a finished Lincrusta wainscoting install
Photo: Kolin Smith


You may not have heard of Lincrusta, but we bet you've seen it before. In its heyday, during the Victorian era and the early 20th century, this ornate wall covering was a popular addition to upscale homes, including well-known examples like the White House and the John D. Rockefeller mansion. Pioneered in England in 1877, Lincrusta been made the same way ever since: A mix of linseed oil, wood paste, and other natural products is fed through rollers that emboss a pattern on the surface. Because it's as durable as it is delicate looking, it's well suited for walls in high-traffic areas like hallways—or for a wainscot, as we've done here. Follow along as senior technical editor Mark Powers installs Lincrusta panels and gives them a two-tone paint job that highlights their handsome texture.

Wainscoting: Lincrusta's Art Nouveau wall covering; Lee Jofa.
Paint: Benjamin Moore's Pilgrim Haze (base) and Metallic Silver (highlights); Benjamin Moore
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    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • Pencil
    • utility knife
      Breakaway utility knife with extra blades
    • 12-inch stainless steel ruler
      Metal ruler or straightedge
    • wallpaper smoother
      Smoothing tool for liner
    • j-roller
      Smoothing roller for panels
    • Natural-bristle chip brush
      4-inch chip brush for adhesives
    • synthetic brush
      2½-inch angled paintbrush
    • paintroller
      Roller frame with ½-inch-nap covers
    • grout sponge
    • hardboard
      Piece of hardboard that's at least 1 inch taller than base molding
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • eye goggles
      Safety goggles
    • miter saw
      Miter saw for chair rail
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer gun for chair rail

    Shopping List

    Lincrusta Available through Lee Jofa, 800-453-3563

    Kraft paper

    Painter's tape

    Lint-free cloths

    Heavy-duty wallpaper liner

    Premixed vinyl wallpaper adhesive

    Clay-based adhesive for panels

    Odorless mineral spiritsLatex gloves

    Vinyl or acrylic adhesive caulk

    Universal acrylic primer-sealer

    Latex paint. Get an eggshell base color and a matte highlight color.

    2-inch brad nails for chair rail

    Wood filler for chair rail

    Fine-grit sandpaper for chair rail