Title Image

4 creative ways with a picture rail

Image of the picture rail in the living room of @gingerhearts

4 creative ways with a picture rail

Commonly found in period homes, a picture rail is the strip of moulding that sits just below the ceiling. Originally used to hang artwork without the worry of damaging the walls, today picture rails serve a more decorative purpose. Confused about how best to incorporate them into your design scheme? Here are four fabulous ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Be a shade bolder

Standard practice is to paint your picture rail and the space above it in white. However, splashing out on a bolder shade will add character and interest to your space. Carol Maxwell of @maxmademedoit has used a warm pink on the ceiling, which she has run down onto the walls to the line of the picture rail. The walls below it – and the picture rail itself – are painted a bold shade of blue, which gives the room a stand out look. Design note: Carol’s created a play on texture by using the same colour blue but in two different finishes. To achieve this, she’s painted her picture rail in eggshell, which has a slightly glossier finish to the matt emulsion used on the walls.

Image showing picture rail in the living room of @maxmademedoit/
Image: @maxmademedoit
2. Take a subtle approach

Dare to be different by painting the space between your picture rail and ceiling in a contrasting colour to your walls. The ribbon of colour created is a brilliant way to introduce a dash of a different shade without over committing. If you’re feeling brave, why not go the whole way and take the colour across the ceiling?

Be inspired by Jennifer of @thehousethatjenbuilt who has gone with a soothing shade of grey, which draws the eye upwards to emphasise the height of her beautiful bedroom.

Image of the picture rail in @thehousethatjenbuilt
Image: @thehousethatjenbuilt
3. Create a contrast

Draw attention to picture rails by painting them in a contrasting colour to your walls. A simple trick like this also stops the dominant wall colour from overpowering the space. Cue Amy of @gingerhearts, who’s picked out her picture rail in bright white to break up the soothing blue.

Image of the picture rail in the living room of @gingerhearts
Image: @gingerhearts
4. Make a statement

I’m signing off with this fabulous bedroom belonging to Joanne Mooney of @aproudhome. It’s not just the daring colour combo that caught my eye. I also love the way Joanne’s picked out a bold shade of pink for her picture rail, creating an eye-catching border to the colours above and below it.

Image of picture rail in the bedroom of @aproudhome
Image: @aproudhome

Featured image: Create a contrast with your picture rail, as Amy of @gingerhearts has done.

Want more? We’ve got further painterly inspiration in our blogs on colourblocking and how to make dark walls work.