Terms of the Trade: What Are Chair Rails?

An ornate chair rail.

Chair rails are moldings applied on the wall a few feet from the ground. Chair rails protect your wall against scuffs from chairs. The height at which chair rails are installed varies, but it is generally installed at about 1/3 the height of the wall. Chair rails can serve many decorative functions. Sometimes they are used to break up different paint colors used above and below the rail. The rail itself can be either very simple or ornate. Installing chair rails is a project most DIYers can do on their own.