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A Brief History of Skirting Boards

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It is well known that skirting boards and architrave are common features of a house and are extremely useful, but what is less known is the origin of these boards and decorations. What is their origin? Why were they invented and why are they still so relevant today? In this article, we will be discussing the history of this common element of architecture and interior design.

The first mentions of the term ‘skirting board’ comes from the Victorian era, a time of prosperity that came after the Georgian era and before the Edwardian era. During the Victorian era, a lot of people who became wealthy as a result of the industrial advances were trying to make their houses look more elegant and grand, as they were starting to become richer and richer. Back then, walls were usually made of bricks and the main problem was fighting off the cold, especially since radiators were not affordable for many. So, the skirting boards had two main functions, first to cover up the unaesthetic finishes of the walls and the second to keep the house warmer.

As mentioned above, by those who could afford to decorate their homes as they please, the skirting board was also used to make a house look grander and more elegant. The skirting boards used for aesthetic purposes were usually much taller than the regular ones because luxury homes had a very high ceiling and the skirting was meant to highlight this feature.

Using skirting boards to make the interior of a house look more imposing is a trend that Victorians came up with and we can still see it continue to this day. During the 20th century, installing skirting boards became much more affordable, and a lot of people were getting the chance to have this fancy feature installed even in smaller homes.

Nowadays, smaller skirting is much more popular than tall skirting and the revolutionary materials MDF and HDF are much more popular than the traditional wood. Cheaper and more durable options that are low-maintenance have become a 21st-century staple.

Skirting boards have never gone out of fashion and they are as popular now as they were in the Victorian era. But why is that? Mainly because they are still considered useful and have been adapted to the needs and requirements of the modern world. In the United Kingdom, there is a very wide range of profile designs for skirting boards that can fit any budget and any home.

They also come in a lot of different thickness and height options, something that was not available to the middle classes in the Victorian era. As a result, the skirting boards have become an essential part of a home’s interior décor.

Although house designs are becoming more and more modern and minimalist, skirting boards have not disappeared and are as popular as ever. This simple Victorian feature has been adapted to fit modern life and is still keeping dirt from reaching our walls while also making our interiors look nicer.