Whether you plan on painting walls, furnishings, cabinets, or trim, you’ll need a quality interior paint to achieve good-looking, long-lasting results. But the sheer variety of interior paints on offer at home centres and hardware stores can be confusing. Purchasing the wrong one could negatively impact the ease, speed, and durability of your project and even impair indoor air quality. Use these shopping tips and recommendations based on satisfied consumers’ reviews to find the best interior paint for the job.
Important Qualities in Interior Paints
Weigh these factors in any paint product to avoid common pitfalls. Looking for the best home painting company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
- Suitability for the surface: Interior paints come in a few varieties: acrylic or latex (water-based), alkyd (oil-based), and newer water-based alkyd varieties that perform like oil paints but emit less harmful fumes. Choose the variety that holds up best on the surface you plan to paint. Opt for the more consistent finish and fade resistance of latex or acrylic paint for walls, seldom-used furnishings, and cabinetry in dry areas. Consider the more impact- and rot-resistant oil-based or water-based alkyd paint for trim work, doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and everyday furnishings.
- Low or no VOCs: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in many oil- and water-based paint products that easily evaporate and can emit toxins into the surrounding air. VOC exposure can induce headaches, nausea, or liver and kidney damage, so the lower the VOC content of the paint, the better for your health. Seek out paints labelled “Zero-VOC” or “Low-VOC” to minimize your exposure to harmful fumes.
- Short dry time: Because VOCs can be emitted into the air from the time of paint application up to a few months after the paint cures, choosing a paint that dries and cures quickly can help minimize your VOC exposure. Look for water-based paints that dry to the touch in one hour and cure within 30 days. Oil-based paints should optimally dry to the touch in six to eight hours and cure within seven days.
- Paint and primer in one: Self-priming interior paints, usually labelled “paint and primer,” are worth considering as they have a built-in binding agent that improves adhesion to the surface, no separate primer coat required. One can of quality self-priming paint often cost half as much as separate cans of primer and paint, yet yield a more consistent finish for the average DIYer.
10 Best Interior Paint Colors
Simply put, there is an impossible number of paint colours to choose from. Deciding which shade is one thing, and figuring out what room to cover it in is a whole other beast. That is why we narrowed down your choices to a handful of tried and true shades from decorating experts to make your decision a little bit easier.
Here’s our list of the ten best interior paint colours for your home.
Dusty Blue: PPG Porter Paints Chalky Blue PPG1153-5
Paintzen colour expert Kristen Chuber shares her top paint colour: Chalky Blue by PPG Porter Paints. “Somewhere between blue and grey, this velvety shade can be used as a neutral. It looks beautiful with bright white trim, but maybe even more impactful with rich, black accents. We have also seen this shade used beautifully in a monochromatic palette, alongside other shades of blue-grey, both on the lighter and darker side of the spectrum.” Try using this hue in your kitchen, one of your bathrooms, or in the bedroom. At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer Melbourne home painting services.
Muted Green: Benjamin Moore Flora AF 470
If you are looking for that perfect shade of green, interior designer Rebecca West from Seriously Happy Homes suggests Flora by Benjamin Moore. “The blue-green paint is rich without being too dark and earthy without feeling too heavy. It pairs beautifully with medium and dark wood tones and works with a broad range of interior styles from traditional to modern.” You can never go wrong with a soft sage coloured paint, and it can instantly make any room feel more soothing and relaxing.
Pale orange: The Spruce Best Home Sundream SPR-03
Add a little feng shui energy to your living space with an orange paint colour. “According to practitioners orange and red colours lend happiness to a room, which of course makes things feel more welcoming and inviting,” says New York City architect, John Mochelle. “The Spruce Best Home Sundream is more of a warm beige but lives in the orange family. It is subtle enough for all four walls but still sufficiently sweet to evoke positive vibes.”
Apple Red: Glidden Red Delicious 00YR 08/409
“Red is a powerful and energetic hue,” says PPG Paints colour expert Dee Schlotter. “Red Delicious by Glidden is a deep red that would serve as a bold and stimulating colour for an accent wall.” It looks particularly refreshing when paired with white trim. While it’s a bold hue, it’s a timeless version of red that will look great for years to come.
