It doesn’t matter if you’re remodelling the entire kitchen or just freshening up the lower reaches after a few decades, you should play attention to your skirting boards. These narrow and often overlooked strips of wood or MDF can make or break the look of a room.

Kitchen Skirting Board

They’re also incredibly useful – they protect the bottom of the wall from endless kicks, scuffs, paws and claws, toy cars, chairs and table legs. They also cover up, in the case of wooden floors, expansion gaps, as well as tailed-off plastering and uneven painting.

It deserves your time

Now you’ve found some appreciation for the humble skirting board, you’ll be ready to make some choices. Of course, you now know how it can bring together a design theme, but you also need to think practically.

How much does your kitchen go through?

Do you live alone, or with an adult partner and no children? Or do you have a busy family kitchen with lots of feet – human, dog and even chicken – trooping through daily?

If you’re the latter, then no matter what your dreams are, you’re best served by selecting an easy-to-clean, cheaper MDF board. Don’t be put off by this, as there’s a stunning collection of skirting boards on offer online. This means you can look sleek and stylish while being secure in the knowledge that you can replace these boards with little cost and effort once they reach peak crayon.

What does your kitchen look like?

Do you want to keep the same style but just nix the scuffs and toothmarks (from the dogs, hopefully…)? Or are you wanting to bring in a whole new look or theme?

If you’re just looking to refresh and not change, then you should take a photo of your boards along to the store, or remove a section and take it with you. If you’re shopping online, then you’ll be able to compare profiles much more easily.

If you’re looking to change things up a bit, then you need to stick to a few rules. Older properties suit period-style skirting boards, with more complex mouldings and profiles. Torus, ovolo and ogee are traditional favourites. If you’re in a newbuild or you’re trying to create a more modern look, then you’ll need simpler boards with chamfer, bullnose and square-edged profiles.

Then there’s the height

Of course, you can have whatever height you want, but you should be guided by the overall style of your home and your lifestyle. Kids, dogs, prams, toy cars all need a higher board as this makes damage to the wall or wallpaper much less likely.

It’s also true that older houses tend to have higher skirting boards, with Georgian and Victorian houses having boards with an average height of 22.5cm. These boards tend to be a lot more detailed and fancy. If you live in a house from this period and you’re looking to maintain authenticity, then you can easily get away with anything up to 23cm.

On the other hand, if you’re after a modern look, you need to scale back to an unfussy board with a height of no more than 12.5cm.

Then all you need to do is decide whether to paint or not.