How to paint skirting boards with carpet - refresh your home without ripping up your carpet

Protect your carpet with this cheap store cupboard essential

Corner of grey and white living room with chair and open shelving
(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

You might think that it’s impossible to paint skirting boards without ripping up your carpet or accidentally painting dodgy lines around the perimeter of your room, but we’ve got some good news for you. It’s very much possible!

When it comes to home decor ideas, your skirting boards are probably fairly low down on your priority list. After all, it’s no secret that they offer more substance than style. But as they’re often forgotten, skirting boards can quickly fall into disarray and look old, tired, and dirty. So, it's always a good idea to paint your skirting boards every so often. 

We know what you’re thinking, though. Painting skirting boards is best done when you’re replacing your carpet, right? And while there’s no doubt that this is the opportune time to paint skirting boards, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only time. This is how you can paint your skirting boards without ripping up your carpet. 

How to paint skirting boards with carpet

Grey bedroom with bed, neutral carpet and wooden furniture

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘When painting skirting boards, the last place you want the paint is on your carpets,’ explains Emma Bestley, Co-Founder and Creative Director of YesColours. Thankfully, painting skirting boards when you have carpet in place is easier than you’d think. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be able to refresh your rooms in no time.

What you’ll need


Upstairs hallway with white banisters and striped carpet

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Clean your skirting boards

Done correctly, painting skirting boards is an easy DIY job that can be done in just a few hours. But if you want to refresh your skirting and leave it looking as good as new, you need to do something first. 

‘Like any DIY, prep is key - so make sure you have cleaned your skirting boards and hoovered the carpet,’ says Emma.

One of the easiest ways to clean your skirting boards is to use a simple concoction of warm water and soap. You can then use a sponge to wipe over the skirting boards and remove any dirt or debris. If you have any sugar soap in the shed, you could also use this as a cleaning alternative. 

2. Lay the masking tape

‘The easiest way to protect your carpet from paint without having to pull the carpet up is with masking tape,’ explains painting and decorating expert Joshua Evans at

This will serve as a buffer between the carpet and the paint, but it’s important that you choose the right kind of tape - as some masking tapes will damage the carpet. 

'If you are using a small brush then masking tape alone such as FrogTape will be sufficient - it uses Paint Block Technology to keep paint out and lines sharp,' says Jason Burns of FrogTape

When you have your tape in hand, stick down wide strips along the edge of the skirting board, pushing the tape as far into the edge of the carpet as possible. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any gap between the tape and the skirting board.

Of course, it’s also a good idea to do the same thing on top of the skirting boards so you also protect your wall paint in the process. 

Neutral loft room with built in storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

3. Start painting

When your tape is in place, you’re then free to start painting. Simply grab your paintbrush and your paint and go wild. Be careful when you do this, though. While the masking tape will protect the carpet up to a point, it won’t protect your carpet from any Jackson Pollock-inspired paintbrush flicks. 

Depending on the finish you want, you might need to paint a couple of coats of skirting board paint. Sophie Smith, Zhoosh Paints says, 'Choosing the right paint and using the right amount is very important.'

'As gloss and eggshell paints are thick, there is sometimes the temptation to apply more paint in one go, but we would advise against this as it can still drip after you have moved on to the next section. Use two thinner coats, take your time, and the results will look a lot more professional.'

4. Peel back the tape

No matter whether you opt for one coat of paint or two, you should always wait until the paint is fully dry before peeling back the tape.  

Pulling it off too early could result in paint smudges or spills, and long strands of wet masking tape are a recipe for disaster - especially when you’re trying to protect your carpet.  

But when you’re confident that the paint has had enough time to dry, you can then peel it back and admire your handiwork. 

Corner of grey and white living room with chair and open shelving

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)


How do you paint skirting without lifting carpet?

It’s incredibly easy to paint skirting boards without lifting the carpet, as you just need some masking tape at your disposal. When you have this, you can lay a wide strip along the edge of the skirting board, pushing right into the edge as you do so. 

When you’re confident that the tape is secure, you can then go ahead and start painting. And when the paint is dry, simply pull up the tape. 

Is it better to remove carpet before painting?

This ultimately depends on what you’re painting. If you’re looking to paint skirting boards with carpet in place, it’s relatively easy to simply protect the edges using masking tape.

However, if you’re painting numerous walls and ceilings, it’s probably a better idea to either pull up the carpet or cover your carpet in a protector. 

Most professional painters and decorators will use coverings, such as dust sheets or products like this GoodHome Self-adhesive Protector Roll from B&Q.

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.