needs and preferences.

Need to Hire a Professional Painter for Your Chair Rails?

Painting chair rails can be a challenging task, but it’s one that can make a big impact on the overall look and feel of your home’s interior. By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure a successful project that will leave your chair rails looking beautiful and professionally finished.

However, if you don’t have the time or energy to take on the project yourself, we encourage you to consider hiring a professional painting company.

The professional painters at Benchmark Painting & Carpentry can provide you with expert guidance, high-quality materials, and a flawless finish that will transform your chair rails and enhance the overall look of your home.

Call us today at (561) 375-6249 for a free consultation and estimate!

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Benchmark Painting is your trusted, local contractor for residential and commercial painting services and more. With a commitment to excellence and years of expertise, our team delivers top-notch results for every project. Whether updating your home or transforming your business, trust us to execute your vision with precision.