10 skirting board colour ideas to freshen up tired schemes
It's time to ditch the classic white – embrace our skirting board colours ideas instead, you won't look back!
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For decades, a room wasn't a room without the classic white skirting boards and matching woodwork – fresh and crisp, it worked a treat.
With the advent of colour drenching, skirtings and woodwork have become a lot more creative as bold paint ideas have been used on them as well as the walls, it's an exciting trend that's led to skirting board colour ideas becoming increasingly popular.
So where do you begin when it comes to using colour on your skirting boards? 'A good guideline is to opt for a colour tone that harmonises with your walls,' says paint expert and managing director at The Paint Shed, Michael Rolland.
'As a general rule of thumb, if you have darker-toned walls, then you should match this with a darker-coloured skirting board to match and give it a modern and contemporary look. On the other hand, if you have lighter hues throughout your room then you should opt for neutral, lighter shades for your skirting boards.
'Often neglected, your skirting board colour choice can be an effective way to manipulate the room, for example, the perception of height in the room or help draw attention to other room features.'
What's really exciting about skirting board colour ideas is that it's for everyone, even if you're not a colour lover, you can still adopt this trend but in a more subtle way. And if you do love colour then you can really get creative.
'Incorporating colour into skirting boards is an easy way to add visual interest and personality into any design scheme,' says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands. 'As grounding elements that add character and detail, colourful skirting boards can be used to create a lively focal point in an otherwise neutral scheme, or to enhance already colourful spaces.'
If there are two colours that sit well together it's pink and green. You can play with the intensity and choose which combination you'd like best.
Paint expert, Annie Sloan recommends painting your skirtings and edges as it's a cost effective way of adding flair to rooms lacking in period features.
'In years past, homeowners would strip properties of features considered old-fashioned. Often, skirting boards and cornicing were the first to go, turning previously lovely rooms into bland boxes. If you’re decorating on a budget, paint is the very best way to put the personality back. Characterful, contrasting colours on the walls, doors, mantels and radiators paired with decorative details on furniture and accessories will create a home that is truly you,' she adds.
If you love a statement look then consider colour drenching from top to bottom. You don't necessarily have to go for a bright shade, it will work with any colour, but for an eye-catching effect step out of your comfort zone!
'For the ultimate statement look, opt for an all-encompassing, floor to ceiling finish in one colour,' suggests Helen Shaw, director of marketing at Benjamin Moore. 'Use a bold shade such as this Savannah Green to cover the skirting, walls, ceiling and window frames to add to the feeling of grandeur. This not only provides the perfect backdrop for your favourite furnishings and accessories, but colour drenching can actually make a small space feel more expansive because the lines and edges are blurred.'
To create a dramatic element within a space paint your skirting boards black or a deep dark shade – and the bonus is that black goes with most colours so you can't really go wrong. Imagine if you painted them jet black whilst the walls were white – it the result would be striking. So be brave and go for it!
'While it is generally accepted that colours should be chosen to compliment instead of clash, breaking this rule will add a sense of drama to any space,' explains Punam Chada, carpet buyer at Carpetright. 'The use of dark shades for the skirting board, creates a sense of darkness and character to the room. To balance this look consider painting the picture rail in the same shade.
You can continue to balance the look by introducing accessories in order to make the look feel cohesive.'
One option if you don't fancy going all out on colour is to blend the overall look with a shade on your skirtings that's not massively different to your walls. This can work particularly well in older properties like farmhouses and cottages where natural light can be on the low side.
'When painting skirtings people often plump for a clean white, for a smart, defined look,' says Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball. 'Another option is to use the same shade as your walls, which helps woodwork and trim to blend and ‘vanish’ into the walls.'
'Or to flip the usual convention of white woodwork on its head and choose a darker colour for your skirtings. This feels overtly modern, and can add a subtle detail of interest to a room, which will work in both urban and rural settings.'
Patrick O’Donnell has been bringing his impeccable eye for colour to Farrow & Ball since 2012. Over that time, he has been a Showroom Manager, Global Colour Consultancy Manager and now Brand Ambassador. However, he is best known as the much-loved face of Farrow & Ball on social media
Blue is a popular colour for living room ideas and we're seeing more blue sofas around too. Matching your paintwork and walls – be brave, it can look fabulous – to your existing sofas and chairs might sound radical but can be very successful as Patricia Gibbons, part of the design team at Sofa.com explains:
'Your sofa is the centrepiece of your living space, and more often than not is the largest piece of furniture in the room. Therefore, choosing the colour and fabric pairing tends to require a little more thought. However, with certain architectural features, like tall ceilings or skirting boards, it’s worth picking the colour of your walls first.
