Chair rails are an intriguing finish to use in almost any space. It contributes structure, balance and a sense of elegance to any room. This is especially true of chair rails when used in modern homes. Endowing your contemporary space with this classic finish confirms your design taste as truly forward-thinking in character. If you have been wracking your brain with how you might use chair rails in a contemporary way, look no further. To follow are some simple ways of modernizing chair rails to fit your contemporary home.

Chair Rails in Children’s Rooms

Traditionally, chair rails were used in a home’s formal living spaces. The reason for this being that chair rails were initially meant to protect the walls from the backs of your dining room chairs.

One way to integrate chair rails in your home in a modern fashion is by doing so in your child’s room. Doing so will render this finish more energetic and vibrant than ever before. Interior designers suggest introducing a simple chair rail, about 3 inches in width, halfway up your child’s wall. You will use this finish as a beautiful separator between both sections of the wall. To modernize this look further still, you will want to introduce a vibrant, textured wallpaper on the lower half of the wall. Pairing this modern wall finish, with classic chair rails, creates a beautiful and whimsical atmosphere.

Modern Materials

Instead of standard wooden chair rails, moldings made out of unconventional materials are an excellent approach to modernizing this finish. One particular type of molding that looks exceptionally modern is polished onyx. Onyx comes in a wide number of different colors though it is widely found in jet black and forest green hues.

Select a simple cut of polished onyx chair rail. You will find that the intricate colors and shiny finish of this chair rail make it complex enough as is. This particular material looks absolutely stunning in modern kitchens and bathrooms alike. Pair this finish with a neutral wall color and sleek accessories, and you will be amazed at the sense of dimension and cohesion that you have created.

Simple, Yet Substantial

Another way of modernizing your approach to chair rail is by distorting the standard dimensions of this feature. If your space is especially large, it makes quite a bit of sense to incorporate larger than normal chair rails. Traditionally, this feature will measure somewhere between two and four inches in width. If you are hoping to make a striking contemporary statement, select a cut of chair rail that is somewhere between six and eight inches wide. It is also worth investing in a finish that extends further from the wall than standard cuts. There is a wide variety of chair rails that extend nearly two inches from the wall; these deep and wide moldings can serve as makeshift shelves for your family’s most valuable mementos. After all, one key principle of modern design is that of multi-functionality.

Bold-Hued Chair Rail

At the time of its inception, chair rails were always painted light, neutral colors, and this trend carried over for more than a century. But, if you are hoping to take your wooden chair rail to the next level of contemporaneity, consider painting it a bold color. Jet black, deep purple and royal blue are all excellent options for modern spaces. By painting your chair rails a bold color, you draw attention to the sense of structure that you are creating in the space, rather than allowing your moldings to fly under the radar.

Interior designers suggest that if you paint your chair rails a bold hue, that you do something with the wall space beneath them. Perhaps you will decide to tile this portion of your wall with subway tile, creating an urban, modern look in your space. If you have installed your bold-colored chair rail in a child’s room, you can paint the space beneath it either in a complementary color or with chalkboard paint. Whatever you decide, give the walls beneath your chair rail an equal level of intensity. If not, you will create a sense of imbalance in your room.

Although chair rails are a classic finish, you can easily alter them to fit your modern home. Perhaps you have decided that your child’s room could benefit from some more dimension and structure. If so, consider wallpapering the space underneath the chair rail in this space. You may also want to consider investing in chair rails made out of modern materials such as polished onyx. Other simple ways of modernizing your chair rails are painting them a bold color, or selecting an oversized cut of this finish. All in all, chair rails are a testament to the fact that modern and classic designs can blend together harmoniously.