A Guide To Choosing The Right Paint

A Guide To Choosing The Right Paint

If there’s one subject that garners the most questions from you guys, it’s paint, which is great because I a) absolutely love to talk and b) particularly love to talk about paint. I know I’ve said it over and over, but it’s one of the easiest ways to bring life to your space and transform it, without having to do anything scary or major like pull down a wall or redo the floors. In any decorator’s toolbox, it’s the lowest hanging paintbrush, if you will.

That said, paint can be tricky. And an ill-thought-out colour palette or a poorly chosen paint can totally ruin the look and feel of your space. Picking paints quickly and without much thought can lead to lots of heartaches in the long run (unless you are a fan of painting over things lol), so it’s best to be methodical about choosing your paints. Work done upfront planning and testing paints pay off! In this first post of our new paint series, we’re going to be sharing the definitive guide to choosing paints.Looking for the best home painting company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

Unsure which paint is best for your project? Don’t skip the research. The type of paint you choose is just as important as the colour and can have a major effect on the character of your room, the quality of your paint job, and the vibe you want to achieve. “There are definitely a lot of factors that you should take into consideration before you decide on a type of paint,” says paint expert Sarabeth Asaff South of Fixr, an online service that helps homeowners make home remodelling decisions. Where the room is located, how it will be used, how large or small the room is, and the overall look you’re trying to achieve are the top factors to consider, according to Asaff South. “These factors can all subtly influence things like the sheen of your paint or the saturation, so you need to closely consider them,” she adds.

How to Choosing the Right Paint

Use our handy guide to choose the right paint for your home. Whether you’re painting your home’s interior, exterior, furniture, or cabinetry, our tips for what to look for in paint products, plus how to save time and money, will help you paint any item or surface successfully.


The majority of wall paint sold today is water-based, primarily because of its ease of use. If your surface has been previously coated with an oil-based product, be cautious when switching to water-based paint as it may have trouble sticking. In this situation, Sherwin-Williams recommends washing the surface and then roughening it all over with a medium to smooth grit sandpaper—making it clean, dry, and dull in order to prevent peeling of the new coat.

For those instances when an oil-based paint would traditionally be preferable, but you desire a water-based product, a number of companies have introduced “waterborne enamels” or “waterborne alkyds.” These paints look and behave much like oil-based options because they have good levelling qualities for a smooth finish.

Advantages of water-based paints

  • doesn’t require a pre-treatment
  • no mildew growth
  • low VOCs (low levels of toxic emissions)
  • easy clean up with water
  • quick drying
  • an elastic, flexible finish resistant to cracking
  • can be used on almost all surfaces
  • stable colour over time doesn’t yellow or fade in sunlight

Disadvantages of water-based paints

  • don’t tend to be as vivid or rich
  • aren’t as long-wearing as oil or urethane-based paints
  • can delaminate from walls if dampened


Oil-based paint can be used on almost all surfaces and is praised for its high durability and rich finish. Still, be cautious, as oil paint emits strong fumes that can be overwhelming, and the paint cannot be washed with water. If you choose oil paint, solvents like turpentine are necessary for washing brushes or other materials with unwanted paint on them.

Advantages of oil-based paints

  • attractive gloss
  • good for high-moisture rooms (ex. bathroom or kitchen)
  • longer dry time (good for making fixes)
  • good “levelling (brush strokes fill themselves in to create a smooth finish)
  • hard, durable finish

Disadvantages of oil-based paints

  • VOCs can be harmful to breathe in
  • messy process
  • hard to wash


Sheen options vary by manufacturer but share some common characteristics. As durability improves across all sheen levels with newer paints, many people are finding creative ways to mix and match them. “We’ve noticed that customers are becoming more experimental in their use of paint finish, to create real impact and texture within a scheme,” says Farrow & Ball Director Sarah Cole. “Try painting a stripe of full gloss on a matte wall in the same colour to create a striking, textured look,” she suggests.

Matte paint:

  • is the least reflective sheen available
  • has a velvety texture
  • helps hides imperfections in walls and ceilings
  • offers a great depth of colour
  • is generally considered the standard sheen for walls
  • can sometimes be difficult to clean

Eggshell and satin paint (satin is slightly glossier than eggshell):

  • have some reflectivity
  • offer improved durability
  • are frequently used in demanding environments, like kitchens and bathrooms, where easy cleanup without a highly glossy finish is desired

Semi-gloss and gloss paint:

  • great for kitchens, doors, window trim, accent walls, and bathrooms
  • are the most reflective sheens
  • are highly durable and stand up to multiple cleanings
  • are traditionally used on baseboards, mouldings, and doors
  • can make a statement, but also highlight imperfections

Right Paint for All Your Home Projects

Interior Paint

When it comes to painting interior walls, you can save yourself a lot of effort by choosing a dual-purpose paint that includes both Primer and paint. Interior latex paints that include Primer, like the new PPG Timeless Interior Paint +Primer, cover walls in one coat, which eliminates the need for multiple layers of paint. Whether painting a dark wall white or making a slight colour change to your interior walls, paints that include Primer gives better coverage than traditional latex paints, and you will save yourself time and money since less paint is needed.

If you’re painting a bathroom or room that is prone to high humidity, like a sunroom, look for specialty interior paints, like Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa paint, that are made for high-moisture areas of the home to help reduce the possibility of peeling and staining over time.

