We have lots of advice on interior paint to help you find the right paint for your project
For a simple way to update a room, you can’t beat a lick of paint. Whether you’re putting your stamp on your new home, or are renovating a room that needs some TLC, interior paint can transform any space in the house in a few hours.
There are lots of paints available for different surfaces and it can be a bit daunting if you aren’t sure what all the different types, finishes and features mean. We are going to talk you through the ins and outs of interior paint so that you can buy the right paint with confidence.
Questions to ask before you begin
Which room in the house are you painting?
What goes on in the room you are planning to paint? Maybe you are painting a kitchen or bathroom that would benefit from a moisture-resistant paint. Some rooms might need an extra hard-wearing paint which can be wiped down and cleaned such as hallways, landings or kid’s bedrooms. Finding the right paint isn’t just about which colour you pick. We have different types of paint designed for use in different rooms. By choosing the paint that is specially designed for the type of room you are painting, you will get the best end result.
What type of surface are you painting?
There are different types of paint for different surface materials. As well as a comprehensive selection of emulsion paints for walls and ceilings, we have a wide range of specialist paint including ones that are designed for wood furniture, brick walls, and tiles. Choosing the right paint for the right material will ensure a longer-lasting result and the best coverage.
What kind of look are you going for?
Maybe your home has quite a traditional look and would suit a subtle, matt effect paint. Or perhaps you have a more contemporary style that would look great with a satin or metallic finish paint. When selecting paint, think about what you want the final look to be, so that you can choose the correct finish as well as the right colour.
How much time do you have to complete your decorating project?
If you need to get your painting job done quickly, we have a wide range of quick-drying options that will help you get a whole room decorated in a few hours. We have quick dry wall paint, primers, and wood and metal paint to help you make the most of your time whatever you are painting.
What state is the surface in?
Some of our interior paints can be applied directly to the surface. Others may require a bit of preparation before you can begin painting. Perhaps you are painting a freshly plastered surface or previously untreated wood, or maybe you need to fill in some holes or sand down an uneven surface. We have paints and primers for all sorts of surfaces that will help you achieve a nice, even finish.
Types of interior paint
There are lots of different types of interior paint that you can choose from. They are designed for use on different surfaces, rooms and projects. We will talk you through the ranges we have available to help you pick the right one.
Wall & ceiling paint
Wall or ceiling paint, also known as emulsion, is a water-based paint that is designed to give great coverage on plaster and artex. Water-based paint carries colour pigment well which is why it is available in so many different shades and tones. It also dries faster than oil based paints and enamels and has a lower VOC (volatile organic compounds) content than other types of paint. VOCs are chemicals found in paints and other household products which evaporate into the air at room temperature. They are thought to harm our health and the environment. The lower the VOC, the safer the paint is to use.
We have a massive range of colours and finishes to choose from so whether you want to create a neutral space with the odd pop of colour, or have a bold, contrasting palette, we’ll have a wall paint to suit whatever look you’re going for.
Ceilings can become discoloured over time - especially if there is an open fire in the room, you burn candles, or smoke. White is the most popular colour choice for ceilings, and helps to make a room feel taller and more airy. Painting over an already white ceiling can be tricky as it's hard to see when you’ve missed patches.
We love this Dulux magic white paint (pictured). When you begin to paint it will appear pink in colour, which ensures that you cover every part of the ceiling evenly. It is formulated to fade from pink to brilliant white in under one hour which helps you achieve a perfectly white, patch-free finish on ceilings.
Kitchen & bathroom paint
Paints that can withstand higher levels of moisture are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. These paint varieties are tougher than standard wall paint and are designed to handle the steam and condensation that accumulates in these rooms more effectively.
Kitchen paint has a different formula to bathroom paint. It is moisture-resistant but it also withstands grease and stains that so easily appear in kitchens. It can be wiped down regularly without fading.
You can use kitchen and bathroom paint on the walls and ceilings to protect the whole room.
Wood paint & varnishes
If you’re planning to paint your doors, skirting boards, wooden windowsills or any other internal wood, you will need a paint designed for that specific surface type. This will help you to get the best finish. Wood paints and varnishes are a great way to refresh wooden surfaces making everything look clean and new again. With wood paint you often need to use a primer or undercoat to achieve the best result.
