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Painting skirting boards.

Skirting boards are often overlooked for areas that can add to your over-all decor scheme. But it can be a powerful tool to create the exact look you want.

Quick Q & A:

What is a skirting board? Well - glad you asked!

A skirting board is the strip of wood at the base of your walls, where it meets the floor. Why do houses have skirting boards?:

Skirting boards are there to finish off your walls nicely - it hides any uneven areas where your floors meet the walls. It ALSO protects your walls from kicks and knocks from furniture (and humans!). All in all, they are pretty handy things to have - and they can be used - and should be used - as part of your over all decor scheme.

First up

What paint to use for your skirting boards:

Skirting boards are the strips of wood or MDF at the foot of your walls, right by the floor.
What is a skirting board?

Skirting boards are there to partly protect your walls from scuffmarks and furniture bumping into your walls when you move them - so the paint you put on your skirting boards have to be durable. We suggest using a hardwearing enamel - but then again - who really wants to deal with the fumes of oil paint?! Water-based enamels have come a long way and can definitely be used as a healthy alternative. We use Paint & Decor's water-based, eco-friendly & hypoallergenic enamel or the oil based non-drip enamel in the colour of your choice.

  • When painting raw wooden skirting boards: Sand slightly, prime with wood primer, let dry overnight and paint your colour.

  • When painting over previously painted skirting boards: simply clean the surface area, make sure it's clean and dry before painting and then simply paint over the previous paint (*only if the paint surface is still in good condition - if the paint is flaking or cracking, you'll have to sand it down and treat with primer before painting). Make sure you paint water-based (acrylic) paint over water-based paint, and oil based paint over oil based paint. You can paint oil based paint over water based paint - but not the other way round.

  • How to know if there is oil based or water based paint on your skirting boards? Easy! Take some methylated spirits or acetone - tip - your nailpolish-remover IS acetone! Put a little bit of the acetone or methylated spirits on a clean rag, rub hard over the painted surface - if any of the paint comes off and shows up on the rag - it is ACRYLIC / WATER BASED PAINT. If there is no paint mark on the rag - you have OIL BASED paint.

You can test what paint is currently on your furniture or walls by using methylated spirits or acetone (nail polish remover). Pour a little acetone on a rag and rub over paint - if paint comes off, it's water based paint - if no paint comes off, it is oil based.
How to know if it's oil based or water based paint

Now for the fun part!

How to incorporate your skirting boards into your decor scheme:

Paint your skirting boards

the SAME colour as your walls.

Painting your skirting boards the same colour as your walls have two main results:

1) It makes your walls look taller. This is because there is no line that breaks up the space and your eyes see the wall as a bigger surface area.

2) Having your skirting boards the same colour as your walls create a sense of calm and harmony. This is great for minimalist interiors to create a colour block - but also for maximalist interiors because the focus will be on the vibrancy of your decor and not on your skirting board.

Use skirting boards as

a pop of colour on your walls:

You can easily add some colour to a neutral room setting by painting the skirting boards of your room a different colour. You can highlight artwork or furnishings with the right strip of colour.

Above left we have PAINT & DECOR's green paint colour: Protea Leaf in our waterbased enamel paint to match and highlight the cacti wall art. To the right is a custom created colour to match this calm interior's scatter cushions. In both instances, the pops of colour that the painted skirting boards bring into the room create a better decor scheme as a whole, making the room feel more personal and a little more vibrant.

Use the skirting boards to highlight certain colours in a bold room:

Use colour to highlight and bring focus to your favourite decor items in a room. This Sophiahelen wallpaper is available to order at
Yellow skirtings highlight the pincussions on the fynbos wallpaper

If you love bold rooms - you can also use your skirting boards to highlight certain colours in the decor of your room. In the image above the yellow skirting boards, door frame and door highlight the yellow of the pincussions in the fynbos wallpaper by SophiaHelen design (follow them on instagram!), making these specific fynbos flowers pop out from the rest. To show you what we mean - here are two other digital transformations to see the big impact the skirting and door colour can make on this modern fynbos room interior:

When you change one colour in a room - it can have a big effect on the mood of the entire room - see how the pink trims to the right here draws your eyes more towards the proteas that are also pink in the wallpaper. Similarly - looking at the bottom image - the green trims highlight the greenery in the wallpaper and decor items.

Whatever your ideal home or workspace is - colour is the first step to making it feel and look the way you want it to. Visit or contact us any time for any info on the above article or any other paint ideas you might have. Our friendly team of paint and colour experts are here to help you!

Live in the colours you love.

x Jani Augustyn-Goussard

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