Light Gray: Benjamin Moore Alaskan Husky 1479
“There are a small number of timeless and classic shades we always find ourselves coming back to when searching for the perfect neutral,” says Alicia Weaver of Alicia Weaver Design. “Alaskan Husky by Benjamin Moore is one of them. It is a classic shade of grey that complements accent colours.” Light silvery greys work beautifully in guest bedrooms and front entryways.
Dark Green: Farrow & Ball Card Room Green No. 79
Interior designer and colour expert Moll Anderson, believes in the power of green. She says the colour gives us a sense of balance that is both calming and relaxing. One paint colour that is found to be particularly therapeutic is Card Room Green by Farrow & Ball. It harmonizes perfectly with tones of grey, mustard, and pebble.
Dark Blue: Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20
Susan Williams, an interior designer at Siren Betty Design, first used Gentleman’s Gray by Benjamin Moore when designing rooms for a local bed-and-breakfast. Shortly after, everyone at her company fell heads over heels for the shade. “We loved it so much that we painted our office wall in the same colour. We think it looks especially great in a gloss finish—the way the light reflects of off it is gorgeous and gives any room a lot of character.” A blueish grey this deep gives a serene, comforting vibe and works very well in a place like a bedroom.
Soft Greige: PPG Paints Whiskers PPG1025-3
Nuanced pastels can inspire comfort, according to Dee Schlotter. Pale colours are also fueling a hot home trend thanks to the growing popular popularity of the “hygge” movement. This Danish concept promotes happiness by focusing on creating cozy contentment and overall well-being. “One paint colour that is representative of hygge is Whiskers by PPG Paints. It is a subtle shade of greige, perfect for enveloping a room and making it feel like a cozy retreat,” says Schlotter.
Warm White: Sherwin-Williams Alabaster SW7008
What is the perfect white paint colour for homes with a north-facing view? Interior designer Claudia Leah says, “Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams is my go-to white to warm things up for a northern exposure.” You can’t go wrong with a lovely creamy white, no matter what room you choose.
Best Taupe: Sherwin-Williams Poised Taupe SW 6039
Sherwin-Williams colour trend expert Sue Wadden considers Poised Taupe a gorgeous neutral shade with timeless versatility and broad appeal. “It’s a lovely colour that people fall hard for because the shade is very easy to live with—it is stunning paired with white. It also works well with a palette of blues, especially denim and country blue colours.” The colour also works in homes inspired by retro colours, including terra-cotta orange, avocado, pink, and mauve.
What is the Best Type of Interior Paint for Me?
Water-based paints are often referred to as latex paint, but this is a bit of a misnomer since they rarely contain latex. Instead, most water-based paints today use acrylic polymers to provide the adhesion and lasting finish you want in your interior paint.
Water-based paints have become increasingly popular and now dominate the market as the leading type of interior paint to buy. This is primarily because these paints have low (or sometimes no) VOCs, making them safer for you and better for the environment. Additionally, the water-based formula means that clean-up can be completed with just water—no need for mineral spirits or turpentine. You can rinse brushes and rollers under the tap until clean without worrying about the fumes from paint thinners.
However, the drawback to water-based paint is a less resilient finish. Though paint manufacturers have come a long way with the addition of acrylic polymers for a stronger surface bond and improved hardness, water-based paints are more subject to wear and tear and chipping than oil-based formulas. They also don’t stand up to scrubbing as well, since the water-based formula is subject to being dissolved with excessive cleaning action. Many of these concerns have been addressed in newer formulas from the leading brands of interior paint, but it’s still something to be aware of. If you’re concerned with durability, look for a water-based enamel paint, which will offer a harder surface and glossy finish.
Oil-based paints were once the default option for interior paint but are now more of an exception, reserved for trim, doors, and specialty applications.
This type of paint uses natural oils or synthetic oils—known as alkyds—as the base. The result is a paint that goes on smoothly, levels easily, and offers excellent resilience against chipping. However, these benefits come with a list of inconveniences: slow drying times (up to 16 hours in between applying coats, and 30 days to fully cure), strong fumes due to high levels of VOCs, and the need to use mineral spirits or turpentine to clean brushes and rollers. You also need to follow local hazardous waste disposal methods for both the paint and the mineral spirits or turpentine. You should never put these substances down the drain.
