Right now my dining room is half wallpaper and paint as you can see. I want to really change it up. I Iove the wainscoting look, just don't know if it would work for me. The whole house has that same ugly trim. So if I change in one room I have to do it all. My other idea was just to paint the whole wall including chair rail the same color. What do you think of that idea?
I hate telling people that the "HAVE TO" do some large project... But, since you asked, I would say, "Yes. You have to change the trim through the whole house." Do you have ANY room where that 2 1/2 inch oak trim looks terrific? Of course you don't. And that chair rail falls in the better to have nothing than that category. Little dainty chair rails are a menace to our society and they should all be turned into kindling. The only chair rails that improve the look of the space are beefy chair rails, like those in the pictures here. I honestly feel like little ones should not even be manufactured.
Don't be overwhelmed. You don't have to do everything at once. (unless you want to). Make this room how you want it, (wonderful wainscotting) and then when you are up for a new house project, keep going with a much larger, nicer baseboard throughout. I previously called myself a chair rail snob, perhaps I am a baseboard snob as well. What do you think? Is it just me, or is there any hope for short oak baseboards? Should replacing your baseboards be on everyone's list that has similar ones?
Check out the photo below, where someone painted over the short oak baseboard and then added a half round to make it look higher. Great idea!
Here's a post in 2008 that I did when I was going through the same process. (btw- I went 9 1/2)