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If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we’re big fans of original period features. We love our high rooms, the 100+ year old squeaky parquet and our fancy plastered ceilings.
They’re the reason we fell in love with our current home and they’re the reason we purchased our last house, too.
Over the last years, we’ve made an effort to restore and reinstate as many of these original features as possible. It’s not always easy or cheap but it’s always so worth it for the end result!
As much as we love fancy stained glass, original tiles and cast iron fireplaces one thing that often gets overlooked are the architectural details like architraves and skirting boards.
We were lucky to still have most of the original skirting boards in our last home (although they took forever to strip, sand and paint) but we’re not so lucky in our current home. All of our skirting boards are MDF.
Now, if you’re thinking “They’re fine, woman – what are you on about?!” take a look at this….
Yup, this is what they look like almost everywhere! The problem with the MDF skirting is that it’s so susceptible to damage.
Admittedly, most of the scuffs and marks you see here happened when we sanded our floors but they are so much more sensitive than the solid timber ones we had in our last house.
So, what should you consider when choosing skirting boards?
Scale And Proportion.
Take the size of your room into consideration when choosing skirting boards – if you have high ceilings you should opt for taller skirting boards. Equally, if you have low ceilings, you should avoid tall skirting boards as any horizontal lines will visually shorten your room.
You can even alter the perceived proportions of a room just by adjusting the height of the architectural details like skirting boards or dado rails.
As a very general rule, you should opt for skirting boards that are roughly 1/18 of the height of your room or choose skirting boards that are as tall as roughly double the width of your door architraves.
Something else to consider is the style of your skirting boards. They can be a decorative element of your design and it’s important not to underestimate how much skirting boards can influence the feel and look of your room!
When choosing the right skirting boards for your home, take the age and architectural style of the building into consideration.
If you live in a Georgian house with high ceilings you’re not going to want to install Edwardian skirting boards and if you live in a modern new-build, Victorian skirting would probably look really out of place, too!
As I mentioned above, MDF skirting boards are much more susceptible to warping, chips and cracks but there’s no denying that they are a very budget-friendly option.
If you can afford to, we’d always recommend opting for more high-quality materials as they’ll look better, last longer and still won’t break the bank (at least when it comes to skirting boards and architraves!).
Sourcing period mouldings, architraves and skirting boards can be difficult (trust me, I’ve been there!) which is why it’s always great to come across a company like Period Mouldings.
They not only offer a huge selection of high-quality products in a range of wood types, sizes and finishes but also offers a bespoke option where they’ll match any moulding to a sample you provide!
Best of all, you can order all of your period mouldings and skirtings online and they’re delivered right to your door. If only I’d known about them when I was trying to get our architraves matched!
Period Mouldings don’t just do period skirting boards. They also make architraves, pictures rails, panel and ceiling moulds and even period doors so they’re well worth bearing in mind if you live in a period property and have some upgrading and updating to do!
Whoever installed the skirting boards in our home obviously hadn’t heard of Period Mouldings and they didn’t put much thought into the design, style or longevity aspect of our skirting boards (they apparently wanted to lay laminate flooring over the parquet!).
We would love to replace all of our skirting boards in our apartment but they’re all fairly new and, as we’re never ones for ripping out things that are in a generally okay condition, we’ve given the skirting in our living room a bit of an upgrade.
Notice a difference?
Yep, we pimped our skirting!
Now, this obviously isn’t quite the same as having lovely timber skirting boards but at least it’s slightly more in proportion to the rest of the room!
It was actually a really easy and fairly quick project to do. As usual, emptying the room took longer than the project itself!
All we did was nail (or glue where we thought there may be a pipe or cable) the strip of timber to the wall. Then we caulked any joints and nail holes before painting everything white. I love the bit of extra detail it adds but the biggest difference is obviously how much cleaner and tidier it all looks.
I personally like white woodwork and we painted all of our skirting boards, architraves and dado rails in our last home white.
In our current home, we’ve decided to mix things up a bit. In our bedroom, we opted to paint the skirting boards the same colour as the walls!
We were admittedly a bit hesitant about this but we absolutely love how it turned out and it gives the room a much more contemporary feel.
For us, the huge amount of design choices you have is one of the biggest reasons to choose natural wood skirting boards. If you have natural timber, you can, of course, still paint it but you also have the option of oiling or varnishing the skirting boards to keep the lovely natural timber visible.
So, embrace the architectural details and don’t just treat them as an afterthought. If you can afford to, opt for solid timber skirting boards which are definitely an investment worth making!
Do you love architectural details and original features as much as we do? What lengths have you gone to in order to restore or reinstate original features? What would your ideal skirting board look like?