As a result, oil-based paints have lost favour as the go-to interior paint of choice. Instead, most paints sold in stores are water-based enamels. Even so, oil-based paints are still in use for painting areas of the home subject to a lot of wear and tear—like trim and doors. They also offer excellent one-coat coverage, so some people are willing to put up with the long drying times and extra ventilation required.
It’s important to know that you cannot use oil-based paint over a surface that has been painted with water-based paint without some additional prep work. It pays to know what type of paint you have on your walls, trim, cabinets, or doors before you begin painting. If in doubt, you might be better off using a water-based paint to avoid adhesion issues, since you can use water-based paint over a surface painted with oil-based paint—just be sure to prime the surface first, since water-based paints need a good surface to adhere to.
While not specifically a type of interior paint, primer is something you’ll likely need to know about when planning to paint inside your home. The purpose of primer is to seal the surface you’re planning to paint and reduce its porosity; this is especially true when painting surfaces like drywall or unfinished wood. Depending on the formula, it may also block stains and offer mildew resistance. Primer is typically white, but often can be tinted. This might be a necessary step if you’re planning to make a significant colour change.
There are both oil-based primers and water-based primers. These formulas have many of the same advantages and disadvantages as the paint of the same types. The key is to know that you can use a water-based paint over an oil-based primer—in fact, some people find this to be a particularly durable prep option. However, you won’t have as much as success trying to use an oil-based paint over a water-based primer.
Another option is to purchase a special type of interior paint referred to as ‘self-priming.’ These paint formulas are marketed for their convenience and time savings since it eliminates the need for a separate primer step before you get down to the business of painting your wall a fresh new colour. However, you should know that self-priming paints actually contain no primer. Instead, these are high-build interior paints that go on thicker as a work-around to the boring task of priming your surface before painting. Self-priming paints may be fine when making a gradual colour change, but if you have an unfinished surface or want to dramatically change the colour of the surface, then you should probably pass on the self-priming paint.
A top tier interior paint, Benjamin Moore is only available at paint stores and occasional hardware stores. The brand has earned a lot of praise for its rich, vibrant colours but is pricier than many other paint formulas.
PPG and Glidden
PPG and Glidden are brands of paint under the same umbrella, but PPG is the more premier product among the two. It’s also pricier and typically only available at specialty paint stores, though some of its lines are now available at Home Depot. Glidden is the brand’s more affordable and accessible choice—it’s available at Walmart and Home Depot—but it doesn’t have a reputation for being the most durable or long-lasting paint on the market.
This paint is exclusively available through Home Depot, where it takes centre stage in the paint department. Behr offers an Ultra, Ultra Plus, and Marquee line of paints that offer ‘good, better, and best’ tiers of quality.
Generally considered to be a premium paint brand, Sherwin Williams is typically only available at a Sherwin Williams retail centre. The exception to this is HGTV Home Sherwin Williams paint, which is sold at Lowes and includes two lines of paint-and-primer in one. The brand’s budget product line is Dutch Boy paints, which are often sold in major retailers—unlike the flagship Sherwin Williams brand.
Acquired by Sherwin Williams in recent years, Valspar is the anchor of the paint department at Lowes. Offering three lines of paint—Signature, Simplicity, and Ultra—Valspar gives you plenty of bang for your buck and is known for offering a quality product.
Where to Buy Interior Paint
Many brands of paint have exclusive distribution set up through retail channels—or reserve the right to only sell their product through approved specialty stores. So when shopping for interior paint, where you decide to buy will determine the brands that are available to you. Or, if you’re set on a specific brand, this will often dictate where you go to buy your paint.
Some retailers offer additional perks to purchasing your paint through them. For instance, Lowes—though limited on brand selection for interior paints—offers a 30-day return window for the colour you are buying. If you take your paint home then have a change of heart, you can bring the can back to the store for a refund or exchange. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of melbourne home painter services.
Other major home improvement retailers, like Home Depot, have an expansive selection of interior paints and products to choose from. If you want to select from a number of paint brands, you can do so here. And if you need brushes, rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths, and more, they’re all available for a true one-stop-shop.
Specialty paint stores perhaps offer the highest level of customer service if you have extensive questions about paint selection, application, and products. This is commonly cited as the reason that some brands, like Benjamin Moore, steer clear of major retail channels and primarily sell through paint shop partnerships.