Style Classic: Skirting Boards

Humble they may be, practical and enduring they most certainly are.

The humble skirting board is largely ignored in most room schemes, quietly doing its job of hiding any messy joins between wall and floor and protecting the former from knocks and scuffs.

But here, a double decker, two-tone stunner takes pride of place in a modern interior reminding us how important a feature it once was.

The skirting board, dado rail and picture rail are actually all that remain from posh interiors of the 16thcentury, when rooms were wood panelled from floor to ceiling to keep the warmth in and damp out. Over time, the panelling was lowered to wainscoting covering the lower half of the wall, but soon only dado rails, picture rails and skirtings remained.

The Georgians put tall skirtings in their important rooms to show off their status, while the upstairs servants quarters were lucky to have any at all. Ditto the Victorians, who loved ornate skirtings edged with ripples of beading.

Pretty much every era has embraced the skirting board although modern architects have tried to get away with not using them in contemporary schemes, it hasn’t caught on, proving their worth.

Details: Walls in Loft White 222 Absolute Matt Emulsion, £37 for 2.5ltr; skirting (from top to bottom) in Urbane Grey 225 and Lamp Black 228 both Intelligent Eggshell, £53 for 2.5ltr; flooring in Shallows 223 Floor Paint, £59 for 2.5ltr, all from the Grey Collection, Little Greene, 020 7935 8844, littlegreene.com.

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