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Home > Ideas & Tips > Never Stop Improving with Sarah Richardson - Episode 10

Never Stop Improving with Sarah Richardson - Episode 10

Where Sarah shopped for this episode




Chair Rails


Wall paper

Episode 10:

Using builder supply materials to give your home architectural interest


Trim details and interesting architectural features add huge value and impact to a home, but what if yours is bland and boring? Embellish and get creative! By installing inexpensive exterior panelling, high baseboards, chair rail, and even crown moulding, you can make your home look like a designer masterpiece. With a bit of know how, you can give your rooms the character you always wished they had!

The finishing touches that make the Masterpiece

Sarah's big-box store Challenge!

Watch as Sarah renovates a rundown house into a stunning design statement… all with items available at Lowe's stores!

Get the Look

Here are a few key elements we used to make this home better than new… and yes, it's all from Lowe's!



Look for classic details when selecting your door hardware. A simple, round knob is a timeless choice and can be brought up to date with the finish selection. An aged pewter tone can easily be mixed with black, steel, or antique brass accents, so it's a good choice for any home!

Want the look?

Weiser RP Hancock Passage Knob Item #315564
Bedroom Knobs


The rule of thumb with trim and baseboard details is that bigger generally looks better. Underscaled trim details make the architecture of a home look cheap, whereas chunkier profiles will help frame your home in style! Even in a home with standard 8' ceilings, you should still use a baseboard at least 7" in height.

Want the look?

Evertrue 19/32" x 6-1/4" MDF Baseboard
Item #165037
Evertrue 1" x 2-7/8" MDF CHRL (L300) chair rail
Item #85834
Living Room: Trim and Baseboards


Add some wow factor to your storage area. There's no universal rule that says your doors have to be painted plain white. Since doors get a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis, it's practical AND pretty to treat them to any bold and fun hue you choose!

Want the look?

Sarah Richardson Designer Palette for Para Paints
Doors - Robin's Egg / SR17
Mudroom Doors
Bathroom: Durable Tub Backdrop


To create a durable textured backdrop to your tub, consider installing pine beadboard panelling. Once painted in a glossy paint finish, the panelling provides an inexpensive yet effective alternative to installing tile.

Want the look?

C&C Wood Products Ltd. 48 Pine Wainscot Beaded 9.33 sf - Item #261975


Embrace the versatility of chair rail and select the height that gives you the most flexibility. It's easy to create a dramatic effect by setting the chair rail down 20" from the ceiling. Since rolls of wallpaper are tradtionally 21" wide, this space allows you to run a single width of paper around the perimeter of the room with the minimum number of seams.

TIP: When choosing to install wallpaper this way, always choose a non-directional pattern that can run either horizontally or vertically for best results.

Bedroom: Versatile Chair Rail


When trying to achieve great results with minimum investment of time and resources, look for ready-to-go solutions. The panelling in this family room is actually intended for exterior use and is sold in 4' x 8' sheets. Each sheet overlaps the adjacent one seamlessly, so you can get the effect of wide plank panelling with minimum installation effort (just saw an 8' sheet in half vertically and you'll have 4' tall panelling to run around the room at a price that won't break the budget!

Want the look?

Georgia Pacific 3/4" Thick 4'x 8' Sheet Exterior Plywood Paneling with Groove - Item #12957
Family Room: Bring the outdoors in


Think of your panelling as another opportunity to experiment with colour (it doesn't have to be white!). You can create a more noticeable contrast in colours if you accent the chair rail and baseboard with white trim paint, and use a warm grey for the panelling.

Want the look?

Sarah Richardson Designer Palette for Para Paints
Paneling - Linen / SR28

TIP: Since the panelling has a rough texture, prime it first, then lightly sand with an electric sander before applying the finish colour.

Family Room: Colour Panels


A bit of chair rail can be a money saver in the long run. If you are dreaming of installing a decorative wallpaper to add pizzazz to one of your rooms, think of how much less paper you'll need if you divide the wall with a chair rail.

Want the look?

EverTrue 1" x 2-7/8" MDF CHRL (L300) chair rail
Item #85834

TIP: If you are planning to combine wallpaper and paint in the powder room, make sure the chair rail is installed above the height of the sink so any splashes from the sink land on a glossy painted wall surface, and not on your beautiful wallpaper!

Bathroom: A Money Saver

Nailing the detailsIt's the little things that count



Georgia Pacific 3/4" Thick 4'x 8' Sheet Exterior Plywood Paneling - Item #12957
chair rail

chair rail

EverTrue 1" x 2-7/8" MDF CHRL (L300) - Item #85834
beadboard paneling

beadboard paneling

C&C Wood Products Ltd. 48 Pine Wainscot Beaded 9.33 sf - Item #261975

The Grand FinaleAll from your favourite big-box store

Feeling inspired? Get started at Lowe's…

Sarah Richardson
Sarah Richardson Design

About Sarah

Sarah Richardson is an internationally acclaimed Designer and TV host who excels at demystifying the complex design process to help real people achieve winning results. Sarah's mission is to share her expert insights and savvy know how to help empower and inspire everyone to make their home environment the best it can possibly be, no matter what the budget.

Sarah's latest project is a series of 10 online webisodes that chronicle a house renovation and provide insightful and inspiring tips and real-life solutions for practical and cost-effective design results.

Sarah's TV shows, Sarah's House and Sarah 101, can be seen on HGTV in Canada and USA.

see other work by Sarah
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