Feature Friday- Faux Chair Rail Tutorial

In celebration of The Sitcom’s Two Year Anniversary, I am bringing back some of my oldest tutorials, revamped and updated with fresh new photos and extra information.  Hope you enjoy…

This tutorial was originally published on June 10, 2010.

We’ve been in this house for about 8 years now. When we bought it, it was a land of white walls. A total blank slate. As you can probably already tell, I’m kind of a fan of color. So gradually, I’ve been updating each room to my liking.

In the front of the house is the guest half-bathroom. This room has a ten foot tall ceiling, but is literally not much bigger than a closet; housing a sink, a toilet and a couple towel racks. It was hardly inviting and I’m ashamed to say that it was one of the last rooms that I updated. The problem was that I had to come up with an idea. I did not want to just change it from ten feet of white wall to ten feet of colored wall.

I also did not want to spend a bunch of money on this. My husband was exercising his veto power. You see, he had no problem with the white. I had to come up with a cost effective way to get what I wanted, yet keep him from giving me the evil eye. So I came up with an idea on how to create a faux chair rail. No wood purchase, low cost materials = happy hubby.

For this project I used:

1 can of paint in goldenrod
1 small can of light yellow paint
1 small can of white paint
Painters tape
All purpose joint compound
Pallet knife

My sister made a beautiful nautical cross-stitched picture for me and I decided to use it as my inspiration. I wanted to create a sunny ocean-side bathroom.

I began by painting the entire bathroom in a shade of goldenrod.

After it dried completely, I used painters tape to mark out my faux chair rail.

I then used a sponge and a lighter color of yellow to sponge lightly over the upper section of the walls above the painters tape. The best way to do this is to dab most of the paint off of the sponge before applying and dab it on until it has the look that you like.

I then painted white between the painters tape lines in order to create the faux chair rail.

After this had dried, I chose a stencil that I liked and cut it to fit. I used painters tape to attach it on the chair rail where I wanted it. (Painters tape will not remove dried paint).

I then smoothed a good 1/8 inch coat of joint compound over the stencil using my pallet knife. The joint compound does not need to go over perfectly smooth. I think a little bit of texture gives it character.

After covering the stencil, carefully lift it up to reveal your raised stenciled pictures.

Repeat along the chair rail. I found it easiest to start at the door so that I would not have to match the pattern when I came back around.

The joint compound will need to dry for at least 24 hours.

I then added a coat of white paint in order to make it match the chair rail. This could actually be done with a color in a dry brush to bring out the textures if you wanted. There are tons of options.

To complete my new bathroom design, I added some dollar store artwork, a cute toilet paper holder and a couple silk flower arrangements. My new bathroom was complete for about forty dollars. The husband couldn’t help but approve.

Enjoyed this tutorial?  Be sure to check out my tutorial page for many more!


{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jamie Corbin March 31, 2017, 4:35 pm

    I was looking for that exact dog TP holder because I had it and a mirror fell down on him and broke his nose completely off! I looked up Collections Inc and only found Collections Etc. Do you have a website. I haven’t even thrown mine away because I don’t want to part with it. But it is styrofoam inside and not sure how to fix it. Thanks, Jamie

    • Susan Myers April 1, 2017, 10:06 pm


      I just did a search on the internet and do not see it offered any more. I originally bought it from Collections Etc about 20 years ago. We actually no longer own him as we sold him in our estate sale two years ago.


  • Brandi Clevinger February 28, 2015, 1:54 pm

    That’s such a small change, but it looks beautiful and elegant! I love it when a small idea like this makes such a positive difference!

    Thanks for sharing at Inspire Me Mondays!

  • Amy @ Ms. Toody Goo Shoes February 27, 2015, 11:01 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks so much for linking this up at Best of the Weekend!

  • Christine from So Domestically Challenged February 21, 2015, 8:56 pm

    Wow. What a clever idea! I’ve never seen detail like that before 🙂

  • Kay September 22, 2014, 2:50 am

    OMG!! Your tutorial was so inspiring…but when I saw that toilet paper dog with the nose clip….I could have just died laughing! Wherever did you get it?
    Cute..cute! I am crazy about your website. Your projects are inspiring. The tutorials to the projects are so easy. The materials necessary are so basic. And your comments are so personable! What a joy! Thanks!!

    • Susan Myers September 22, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words! You totally made my day!! In answer to your question, The TP dog came from a company called Collections, Inc. As I recall he was inexpensive and I couldn’t pass him up. Folks always get a kick out of him when they use the guest bathroom.


  • R. Bradford May 25, 2012, 10:30 pm

    Happy Anniversary..this technique looks JUST LIKE Texture Magic which costs WAY MORE in the craft store!!!! NICE NICE job…as always!!

  • norene May 25, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Congratulations on your 2yr anniversary!!!

  • katie May 25, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Great tutorial! Happy bloggiversary!

  • Paula May 25, 2012, 9:56 am

    turned out awesome love how you painted the wall and the raised designed border!!!

  • Christie, Describe Happy May 25, 2012, 9:50 am

    Two years already? Aww!! Happy blogger-versary!

  • Creative Mind May 25, 2012, 7:38 am

    Perfect Tutorial 🙂 thanks for sharing !

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