A few months ago we first revealed our newly plastered and painted fourth bedroom. We’re really happy with how it’s turning out and have now finally started to add a few finishing touches. Whilst I’m in general happy with how the room ist turning out and with the ceiling being the same colour as the walls, something just didn’t feel 100% right in this room.
The bedroom would have originally had a picture rail (we saw the line where it had been before we replastered the room) but because we were worried that having a picture rail would accentuate the uneven ceiling, we had initially decided not to reinstate it in the room and instead paint everything including the ceiling the same colour.
We’ve considered painting the ceiling white – which we still may do, but the one thing that we did feel was missing was the picture rail that we had originally discounted. All of the rooms that we’ve added it to, just have a much more finished feel to them and it’s also something that’s in keeping with the period style of our home.
If you’re thinking of installing a picture rail, this is what you’ll need:
- Picture rail
- Tape measure
- Nailer & nails or No-Nails
- Spirit level
- Saw & mitre box or mitre saw
- Caulk & caulk gun
This is how to install a picture rail:
1. As always when doing any DIY, preparation is key to achieving a great finish. Make sure that the walls where you’re adding the picture rail are clean and free of wallpaper. Any repairs or plastering should also be done before you add your picture rail. We also decided to paint our walls and paint the picture rail before attaching it. This way, you’re guaranteed a perfectly clean edge.
2. Measure your wall (start with the longest one) and then transfer the measurement to the piece of picture rail. Double-check your measurements before cutting it to size.
3. To cut the necessary angles at the ends of the pieces of picture rail, use a mitre box and a fine saw or an electric mitre saw. We’ve used both methods in the past (you can read about how we installed the picture rail in our main bedroom here) and if you only have a few pieces of picture rail to attach, a mitre box and handsaw are more than enough to complete the job.
4. Hold the picture rail (get someone to help you) in position and use a spirit level to make sure that it’s perfectly level.
5. When it’s level either nail or glue it in place. If you’re nailing the picture rail, add a nail about every 50 cm, if you’re using glue, you should spread an even zig-zag pattern over the back of the picture rail and press it firmly in place.
6. Don’t expect the corners in your room to be perfect 90° angles. It doesn’t matter too much if they are slightly off, but it’s worth checking and adjusting your cut if the angles are much smaller or larger than they should be. Caulk will hide a lot, but it’s good to get your cut as exact as possible.
We’ve used both methods (glue and nails) – to install a picture rail in the past and both of them have worked well for us. Having said that, using a nail gun was much quicker as there’s no need to hold anything in place while it dries.
If you do decide to use a nailer (or nail by hand), don’t forget to make sure that you have no cables or pipes behind where you’re nailing!
- Paint it before hanging – will ensure that you have perfectly tidy edges
- If you can, use a nailer rather than glue. We’ve used both methods and both work fine, but nailing is much quicker
- Don’t worry too much about perfect mitred joints – caulk is your friend!
What do you think finishes off a room? Do you love period features as much as we do?
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