Areas that are usually overlooked within interiors are places we look into with great detail. Originally, dado rails were installed to prevent chair backs from damaging the walls but now they are often removed from rooms as they are seen as outdated. However, we see a dado rail as an opportunity to combine different fabrics and materials. Wallpaper, fabric, paint and wooden panelling can all be used, and you can have a lot of fun with different textures.
The best part is that the dado rail itself can be easily created with just a simple strip of shaped wood, a wide trimming or even a strip of wallpaper.
In this Shepherd’s Hut we have created a painted dado rail which divides the mural. Above the dado rail is a mythical landscape with rolling hills and pear trees, while below are vivid red cartouches which have been decorated with joyful jugs of flowers and leaping horses.
In the Araminta Room at The Whitby Hotel, we’ve used a traditional wallpaper mural with a large scale print in my ‘Mythical Land’ design created with Melissa White, paired with a contrasting striped fabric skirt of navy and electric blues below the dado rail.
In the newly redesigned room 305 at Covent Garden Hotel, we have kept things simple by using Soane’s tiny ‘Coral’ print wallpaper above the dado rail and painting below in a Farrow & Ball’s ‘Shaded White’. These colours are picked out from the Jim Thompson fabric on the headboard. The two are separated by a fresh white dado rail.
In a reverse effect, in Room 205 at Covent Garden Hotel we have used Molly Mahon’s geometric ‘Luna’ fabric below the dado rail, while lining the walls in plain fabric above.
In room 107 at Charlotte Street Hotel, a spring green wallpaper by Brain Yates lines the walls above the dado rail, with Little Green’s ‘Old Paper’ paint below. These two contrasting colours beautifully enhance the hues of the headboard and curtain fabrics, where we have used a green and pink Soane printed linen.
We love to take designs that are often seen as traditional and rethink them with a contemporary twist. Dado rails are the perfect opportunity to settle the debate of which fabric, paint or wallpaper to use in your room – use them all!
Here are our top tips for dado rails:
1. Make sure the dado doesn’t protrude any more than ¼ inch from the wall.
2. The optimal height for a dado should be around 1m – 1.2m from the floor – the general rule is that the higher the ceiling, the higher the position of the dado.
3. Always have more space above the dado rail than below.
4. Use a combination of plains and patterns – if you are worried about using a very bold wallpaper in a room, using it below the dado is a great way to incorporate it into the scheme.
5. Paint the dado rail the same colour as your skirting and cornicing to keep a seamless finish, like it’s always been there!