Kitchen Cabinet Colors

If you’re thinking about painting the cabinets, doors, or interior trim in your home anytime soon, the key for choosing the right paint is finding one that is not only highly durable but also has a beautiful smooth finish. It’s important to choose carefully when it comes to painting products for high-traffic areas in the home, including interior trim work, doors, and cabinets, which receive the most daily wear and also happen to be the most visible areas.

Water- or oil-based enamel paints are formulated specifically for these high traffic areas and are dual-purpose when it comes to durability and finish. Many enamel paints contain self-levelling additives that help to ensure the paint will spread evenly and reduce brush marks. Enamel paints do not require a topcoat, as these paints are formulated specifically to give a highly durable and strong finish.

An enamel paint like Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel will give a smooth, durable finish that is tough enough to hold up to daily wear and tear.

Allergy-Free Paints

benjamin Moore Natura paint

If anyone in your home suffers from asthma, allergies, or is sensitive to the chemicals or fumes of paint, choosing the right paint for your home becomes an even bigger challenge. The good news is there are now interior paint products on the market with both low and zero volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These interior paints help reduce allergens and sensitivity to paints.

Benjamin Moore Natura is certified asthma- and allergy-friendly paint line with zero VOC and zero emissions that are available in a wide range of colours. As a bonus, Benjamin Moore Natura is self-priming on most surfaces, which is a big time-saver, as fewer coats will be needed.

Exterior Paint

With so many varieties of exterior paints on the market, it can be overwhelming to know what paint will do the best job and hold up to a wide range of weather conditions for years to come. The most durable exterior paints with the greatest staying power have formulations that include UV protection, resistance to mould and mildew, and resistance to chipping, flaking, and cracking.

Seeking out an exterior paint that checks all the boxes when it comes to durability is the best way to ensure that you will find the right paint for your home’s exterior. PPG Timeless Exterior Paint + Primer does an excellent job of covering an exterior surface in one coat, and the paint includes UV protection technology, resistance to chipping, flaking, and cracking, and a coating resistant to mould, mildew, and algae.

Exterior paints that contain a primer will require fewer coats and less paint, which will help save time and money when it comes to painting your home. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer Melbourne home painting services.

Furniture Paint

There is a myriad of furniture paints that are available on the market, including ones with chalk-style finishes, high-gloss lacquer, and finishes that create a distressed look. If you’re not looking for a specialized decorative paint finish for a furniture paint job, traditional water- or oil-based enamel paint will give a beautiful, smooth, and durable finish on furniture that will be tough enough for even high-traffic furniture pieces. No topcoat is needed when it comes to enamel paints, as the finish is formulated to be strong enough to be used without a top layer clear coat.

A quick trick for applying enamel paint to furniture is to use an extender additive, like Floetro (for water-based paint) or Penetrol (for oil-based paint) with the paint, which extends the paint drying time, increases paint levelling, and helps eliminate brush marks. Supplementing with an extender additive makes the furniture painting process smoother and helps to hide any painting imperfections. Refer to the directions found on the extender additive to determine how much product to mix with your paint.



Finding inspiration is absolutely key for picking great paint or paint palette. I like to start by finding something for inspiration. It could be a piece of fabric, artwork, run or pattern. Anything that has colours that work together and show a few key colour tones and a neutral base tone. Assemble a mood board of these images, and if you can, add an indication of the other materials or furnishings for space. This will give you a general idea of how the paint colours will work with the whole look. Once you’ve found your inspiration, you’re ready to pick paint to match! Below I have shared the mood boards for the two palettes we considered during our renovation. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of melbourne home painter services. 


The next steps are to choose some paint chips in the palette that you want to use. I usually go to a paint store to do this. A big hardware store that has lots of different paint. Brands are the best idea. Use your mood board to pick some colours. Remember that colours can vary on your computer screen, so paint swatches are better. They’re not foolproof though, so I always choose a few in similar tones, because they often differ a lot from what you see once you get them into your space. For example, if I am getting green, I will pick 3 or 4 greens to sample. It might sound like overkill bit honestly it’s worth it. Often the colour I liked best in the paint chip turns out to be the worst one on the walls.


Once you’ve picked a range of paint chips, it’s time to sample! That means buying all the paints in your selection in smaller pots to try. This is such an essential step because the light, floors, windows and furnishings and direction your home faces all impact how a colour looks in a space. I always figure I can hold onto the samples and use them for other things too.


With your samples purchased, you’re ready to apply them. You can do this one of two ways: directly paint your walls or paint paper or board. I like to do it on a board, first painting the board the same colour as the walls. The advantage of putting the colour on a board is that you can move it around. Some people say that you shouldn’t test colours next to each other, like if you are trying out a few greens because they throw off the perspective. But to be honest, I feel there really isn’t any other way to make a real comparison, so I always paint them side by side. 


Wait until the colours are dry, and do a second coat if you need to. Often you will see straight away that some colours aren’t great and be able to exclude them. If you’re choosing between two very similar colours, definitely try to understand the room and the light. You’ll want to see what the colour looks during the day with sunlight and what it looks like at night and morning vs afternoon. It’s amazing how light changes the appearance of colours. Check the colour on cloudy days, sunny days, and at night when you’ve got artificial lights on.


Once you’ve tested your colours, you should be at a point where you can choose them! Don’t be disheartened if you haven’t found the one you like. This can happen! If you have, you’re ready to buy your paint. To estimate the amount of paint you need in order to cover the walls or your item, add together the length of all the walls and then multiply the number by the height of the room, from floor to ceiling. In general, you can expect 1 litre of paint to cover around 6 square metres of wall.  

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