If you want to keep the natural look and texture of your wooden flooring, windowsills or doors, a varnish is a great alternative to paint. It will still protect the surface from scratches, scuffs and spills, and you can choose between clear or coloured options. Clear varnish will only add a sheen to the surface, while a coloured option can enhance or even change the colour of your wood.
Metal & radiator paint
There are lots of metal paints that are specifically designed for exterior use but we have interior metal paint too. These can be used to give appliances, pipes and all metal surfaces a refresh. Metal paint is available in different finishes, such as satin or gloss which have a shiny effect, or hammered which is more matt.
Some of our wood paints are suitable for metal and wood so if you need to paint both kinds of surfaces, you might be able to find one paint that can be used on both.
Radiator paint, also known as radiator enamel, is a specially designed paint that will give your radiators a new lease of life. Radiator enamel is created in a similar way to the enamel coating that radiators get in factories. This clever coating is designed to conduct optimum heat. When painting a radiator it is always advisable to use a paint that has been specifically engineered for the purpose. The more coats of non-enamel based paints you use, like standard gloss of undercoat on your radiator, the more you will reduce its efficiency.
It will not only maintain the efficiency of your heater, but radiator enamel is also designed to retain its colour even when exposed to heat. Normal metal paint or gloss will eventually discolour.
Tile & floor paint
Tile paint is an easy, effective way to change the look of your bathroom or kitchen without having to re-tile. The formula of tile paint has been reworked in recent years to be more durable than ever before. Tile paint is designed to be waterproof, mould and scratch resistant to give you reliable, effective coverage. Some varieties can be painted over the top of grout to save you time masking your tiles off.
Floor paint helps you to update your wooden, concrete, stone or tile floor easily. They are designed to be tough and durable to withstand foot traffic, scratches and regular cleaning. Painting your floor is a quick way to update the look of a room without having to take up the existing floor and replace it.
For those who want to upcycle or renovate an old piece of furniture, or want to make mismatched pieces match, furniture paint is the way to go. Our furniture paints are hard-wearing and are available in different finishes to help you get the look you want. Some can be applied directly to the surface you want to paint with no need for a top coat, others need a primer and/or a finishing wax or lacquer. They are available in more colours than normal wood paints, and have softer, chalkier finishes available too.
You can even renovate your kitchen furniture and cabinets with V33 renovation paint. Maybe you’ve just moved into a house that has a kitchen that is in good shape, but it’s not to your taste. Kitchen renovation paint allows you to change the look of your kitchen quickly and easily without having to rip it out. This is another example of a particularly durable paint range that is scratch and stain resistant and can withstand frequent cleaning with household cleaning products.
Painting an ornate piece of furniture or accessory? Our furniture paint is also available in spray paint cans to help you paint hard to reach or fiddly bits more easily and quickly than with a brush.
Craft paint has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The world of Pinterest has opened our eyes to chalkboard walls, metallic and glitter paints, as well as the wonders of upcycling. Whatever the surface, whatever the space, we have a craft paint to help you create any look you want in your house. Our range of craft paints includes almost any finish and effect that you can think of to help you add some drama into your home.
Chalkboard paint, (pictured), creates wipe-off writing surfaces that are perfect for shopping lists, reminders and family messages in the kitchen, office or children's bedrooms. Painting a wall with magnetic paint is a great way to liven up children’s bedrooms or playrooms. Simply add a selection of magnetic letters, numbers and games, and children will have hours of fun playing and learning. We even have paint that can help you create a glitter wall! Let your creativity run wild.
If upcycling is your thing, you can create a shabby chic look with crackle effect furniture paint. This clever process transforms even new furniture to look like a vintage piece by layering two contrasting paints and applying the crackle base coat and top coat to achieve a beautiful, distressed effect.
Finishes of interior paint
When thinking about the finish of your interior paint there are several options for you to choose from. Most of us are familiar with matt, silk and gloss finishes but there are other, less familiar options that you can choose from. We are going to explain some of the jargon that surrounds paint and the available finishes to help you pick the right one for your decorating project.
