Sometimes adding character to your home is as easy as building onto the architectural details you've already got. By topping existing wainscoting, for instance, with a deep ledge, shown, the wall paneling does double duty as a display shelf for artwork or platters. If your existing cap rail stands an inch or so away from the wall, you can replace it with a 1x3 ledge without any additional support. Just use finishing nails to fasten the ledge to the top of the wainscoting after applying construction adhesive to the back of the molding. If your wainscoting protrudes less than an inch from the wall, first fasten a strip of cove molding to the face of the paneling to serve as a lip to help support the 1x3 ledge. To match the new wood with the existing paneling, paint it all in the same color.
Cost: About $10 for one wall. Poplar 1x3 and cove molding, $7 and $4 for 8-foot lengths; at lumberyards