How to install the picture rail now that it’s (rightfully) back in style

While most contemporary homes don’t come with a chair rail installed, the Victorian style of crown molding is making a comeback. Whether you’re after that classic Victorian look – or something a little more modern – installing chair rail moldings is a simple and elegant project to tackle. While conventional picture hangers and hangers are still the norm, we’re here to say that picture rails offer versatility and impact that hooks alone cannot provide.

Choose your molding

The picture rail comes in a number of shapes, but the important thing is that the top curves in relation to the wall so that there is room for a hook to fit over it. Hooks are also available in a variety of designs designed for use with cord, chain, or hanging wire. Newer designs also sometimes have a track or slot for suspension hardware, but these types will be equipped with suspension hardware and instructions.

Tools and materials

Once you have chosen your molding, you will need to gather your tools for the installation: You will need a tape measure, stud finder, level, miter saw, a finishing nail gun or finishing nails and a hammer with a nail. together. Adhesive tape and safety glasses are also required.

Install your rail

The chair rail is traditionally installed all around the room at the same height as the top of the door frame. However, for a more modern look, you can choose to highlight just one wall. Measure your molding lengths with your tape measure, then find and mark your studs with masking tape or a light pencil line. Next, cut your molding to the length of the wall you are installing it on. If you plan to go all the way around the room, you will need to cut the molding at a 45 degree angle at the corners. The side of the crown molding that rests against the wall will be the longest side of your 45 degree angle to match the crown molding. Then you can glue your molding to the wall at the height of the door frame (or have someone help you hold it), make sure it’s level, and nail it into your studs.

Display your artwork

Once your molding is installed, you can use the hooks and hanging hardware to hang your artwork. The benefit of having a chair rail system isn’t just how it looks – it also makes it easier to change the position of your artwork on the wall. You can slide the hooks along the molding to choose the lateral position of your frames, and you can lengthen or shorten the rope to change the height. You don’t need to plug nail holes when changing your mind or hanging a new framed piece.

Other interesting uses of the chair rail

However, the versatility of the chair rail doesn’t stop at the works of art. The hooks are designed to hold enough weight to accommodate a medium sized houseplant as well. For climbing vines, the hook and rail system is an excellent indoor trellis. If you have a chair rail in a hallway or entryway, hooks also make great additional hooks for coats or hats. And for a little sparkle, a light garland can be easily hung on the hooks of the chair rail. Your chair rail can be the strongest molding in your home, and it will look great doing it.

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