Whilst I’m in general happy with how the room is 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:
This post contains affiliate links. We only recommend products we love and think that you will, too! Read our full disclaimer here.
- Picture rail moulding
- Tape measure
- Nailer & nails or No-Nails
- Spirit level or a laser level
- Saw & mitre box or mitre saw
- Caulk & caulk gun
- Picture rail hooks
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 the 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 a mitre saw.
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. We would however recommend investing in a mitre saw. Our budget-friendly mitre saw is easily one of our most used tools and we highly recommend it.
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, apply some glue to the back of the picture rail, place it against the wall and add a nail about every 50 cm. If you’re just using glue, you should spread an even zig-zag pattern over the back of the picture rail and press it firmly in place.
If you live in an old house, we recommend nailing the picture rail moulding in place as it’s likely that your walls aren’t straight and you have to firmly press the picture rail moulding against the plaster walls for it to stay in place. You can hold the picture rail while the glue dries, but nailing it in place will make it much easier and quicker.
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.
When applying the caulk to the corners, also fill any nail holes you made.
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!
How much does it cost to install a picture rail?
If you’re installing a picture rail yourself, it’s a very budget-friendly project to do. The exact cost will depend on the size of your room but as a rough guide, here’s the picture rail installation cost for this room.
Total cost to install a picture rail: approximately £51.50
Top Tips For Installing Picture Rails:
- Paint it before hanging it – 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?