When clients ask about chair rails, I often suggest that they paint everything below it a glossy white so that it becomes more of an architectural element in the room. I also love how the crisp white looks against a really bold color on top.
It’s a really bold statement that works well in this small foyer and makes the white trim stand out even more.
Here are some other ways to achieve this look–whether you have an actual chair rail to work with or not. . . .
In kids’ rooms, this effect can be created and can serve double duty by using chalkboard paint: