A friend of mine had safety gates in her living room doorways and after a few years of use they began to wear on the paint and dry wall, creating some unsightly marks where the gate anchors rested. A simple solution presented itself in the form of eight screws and four planks of wood.
x4 Wood Planks (I used store bought oak planks)
x8 Wood Screws (I used 2")
Sand Paper (I used a fine-medium grit)
Saw (I used a jig-saw)
Power Drill (with drill bits)
Orbital Sander (optional)
Step 1: Cutting, Sanding, and Drilling
Begin by deciding what height your planks should be. In my case I had to cut them to 28" in length and 4.5" in width and then bevel the top and bottom of each plank so they would rest on the base molding and slop into the wall. After cutting the planks to the right size using a jig saw, I set the saw angle to 45 degrees and cut the bevel on the top and bottom of the plank (on opposite facing sides). I also cut one of the planks to accommodate for the raised staircase molding.
After cutting each piece I sanded them with an orbital sander and then by hand to make sure they would be smooth enough to be safe for kids. I then drilled two screw holes per plank, each 6" from the top and bottom respectively.
Step 2: Installation
I placed the planks on the wall, poking the drill bit through the holes and into the wall to mark their placement (resting on the base molding and centered in the door frame). After drilling into the door frame I put two screws into each plank and screwed them into the wall.
Step 3: The Finished Product
Simply reattach the gates (these ones have padded anchors that tighten into place) and voila, no more scuffed walls. An unexpected bonus was that the gates are much more stable now with a solid wood base between the anchors and the relatively soft drywall; they feel brand new!
Optional: I didn't end up staining the wood (or painting it) to match the trim but that could easily have been done. Also while I used store bought wood for this project, reclaimed wood (from pallets as an example) could have been used.