Once selected, matching your sofa with a similar shade can be key to creating a harmonious space. This pairing helps elongate a room, giving the illusion of a higher ceiling as well as more space. You can then layer accessories to create harmony between the tones of your walls and skirting through textiles and decorative additions incorporating complementary tones and textures.'
You can use your skirting board colour choice to visually join two main colours on the colour wheel together. Get it right and you'll create harmony within the room.
'Skirting boards tend to be a bit of an after-thought but with a little planning and creativity they can really help to harmonise a colour scheme,' says James Sirett, head of product at Fired Earth.
'For example, the Verd-Antique green on these skirting boards is a clever choice. As a green with reddish undertones, it successfully brings together and balances two very different colours (Wild Olive and Orchard Pink). It also perfectly complements the wood flooring, creating a seamless, natural flow from walls to floor. This ensures that the scheme has a beautifully light and airy feel.'
It can be hard to think up skirting board colour ideas that will work for your scheme, one great idea is to pick out a shade you love from a wallpaper idea or mural that you have in the room.
'There are a variety of different approaches to painting doors and woodwork, each creating a different atmosphere in a space,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
'For an enveloping and intimate feel pick out colours from your wallpaper design and be playful with them, opting for different colours from your wallpaper on skirting, doors and the ceiling. When added around a mural design the painted skirting becomes like a frame.’
You can use skirting board colour ideas to help trick the eye if your space needs a little interior design help. For example, low ceilings will benefit from having a darker colour painted lower down – the section from the chair rail to the floor will do the trick. It can also be used to link colours within the scheme.
'By choosing a dramatic red like Theatre Land™ No.282 to connect furniture to the skirting, or a deep purple such as Duke’s House™ No.44 to outline the edges of an entire room, colourful skirting boards can create a sense of cohesiveness throughout a home and allow you to introduce stronger, deeper colours in a way that doesn’t overpower the space,' Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands.
Established in 1884 by Dominic’s grandfather, Mylands is Britain’s oldest, family-owned and run paint and polishes manufacturer. Mylands has been perfecting the art of fine, richly pigmented paints with real depth of colour for over 135 years in the heart of London. In 1984 Dominic joined the business full time, having previously worked there in his school holidays from the age of 14. Working across all areas of the company from the factory to the boardroom, Dominic took over the company from his father in 1998 and continues the family tradition of perfection in paint.
Grey has been a classic interior colour choice for many years, it's losing its top spot a little these days but looks fabulous on woodwork teamed with a pale grey or lavender.
If you have an adjoining space then why not give it a similar treatment but use a different colour? Pale blush will lighten up a room and if you paint the skirtings too it will create the illusion of space like white would, but without the risk of it feeling too cold.
If your skirting boards are deeper than average – more common in period properties – then make the most of them by choosing a more unusual colour if you want to create an impact. The world is your oyster in terms of colours to use, if you love a deep violet but don't want it on your walls for example, then choose that for your woodwork and team with a pale contrasting shade on your walls.
'Painting your skirting boards is a great way to add a colour to the room without overwhelming it so it’s perfect for people who are a bit nervous about committing to colour on the walls but want to add a bit of personality to the space,' advises Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.
'Painting woodwork like skirting boards and architrave frames the space in clever and beautiful ways and on another plus side, it hides wear and tear much better than traditional white. To make the job of painting skirting boards and any woodwork in the room even easier and much quicker, use Dulux Quick Drying Gloss, Satin or Eggshell and invest in a good quality 2” acrylic paintbrush plus a small radiator roller to apply it.'
Essentially, you can paint them any colour you like, and consider flipping the traditional look too – if you love red and white for example, have white walls and red skirtings. The beauty of this look is that you really can choose whatever you like. 'Conventionally, white is a popular choice when it comes to painting skirting boards,' says Punam Chada, carpet buyer at Carpetright.
'For those with a little more colour and design confidence, using a less predictable colour or tone is a great way to create an interesting look in your home. When you find a colour that works for you, select a leading tone and pair with accessories to add balance and depth to your space.'
'White is still the most popular choice for skirting boards, and crisp white woodwork can frame a room beautifully,' says James.
'White skirting boards are ideal for adding a fresh, contrasting finish to walls painted in bold colours, preventing the overall effect from being too dark. White can also act as a harmonising element in a scheme, helping to link walls and floors and to draw the eye around the room. While white is a timeless choice for skirting boards, using other paint colours can be a really effective way to achieve different looks.'
Although white is still top of the charts, that doesn't mean you have to stick to it, in fact, we encourage experimenting with our skirting board colour ideas to see which combination of shades you love the most!
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Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.
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