Picture rails are the practical yet appealing additions that one often sees in old country homes. While many new homes do have them, many older homes did not. Old country homes with low ceilings wouldn’t have had picture rails on the interior walls as a picture railing needs a relatively high ceiling to work properly. In the case of an interior wall picture railing, the function of this piece of ornamental ironwork is to separate the decorative wall panels from the actual room’s walls; it enables the hanging of large paintings on the wall without the need to make additional holes to drill into plaster wall surfaces in the shape of screws or nails.
Picture Rails – A Room’s Crowning Glory
Because picture rails can be installed in different shapes and sizes, their use can be adapted to fit any particular room’s dimensions and design. A popular installation is using them along a wall to create a skylight or bay; a vertical wood rail running horizontally from wall to wall creates a skylight or if installed vertically, they can be used to create a door. This style of installation can also allow for the use of various materials such as brick, stone, glass, concrete, aluminum or acrylic. Another idea is using a picture railing along one wall with molding in the opposite wall. A vertical wood rail running horizontally with molding in the opposite wall can also be used to create a bay or skylight.
One of the advantages of using picture rails is that they create visual interest in a room while also ensuring that privacy is maintained. Since a picture railing is simply a series of individual pictures mounted at varying heights, the space it creates is a small one.