Trend : Coloured Skirting Boards

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Dulux Livingroom in purple with white skirting

Image c/o Dulux

When it comes to cutting edge interior design, one of the absolutely last things that will probably spring to mind is skirting boards. In fact, in my mind skirting boards are pretty boring and a bit of a non-entity. I rarely ever notice them and can’t say I’ve even thought of them much. They did briefly cross my mind when I was painting my hallway a couple of years ago. I noticed that ours have so many thick layers of gloss paint on them and I mentioned to my dad that I’d like to replace them. But he said there is a risk that removing them might rip the plaster off the wall so it could turn into a much bigger job. And that was the last time I thought about skirting boards. Until now, that is.

I’ve been noticing a bit of a new trend when it comes to skirting boards. They’re not boring anymore. We’re used to seeing skirting boards similar to those in the picture above, aren’t we? Painted with pristine white gloss no matter what the wall colour. Have you ever been into a home that doesn’t have white or, at a push, natural wood coloured skirting boards? I know I haven’t. But in the last year or so I have been noticing a change of approach in the way that interior designers and paint companies are treating the humble skirting board. Mole's Breath by Farrow & Ball

Image c/o Farrow & Ball

It’s a lot more common now to see the skirting board and door frames and even the doors too to be painted the same colour as the walls, like in this image above from Farrow & Ball. You can see here that even the fireplace is painted in the same colour. By doing this it kind of makes all these features disappear a little.

The door and the cupboard, and even the fireplace simply blend into the background and aren’t half as noticeable. This approach of coloured skirting boards works really well in small spaces as the absence of a clearly defined outline around the room helps to open up the space. It also makes the walls seem that little bit longer.

There is great historic precedent for using one colour on both walls and woodwork and it is also popular in contemporary settings as it creates a strong, clean look. It generates a sense of calm in a room, as well as exaggerating its size, as there are no contrasts to draw the eye.

Farrow & Ball

With the trend for moody hues and inky blues gaining in popularity in recent years we are increasingly seeing this trend for coloured skirting boards. If you look at the work of top interior designers like Abigail Ahern and Karen Knox of Making Spaces, you will see that this is a technique that they often apply to their designs to great effect.

Paint & Paper Library blue wall & door

Image c/o Paint & Paper Library

Another perfect example of this trend for coloured skirting boards can be seen above in this image by Paint & Paper Library. Walls, door, door frame, skirting board and dado rail all painted in the exact same colour. For people who keep their finger on the pulse of interior design, this is starting to become the norm now.

I’d like to do this in my master bedroom where we have dark blue walls. I have a built-in cupboard that is currently painted in white gloss and it sticks out like a sore thumb and really grabs all the attention in the room. It would be much better painted the same colour as the wall so it wouldn’t make so much of a statement and would basically disappear. It’s on my list of things to sort out. I might add coloured skirting boards to this list while I’m at it.

But it seems like just when we start to get to grips with one trend, another comes along to take its place. And now we’re seeing something even more exciting when it comes to coloured skirting boards. I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this but skirting boards just got sexy!!! Check out these images of interiors that are using colour to draw attention to the skirting boards in a really fun and experimental way.

Little Greene Paint - Yellow walls with Black coloured skirting boards

Image c/o Little Greene

In this image above the skirting board has been painted a much darker colour than the walls. This is a really great way of creating a feeling of space and light.

The use of a dark colour on skirting boards, not only makes the walls appear lighter in contrast, but it also creates a strong contemporary aesthetic, making everything above feel elongated and lighter in contrast

Farrow & Ball

Earthborn Paint - blue walls with blue coloured skirting boards

Image c/o Earthborn Paints

I really love the look created in the image above. By using different shades of the same colour, it has created a really powerful impact. The darker blue for the skirting board feels crisp, clean and contemporary and the subtle contrast between these empathetic companion colours gives a much softer finish.

Little Greene Paint - pastel pink room with pink coloured skirting boards

Image c/o Little Greene

Likewise in this image above. The skirting board has been painted in a very similar pastel pink to the wall, but it looks just a shade or two darker. It’s dark enough to still draw attention to the skirting rather than have it disappear but again the contrast is so subtle it’s barely noticeable.

