Choosing the best paint for skirting boards


If you’re in the midst of building, renovating or beautifying your current home, you’re no stranger to the abundance of decisions faced in the world of home décor. Whether it’s fittings, styles, colours, or textures, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choice, because the deeper you dig, the more information you’ll uncover.

To help with the complexity of painting your skirting boards, we’ve broken down the choices of paint on the market into three categories below. Of course, the final decision will come down to personal preference, style of your home, and the unique look you’re after. But armed with our expert knowledge, we hope you’ll be confident forging ahead with yet another decision under your belt.

Gloss Paint

The old-school choice for painting skirting boards is gloss paint, with its high sheen and reflective properties, which give it that ‘shiny’ finish. Gloss paint is highly durable, hard wearing, and easy to clean.  It’s an excellent choice for high traffic areas of the home, and for families with young children.

If you choose to go with gloss paint, it’s best to select a water-based paint over an oil-based paint. Although oil-based paints can achieve a higher sheen to begin with, the sheen eventually becomes duller, and the paint discolours more rapidly over time.


Painting a white skirting board

Gloss paint is tough, hard-wearing, and stain-resistant, but can also highlight imperfections. If your skirting boards have several dents, scuffs, and evidence of wear and tear, you may want to consider a style of paint that will better mask these imperfections.

Satin Paint

Satin paint is the new-school choice for skirting boards as it compliments bold colours and has a semi-gloss look. Satin paint is more commonly found in modern and contemporary looking homes and makes the colour of the paint stand out and look more solid.

Satin paint gives a cleaner and crisper look than straight gloss, with a soft shimmer similar to velvet. It adds more depth to smaller spaces than an matt finish and is easy to maintain because it stands up well to excessive scrubbing and regular wipe downs.

Although the semi-gloss finish can highlight minor imperfections in the surface of the wood, paint brands with a plastic or enamel finish are more effective at covering minor flaws like bumps, scratches, and scuffs than gloss paint. The longevity of satin paint is a major consideration too. Compared to gloss, satin paints maintain their colour for much longer.


Painting on a skirting board

Matt Paint

Matt paint provides a dull or flat finish with little to no sheen. This is the paint to choose if you want to steer clear of that shiny finish, but maintain a subtle sheen without the reflectivity.

Matt paint can also be easily wiped down with a wet rag, making it perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, kid’s bedrooms, and high traffic areas that receive the most wear and tear.

Matt paint is more durable than emulsion, and easier to maintain. It is more typically used in larger spaces, but can also be used on smaller surface areas like skirting boards and architraves.

Still on the fence?

If you’re still suffering from information overload, and are fearful of making the wrong decision, we’d recommend selecting a satin paint. Satin paints provide you with the best of both worlds between a gloss and a matt finish. With a satin paint, your skirting boards will have a sophisticated looking sheen that compliments bold colours, and will maintain the durability suitable for modern-day wear and tear on your home.

Can I use wood paint on MDF skirting boards?

MDF is made using real wood fibres, which means if the boards are properly primed, you can use wood paints on MDF. A wood stain finish is better applied to real wood, in which case we’d recommend installing pine skirting boards.