Skirting boards! We all know what they are and most of us have them in our homes (I’m sure there are a few exceptions but I’m not one of them, I’m talking to the masses here!), but how many of us know how they came to be in everyone’s homes these days? I certainly didn’t until I came to write this post!
The origins of the skirting board, date back to the Victorian times and introduction of higher ceilings in homes (this was only the preserve of the rich and wealthy before this point) when it was common place to see not only skirting boards but dado rails, picture rails and ornate ceiling architrave in homes. So the question is, how many of these do we commonly see in our homes today? The answer is, only really the skirting boards. Skirting boards have endured over the years due to their inherent practical and decorative use as an excellent way of finishing off the look of a wall and room and protecting those walls from the bumps, knocks and scrapes of everyday life.
We tend to look on skirting boards these days as more of an aesthetic and visual feature, something to finish off a rooms walls, and to hide the join between the floor and the plastered walls. In that way we aren’t that different from our Victorian counterparts. With modern techniques these days there is no reason why we need to have skirting boards in our rooms but yet most of us still do. The Victorians also looked upon them as a feature, using them to showcase a room with big bold skirting to complement those impressive high ceilings that were all the rage at the time.
Nowadays though, the trend for those high ceilings has changed and most people have more modest rooms and as a consequence the size of skirting boards has changed. Gone are the huge 30cm high skirting of the Victorian era and now smaller a size of around 10-12cm is more commonplace. This is down more to the proportions of peoples home; a high ceiling in a room looks better with a taller skirting board therefore a large 30cm skirting in a typical modern home with 2.4m ceiling would look out of proportion in the same way as a small 10cm skirting would look lost in a high ceiling Victorian room .
So depending on what age your home is, depends on why style of skirting board you should have. Proportions to the room is what matters, tall ceilings, high skirting boards, low ceilings, smaller skirting. Despite all this, the skirting board has stood the test of time and still looks like it will be an enduring feature in our homes for many years to come.