A freshly decorated room with dark Zhoosh paint on the walls

How to paint skirting boards and dado rails to colour match

Colour matching. A full colour wash.

It sounds like something you’d get in the hairdressers, doesn’t it! But actually, it’s a great way of describing one of our favourite interior styles: using one colour across a whole wall and painting all the wall accessories the same shade.

Over the last few decades, the most popular way to treat wall accessories was to highlight them. Skirting boards, doors, dado rails and picture rails were a contrast to the colour, texture or pattern of the main wall - and were usually white gloss, to provide contrast and a clean, resilient finish.

However, the full colour wash is now very popular. Simply put, it means the features listed above - and even the radiators, cupboards and fire surrounds - are painted the same colour.

By blending all your highlights and details, you can bring a new dimension to a room. Colour washing can make the space feel bigger, more vibrant, and more co-ordinated. The walls feel taller, it’s cosier, it’s calmer, and it’s easier to maintain. Many period properties were probably painted this way in the first place, so it even looks very authentic.

More than anything though, colour washing draws the eye to the main features within the room: the décor, the layout, the furniture and the lighting.

The skirting board, the dado rail, the picture rail - even the doors and radiator - are really all about function. They are there for a current or historic purpose, so blending them into the background lets your furniture and belongings take centre stage. These are the items that are more likely to reflect your personality, after all.

If you are planning to colour match your walls and features, just ensure that you prepare everything thoroughly since you will need to adapt your approach for different different materials and surfaces.

All wooden surfaces will need to be sanded down and imperfections filled, then cleaned with a damp cloth to get rid of dust. Radiators can only be painted when rust-free, cool and clean, using specialist paint and radiator primer - and the pipes need to be involved too, so that everything matches. Even though you are using the same colours, different surface materials and tools may mean there is a slightly different effect, so do keep taking a step back to look at the results.

We sell both walls and ceilings paint and woodwork and metal paint. This means you can choose identical shades for all parts of your room, or choose colour pairings that have been designed to work together.

Colour matching works equally well with light or dark colours and it all depends on taste. Darker shades like our Hip Hop Green Paint, Rock Blue Paint or Rock Grey Paint will deliver a dramatic, comforting and elegant backdrop, and will highlight plants, brass and brighter fabrics like velvet. Paler shades like our Country White Paint or Mellow Pink Paint will provide a serene, soothing backdrop for a light and mindful room.

Colour matching can work in both modern and period properties and looks set to stay as an interior style for a while – and rightly so. It’s a stylish and clever way to really change your space.