Picture rails are an important feature of a traditional home which can be kept in their original style or incorporated into a more contemporary scheme. Done well, picture rails really can enhance a room and become either a standout or a subtle feature.

Of course picture rails were originally intended as a purely functional feature in a home, on which to attach hooks for hanging paintings. It is still possible to do this in a way that enhances the room and displays various forms of wall art in either a traditional or contemporary way. However, it is more common for people to utilise picture rails in a more decorative way, and to use colours to extend or pronounce a theme in a room.

Ideas for decorating your picture rail

Whether you should paint above a picture rail or not is a very common question, to which there is no definitive answer. But the way you do this can really work in a number of ways. The first way you can use a picture rail to enhance a room is to paint the rail and the space above it the same colour as the ceiling, this would normally be in contrast, or at least as a subtle change, to the colour below the picture rail. This is very popular in a Victorian property where the ceilings are very high, and gives the impression of lowering the ceiling a little and making the room more comfortable and welcoming.

Alternatively, you can paint the picture rail itself, as a contrast colour to the rest of the room. This of course will make the picture rail standout as a major feature of the room, but this can work well if you decorate the rest of the room to complement it, with wall art, floor lamps or other decorative features.

Finally, you have the option of painting everything on the walls the same colour, including the picture rail. This provides a neat uniformity to the room and means the picture rail is reduced to being a nice, subtle detail that doesn’t draw the eye too much.

Picture rail options at Period Mouldings

How you choose to utilise the picture rail to enhance your room really depends on your attitude towards it. These ideas can all work in their own way, whether you want to hide your picture rail or are very proud of it and want to showcase it to the world.

What is definitely true in all cases, is that the picture rail will attract attention, and so it needs to be done right. A good picture rail will have nice period detail and at Period Mouldings we can provide a selection of rail designs which you can use to match your architrave and skirting boards. These will work whether you have a Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian or contemporary interior, but the key is to find a consistency in design which can work to enhance not just the room you are in, but to create a running theme that works throughout the house.

Take a look at our selection of picture rails and talk to our design experts who can help you choose the right style for your home.

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