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Decorative Or Plain? | A Skirting Board Comparison

Posted by Skirting World on 12th May 2020

Decorative Or Plain? A Skirting Board Comparison

With so many different designs on the market, it can be a really tough decision when it comes to choosing a skirting board design for your home (we have 100!).

It really will come down to personal preference but taking inspiration from your home is a good starting point.

Decorative Skirting Board

A decorative skirting board is easy to spot. They feature a design that shouts 'look at me!'.

The designs themselves can be small or large but do generally lean towards the larger side. This is because you can fit much more detail onto a larger design.

But even smaller designs can still be just as intricate.

The detailed and large design of our Period MDF Skirting Board (145mm x 25mm pictured)

Plain Skirting Board

We're sure you get the idea with this one! A plain skirting board simply features no design or something really simple and small.

Often, these are used if you don't plan on bringing attention to the skirting or where keeping costs and maintenance needs lower.

The plain and simple design of our Bullnose MDF Skirting Board (145mm x 15mm pictured)

Choosing Based On Home Style

Home styles are subjective and purely down to what you want your home to look like. You live there after all!

We generally split them into 2 types - traditional and modern.

Based on which type you think your home falls under, we've given our opinion on which type of skirting board you might consider using (be it decorative or plain).

Decorative Skirting For The Traditional Home

So you consider your home to be more traditional than it is modern.

Some of the below are assumptions we make for a traditional home (you may have some or all of these):

  • Likely to have taller ceilings
  • Coving, dado rails and picture rails are present
  • Older style fixtures and fittings
  • Busier appearance (more ornaments, decorations, etc.)

If this sounds a little like your home, we'd consider it to be traditional in style. This being the case, our choice would be a decorative skirting!

A traditional home interior

Image courtesy of Decor Aid

A lot of the features in traditional homes are already decorative. For example - ceiling roses, coving, picture rails, doors, etc.

You might already have intricate designs within your home if you have any of these. So a decorative skirting board would fit right in and add even more character to the aesthetic.

If you have a specific time period in mind when styling your home, more often than not you'll be able to find a skirting board to fit in!

For example, if your styling leans towards the Victorian era you might try looking for a Victorian style skirting (try checking out our Victorian 1 and Victorian 2 skirting boards).

Plain Skirting For The Modern Home

We consider a modern home to include some or all of the following:

  • Neutral colour pallets (offering a clean and simple look)
  • Less ornaments (offering a less cluttered aesthetic)
  • Spacious layouts with more floor space

Again, the above is just our opinion and your modern home could be very different. But we're hoping to give you an insight and some guidance if you're struggling to choose a skirting board.

A modern home interior

Image courtesy of Home Designing

With the above in mind, you can see why a plain skirting would compliment this type of interior.

They won't draw attention away from the clean, simple and spacious layouts of the rooms.

They also allow you to have shorter skirting boards (often modern homes have much shorter ceilings so shorter skirtings will give you more wall space).

If you're interest in buying skirting boards for a modern home, you can see them here.

Looking For Low Maintenance?

The short answer: choose plain skirting boards if you want the lowest maintenance option.

Some people love cleaning whilst others hate it with a passion. If you fall into the latter, a plain skirting board will be your saviour.

Because they don't feature intricate detailing, dust has nowhere to hide so keeping them clean is really.

It's the opposite with most decorative designs due to the intricate detailing where dust can accumulate quickly and be more difficult to remove.

We've got a whole post about cleaning skirting boards to help you out.

Choosing a plain skirting board can also be beneficial if you're going to be painting them yourself. Just like cleaning, it can be difficult to get in between the intricate detailing of decorative designs.

Where as painting a skirting board with very little design will no doubt be quicker and much easier to get a professional looking finish.

Bare this in mind if you're glossing too - because gloss tends to yellow, you can end up painting more often! We've written about the types of paint you can use on skirting boards here.

Is Your Decor Minimalist Or Maximalist?

Again, most homes will fall into either of these categories and both are the opposite of on another.

Minimalist homes tend have a clean, bright and airy look to them. Visually, they can look emptier as they feature more spacious styling and neutral colour pallettes.

Maximalist homes look busier and fuller (not in an untidy or cluttered way). This is due the use of bolder colours and design styling that can be (and is meant to be) a little in your face.

Because of this, we can again suggest a certain style of skirting based on whether the home is of minimalist styling or maximalist.

If you have a minimalist style of home, you're more than likely going to be better off with a plain skirting board.

You probably won't have a heavy focus on a particular part of the room as the styling is meant to blend in together.

A plain design will help you achieve this by keeping a simple look and not becoming a focal point.

The opposite can be said if you have a maximalist style of home. You'll definitely want to choose a more decorative skirting board.

As you'll more than likely have bold designs and colours throughout the rooms, a decorative design on the skirting can heighten the maximalist feel you are going for.

The more decorative you go, the more of a feature they will become throughout the home.