What Paint Is Best For Walls?

What Paint Is Best For Walls?

We’ve all been there, staring at endless paint swatches, feeling overwhelmed by the five hundred shades of white, wondering which one will transform your walls into the masterpiece you envision.

It’s a daunting task, isn’t it? But finding what paint is best for walls is crucial, and it’s a decision that can make or break the look of your space.

Don’t panic! I’m here to tell you what wall paints are best for your home.

In this article, we will delve into the different types of paints you can use for painting walls, the various paint finishes available, and which paint finish is best for each of your rooms.

Emulsion paint used on wall in living room

What type of paint should you use on walls?

Before we get into what type of paint is best for walls, let’s look at all the types of paint available for a DIY wall painting project.

The main types of paints you can use for interior walls are:

  • Emulsion paints (water-based paints)
  • Oil-based paints
  • Acrylic paint (also known as latex paint)

I’d favour choosing emulsions to cover your surface for several reasons.

One of the main benefits of these paints is the ease of application. Emulsion paints are far easier to apply than oil-based or acrylic paints because they have a smoother consistency. As a result, you can easily use rollers or paint brushes to apply the paint. Also, you’ll need fewer coats of paint to cover your surface.

Also, emulsion paints have fewer VOC (Volatile-organic compounds) than oil-based paints. VOCs are the toxic fumes released by interior paint. It’s what gives the paint its unpleasant odour. With fewer VOCs, emulsion paints are better for our environment and the air quality inside your home.

Finally, emulsion paints are relatively quick drying. For example, if you decide to transform your walls with oil-based paint instead of emulsion paints, you’ll have to wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry instead of 2-4 hours with water-based paint. So, if you need to use your room the same day as painting, you can ask your painter to use emulsion paints.

Types of paint finishes for walls:

Now that we have covered the paint types you can use for your walls – let’s talk about paint finishes.

Paint finishes refer to the level of shine given off by a type of paint. For example, glossy paints have a higher sheen level than matt paint, making them look more reflective.

Emulsion paint is available in a wide range of finishes, including:

  • Flat paint
  • Matt
  • Satin
  • Eggshell
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss paint
Bedroom walls painted in white and orange paint

Best type of paint for walls by room

So far, we’ve established that emulsion paints are typically the best paint for walls. But the paint finish you should use for your walls will depend on the room you need to paint.

In my expert opinion, when choosing a paint finish for your interior walls, you need to consider a few things before making a decision:

  • What’s the room used for
  • The style of the room
  • What type of paint will you use on the ceilings and woodwork (skirting boards, doors, and window frames)
  • The colour you want to paint the walls with

It’s necessary to think about all of these things to ensure you choose a wall paint that fits with the decor of your room and suits the function of your spaces.

You could follow my recommendations for wall paints for your bedrooms, living/dining rooms, and kitchen walls. But, if you want the best paint colours and finishes for your home, it’s best to consult with a local painter and decorator.

Let’s get into it!

Best type of paint for bedroom walls?

I think the best wall paint for bedrooms is a matt emulsion. In fact, it’s one of the most popular finishes used for a bedroom.

I love the look of a matt finish. It gives a lovely soft and smooth finish, making it great for bedrooms when you want to create a luxurious look on surfaces.

Beyond the look of the paint, there are several reasons I think matte paint is best for bedroom walls.

For starters, the low sheen of matt makes it better at hiding imperfections in the wall, compared to higher sheen paints like silk or gloss finishes. So, when you use matte paint in your room, the surfaces will appear smoother and more uniform.

If you speak to painters who are pros, they’ll probably point out that one of the drawbacks of a matt finish is that it is less durable finish than higher-sheen finishes. However, bedrooms tend to be low-traffic areas in the house. As a result, your walls won’t get scuffed or dirty that much. So, I wouldn’t worry about durability.

Finally, I think matt paint is the best choice for bedroom walls because it’s a finish that is easier to touch up than other finishes. Matt paint tends to be easy to touch up because it blends well with the surrounding area.

My favourite matt paint for bedroom walls

Now, we have narrowed it down to a matt paint finish for your bedroom walls. But, if you head down to your local DIY shop, you’ll still find hundreds of matt paint options for your walls.

Here’s my top pick: ‘Harmony’ paint by Tikkurilla.

I like this paint because it’s a tough matt and gives protection from finger marks and scuffs. Also, it’s very washable and has the best washability level.

As a result, it’s the right paint for bedrooms if durability is a concern.

Best type of paint for living room walls?

I’d recommend an eggshell finish for your home’s living room walls.

If its name wasn’t a dead giveaway, the look of eggshell paint is similar to the surface of an eggshell. It has slightly more sheen than matt paint but still has a soft and low-profile finish.

