In architectural parlance, the dado is the lower part of a wall, below the dado rail and above the skirting board. The word is borrowed from Italian meaning "die" (as an architectural term) or plinth.
This area is dramatically given a decorative treatment different from that for the upper part of the wall; for example panelling, wainscoting or lincrusta. The purpose of the dado treatment to a wall is twofold: historically, the panelling below the dado rail was installed to cover the lower part of the wall, which was subject to stains associated with rising damp; additionally the dado rail (also known as the chair rail) provided protection from furniture, in particular the backs of chairs. In modern homes, the dado treatment is generally aesthetic.
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