Raised panels are the most traditional style of wainscoting, and this style goes back to Colonial times. Flat panel is another style that provides clean lines and a simple design. Another style of wainscoting is the overlay panel, which allows for more elaborate designs.
Raised panel wainscoting typically ranges from 30 to 40 inches and looks terrific in a room with high ceilings. In this style, the rails, panels and stiles fit perfectly together, and the baseboard may be built up from several molding pieces.
Flat-panel wainscoting works well in mission-style homes and this wainscoting starts at the floor and is followed by the bottom rail and the stiles. This style is usually capped with a chair or cap rail and flat panel is easier to install than other types of wainscoting.
Overlay panels is a wood overlay centered between the rails and stiles of a flat panel. This makes the wainscoting look as if it is recessed. This type of wainscoting works best in a Neoclassical-style home and can be applied directly to a wall with chair and base molding above and below.
Other, less common types of wainscoting include board and batten, combination, embossed metal, ceramic tile and embossed MDF.