Little Greene Paint - Blue room with yellow coloured skirting board

Image c/o Little Greene

On the other end of the scale, we have the image above. Here the skirting board and the walls are painted in colours from the opposite sides of the colour wheel. These two primary colours make a really bold statement and add a real sense of fun to the room. However, the softer tones that have been used here mean that this colour pairing isn’t at all jarring.

Little Greene Paint - Red and Blue room with yellow coloured skirting boards

Image c/o Little Greene

This image above shows an even braver use of colour. The colour scheme seen here is almost triadic as it uses colours that are more or less evenly spaced around the colour wheel. To use a triadic colour combination successfully, the colours must be carefully balanced so you should really have one colour that dominates and then another two which are used for accent.

The three primary colours used here follow this rule. Red is the dominant colour and the blue and yellow act as accent colours. Personally, the use of three such different colours is a little bit too much for me but someone who is a bit less colour cautious might want to give this brave scheme a go.

Little Greene Paint - Purple room with lilac & yellow coloured skirting board

Image c/o Little Greene

I really like this image above. Again, it works really well because the walls and skirting are painted in two different shades of the same colour family. When using colours that fall next to each other on the colour wheel this is called an analogous colour scheme and it creates a serene and comfortable feel. I definitely get that impression here.

But then an additional element has been added with that bright pop of yellow that has been painted on the top edge of the skirting. Purple and yellow are complementary colours and sit directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. These colour combinations create high contrast and you can definitely see that here with the way that the vibrant yellow really sets off the more demure purple.

Little Greene Paint - Hallway-Diner with black & grey coloured skirting board and yellow stair risers

Image c/o Little Greene

And finally, I have included this image as I love the way that the skirting board has been given a 3D effect by painting it in both black and grey. Then the added pop of colour from the yellow stair risers is really effective. Not only does it immediately grab your attention and reduce the risk of tripping or falling on the stairs but it is the perfect antidote to the seriousness of the black and grey skirting.

The trend for coloured skirting is gathering pace. White is no longer the only option and interior designers and decorators are getting far more adventurous with their colour choices. Skirting boards are now a really great way to make a statement in your home by painting them in contrasting colours to the walls or by painting the same colour as the walls.

So you see, we may only ever see white gloss skirting boards, but there is a whole world of exciting design options out there waiting to be explored. Next time you decide to replace your skirting boards, don’t just opt for brilliant white, stop and think for a minute.

Decide what you’d like to achieve with your skirting and consider all your options. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve convinced you to be a little bolder with your choices and go for something a little braver? Do let me know if you’d be willing to give coloured skirting boards a try at home. And if so which approach would you go for?

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  • Was thinking of painting my skirting boards in a mustard yellow to goneoth art deco wallpaper and contrasting denim blue feature wall. Now I definitely am. 🙂

  • We have decorated a room and have go anthracite skirting and architrave, which I love. I did want to do the same in the hallway but I am worried it would be too dark and in your face. Our hallway is a usual size for a semi-detached property. We also have 4 doors plus the front door leading off the hallway. Do you think it would look right if we had anthracite skirtings and white architrave so it’s not too dark? Not sure it would work. We also have oak wooden doors. Any thoughts.

    • Hi Gillian, It’s really hard to say without seeing the space. I wouldn’t overthink it too much though. If you want to do the architrave white to keep it lighter go for it. I think we are all so busy worrying about doing it right that we forget it’s our home, nobody else’s. It has to work for you and make you feel good. That’s it. So go with your gut.

  • I love all the ideas here! The question I have though is that if you have mainly white walls, with a feature wall in a different colour, would you only colour the skirtings on that wall, or all through the house? I’m so used to the “white on everything” trend that this really has me scratching my head. lol

  • I have pigeon painted hallway, I wouldlike the same colour woodwork, what would I use gloss, satin or emulsion? I fancy using emulsion, would this look ok?
    Many thanks

  • Thank you for this and the images, which really help. We are just about to paint our little dining area with Little Greene paint with a dark feature wall and the other three (broken up with lots of window and doors) lighter. My question is, the wall through to the living room is mainly double glass ‘French’ doors, which open into the dining room. When we decorated 14 years ago we left them naked pine. The living room is light colour. Would painting them the dark feature wall colour both sides or just one side (dining room side) work? Or would it be odd in the living room?!