I think eggshell paint is a good choice for living room walls simply because I like the look it gives off. The low sheen is perfect for creating an elegant and sophisticated look inside a room.

Beyond the looks of eggshell paint, it’s highly resistant to stains and dirt. As a result, living room walls painted with eggshell will be easy to maintain. Also, eggshell paint is relatively durable, which makes it suitable for high-traffic rooms like a living room. So, you won’t have to repaint your walls often to keep a fresh look in your room.

Finally, the low sheen of eggshell paint makes it good at hiding imperfections on your surface.

My favourite eggshell paint for living room walls

When it comes to actually choosing a living room emulsion paint with an eggshell finish, you are spoilt for choice.

If I had to pick one, it would have to be the Dulux Easycare Washable & Tough.

I’d choose this paint over all others because it’s highly durable. In fact, Dulux designed it to be extra efficient at withstanding everyday wear and tear, like scuffs and dirt. So, it’s ideal for high-traffic areas like living rooms – especially if you have children.

Also, Dulux offers this paint in a wide range of colours, so you’ll easily find a colour that suits your personal style.

Best type of paint for kitchen walls?

Satin paint is the best paint for kitchen walls.

I love it because it has a high sheen value, which makes it more resistant to dirt, scuffs, and moisture. Kitchens are one of the busiest and moisture-friendly areas of the house. So, using satin paint on walls will prevent your freshly painted walls from peeling and cracking, saving you from the dread of re-painting every five minutes!

Also, satin is a very durable paint finish. It has far better durability than flat and matte finishes. That means it stands up well to gentle scrubbing – making satin-painted walls easy to clean. So, even if your weeknight Bolognese decides to decorate your walls with an earthy red-brown tone, you’ll be able to get it back to crisp white with a simple wipe!

My favourite satin paint for kitchen walls

Dulux Diamond Interior Acrylic is my favourite satin paint to use on walls. I think it’s great because it provides increased durability and resistance to stains. Not only that, but it’s also quick-drying, so it’s excellent for painting a kitchen you’ll need to use ASAP.

Lots of different coloured tins of paint on a table

What paint brand is best for wall paint?

As a professional painter and decorator, if there is one piece of advice I’d give to a thrifty DIY-er, it would be to AVOID cheap paints. 

You might want to paint your home on a budget. I get it. But if you use cheaper paints, you’ll pay a lot more in the long run.

Here are some of the issues you’ll run into when you use cheap brands of paint:

  • You’ll need more coats of paint to get a good quality finish. That’s because cheaper paint contains fewer pigments and binders (ingredients that give paint its power to cover surfaces) than high-quality paint brands.
  • Because cheap paint has less pigment and binders, the finish is more likely to be uneven. So when you finish painting, you will probably find yourself wondering whether the roller marks will go away when the paint dries – sadly, they won’t!
  • Your paint finish won’t be as durable. So, your painted walls will start fading, peeling, and cracking sooner than expected.
  • Because cheap paints contain less pigment, the colour won’t look as good.
  • Cheap paint products tend to have a limited choice of colours and sheens. So, you’ll have a limited selection of products to choose paint from.

If you’re wondering what paint brands to avoid, here are some I’d steer clear of:

  • Crown paints
  • Johnstone’s paint
  • Wickes paint
  • Homebase paint
  • B&Q paint

So, based on all of the above issues, it’s always a safe bet to use a quality paint brand for your walls.

I have tried and tested virtually every paint product on the market. I think these brands are the best:

  • Farrow & Ball – Farrow & Ball is my favourite brand, and I regularly use them on my jobs – most recently, I used them to complete this paint job in Dulwich.
  • Dulux
  • Tikkurilla 
  • Little Greene
  • Paint & Paper Library
  • Zoffany
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TLDR (Too-Long-Didn’t-Read)

Emulsion paints are my recommendation for the best wall paint.

That’s because when it comes to painting, few paints are as easy to apply, quick drying or low in VOCs as emulsion paints. Also, emulsion paints come in a variety of paint finishes, ranging from soft sheen to high sheen levels.

Here are the paints I recommended to use in each of your indoor rooms:

Bedrooms: Tikkurilla’s Harmony – matt finish emulsion
Living rooms: Dulux Easycare Washable & Tough – eggshell finish
Kitchens: Dulux Diamond Interior Acrylic – satin finish

But, no matter what paint you choose for decorating your walls, avoid using cheap paint brands. Always remember to prep your wall for painting by completing preparation tasks like sanding, filling, and priming the surfaces.

Following these steps will ensure each coat of paint adheres and covers your walls well.