  • Very interesting article, thank you.
    I am currently redecorating an old cottage and decided to go for light blue/gray skirtings, doors and windows (skylight F&B) and white walls and ceilings. The kitchen and utility cupboards are an off white (slipper satin F&B). Now I have to decide what colour to paint the built in bookcase and the fireplace, which are next to each other in the lounge and I can’t make my mind up! I am worried that if I paint it in skylight there will be too much blue/gray. If I paint it white they will merge with the walls. Do I dare introduce a different colour considering rooms are small?
    Ant thoughts very appreciated.

    • Hi, sounds like you have some really great plans in the offing. Without seeing the place it’s really hard to say. I’d be tempted to go with a colour though and make them stand out and give them a bit of personality. Whether that colour is skylight or another I can’t help with. I do believe that F&B is doing digital colour consultations now though so maybe that is worth considering? Good luck with it all!!

  • Hi I’m painting my front room in Inchyra blue (farrow and Ball) I’m also thinking of painting the skirting the same colour should I paint the picture rail and door frame too?

  • Thank you for the inspiring selection of images! I have developed an absolute hatred of white gloss on skirting and doors etc, I think from living in a series of rental places where I wasn’t allowed to change anything and the skirting boards were thick with umpteen layers of gloss paint.
    In my own place at least and free to paint whatever I like, within reason (I do have a partner to get it past), and sooo keen to get started. Not-white skirting boards are high on the list. The hall was painted a pale yellow (Dulux Spring Breeze 5) by the previous owner, it’s cheerful and has really grown on me, so planning to keep it, but thinking about going a little darker with the skirting and architrave. I have in mind Edith’s Eye from Little Greene – a lovely warm yellow/green – in eggshell.

    • This sounds very exciting Elspeth and I’m glad to hear you are going to be more adventurous with your colour choices. I too live in a property that used to to be rented out and has many many layers of white gloss on all the skirting and door frames. I’d like to sand it all back and start from scratch but what a big job!

      • My home was built in the 1890’s and it seems that the skirting boards and architraves were painted in gloss every year since! I tried sanding and paint strippers, but in the end a decent heat gun did the job in a fraction of the time. In places the paint was 10mm thick!

  • Great article. I’m looking to achieve this look in my bedroom with a deep luxurious green. Then using gold accessories alongside it. A quick question about process… Would you buy separate paint for the wooden skirting boards as you would the walls, just in the same shade? I’m concerned most wood paints are gloss, when the walls would be matt. Also, do you have any tips on stripping the existing white gloss?

    • Hi Dan, I personally have no experience of painting skirting boards but I have friends who are very experienced DIYers so I consulted them to find out for you.

      So Kimberly from says:
      “You need a wood paint but you can get eggshell which won’t be quite as shiny as gloss but still durable. If they’ve been painted in gloss, you need to give it a bit of a sand (you don’t need to strip, just rough it up, make sure there’s no flaking/peeling paint) then primer on top, then the paint”.

      Nicolette from says:
      “Little green paint company have a range of intelligent emulsion so the finish is the same on the woodwork. It is a matt sheen, not as matt as the farrow and ball chalk finish, but in no way shiny. You can just sand the skirting boards and paint over but if the gloss is really thick you can use a heat gun to scrape it off with no nasty chemicals, then sand it”.

      I hope that helps Dan! :-)

  • Absolutely wonderful idea. I fall under the group of those who use Matt white now, and wood, in the past.

    However, I’ve fallen in love with this decorating idea and so, will be painting mine in a darker shade of my grayish lilac walls. I may add a stripe of an even darker shade to give it depth.

    Same coloring skirting and walls? Not for me.

    Very nice pictures too.

  • These look so funky! I quite like our white skirting boards, but these do look fabulous. I think if you have very strong colours in the room, it looks less jarring to have them coloured, and it really fits well with a more modern decor too.

  • I’ve never been brave enough to paint my skirting boards but I do love the look of them being totally painted out. I never thought to do them in black though with white walls – I am loving that one! xx

  • Such a lovely, well-written post! Painting skirtboards in a colour is a great idea for people like me who are a bit afraid of using colour! Let’s you try out a little bit and get a splash of colour xx

  • While a striking contrast is pretty effective, I’m definitely much more a fan of seamlessly blended in skirting boards.. some lovely images you’ve chosen here Stacey! xx

  • I love the images in this post Stacey ! So me.
    I have always hated gloss paint. Never use it on our door surrounds and skirting boards. I would so go for all the same colour (other than my fail safe white) My hubby on the other hand, is a bit risk phobic ! xx