Matt effect paint is a smooth paint with a flat, non-reflective appearance. Matt paint works well if you want to disguise or hide imperfections on an uneven surface. It creates a soft, natural look on your walls and ceilings.
Flat matt finish
Flat matt finish paint has a smoother, more velvety texture than standard matt paint. Flat matt gives an added richness to darker colours and, because matt surfaces don’t reflect light in the same way that shinier surfaces do, this finish tends to make colour look more consistent in changing light.
This is a popular choice in period style homes because of its traditional, non-reflective finish.
Silk or satin
Silk or satin paints have what can be described as a mid-sheen finish. It has a delicately shiny, reflective finish that is often more durable than matt or eggshell finishes, but not as solid and robust as a gloss finish paint. Because you can wipe it clean it’s the ideal choice for any rooms in your home that may get grubby - like halls, staircases and children's bedrooms.
Because silk and satin paints reflect more light, they have a tendency to exaggerate lumps and bumps on uneven surfaces more than matt paint does. However, when compared to high gloss finish paint for woodwork, satin wood paint can help to hide imperfections on skirting board and doors. Silk and satin paint is available in wall paint, wood paint and metal paint.
Gloss is usually applicable to wood or metal paints. Gloss finishes offer a more durable result for areas that may get bumped or brushed past regularly, such as your skirting boards and doorframes. Gloss paints tend to be an oil (solvent)-based paint – although water based versions are increasingly popular. They are thicker than other types of paint for a more robust finish. Gloss paint is extremely practical but it also gives a nice contrast to walls painted with a matt effect paint.
Eggshell paint has a more delicate sheen than satin or silk effect paint (imagine the surface of an eggshell). It is formulated to resist moisture and staining better than matt paint. This finish is not as flat as matt paint, and not as shiny as silk. An eggshell finish gives woodwork a classic light sheen finish and looks great on architrave and skirting boards. It is also available in wall paint and creates a tough but heritage look.
Hammered effect is only available in metal paint and it is particularly good if you’re looking for a vintage look. It has an unusual, semi-matt finish that makes the surface look as though it has been distressed. Great for adding texture to the look of a room.
Features of interior paint
Once you have decided on the type of paint you need, there are different features to consider that can help you optimise your time and space. We will talk you through some of the options below and which types of paint they are applicable to.
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend redecorating, you can use paints that only require one coat rather than multiple ones to help speed up the process. These paints tends to be a little bit more expensive but they are thicker than standard paints so don’t require multiple coats.
One-coat paint has good covering power if applied properly, but it shouldn’t be spread too thinly. It will cover surfaces which are in good condition and of a similar colour (even a one-coat white paint won’t fully cover a really dark wall). We have one-coat versions available in a number of our paint varieties including; wall paint, satinwood, radiator paint and undercoat and primer.
We have a wide range of quick-drying paint options that will help you get your painting job done faster. It’s tempting to avoid priming surfaces when you are in a rush but quick-dry undercoats and primers like this Dulux quick-dry primer undercoat help making surface preparation quick and easy.
Gloss is another paint that traditionally takes a long time to dry because it is thicker than other types of paint. Going for a quick-dry option like this Dulux trade quick-dry gloss will help you to make the most of your time.
Silk and soft sheen paints reflect more light than matt finished paints due to their slightly glossy finish. Choosing a paint with a shiny finish will help to reflect light.
Some paints are specifically designed to reflect light in a way that makes the room feel lighter and brighter. Dulux Light & Space range is a light-reflecting paint range with LumiTec formulation that has light-reflecting particles in the paint that allows light to be reflected around your room.
Want some extra sparkle?
We have sachets of glitter that you can add to wall and ceiling emulsion to give it a lift. Simply mix the glitter into the paint before you use it, the more you add, the more sparkle you will get.Shop glitter paint sachets
Some paint ranges have been specially designed to better withstand busy, everyday life. The Colours Durable and Premium ranges have formulas that are tougher than standard emulsion and can be wiped clean without damaging the finish. Great for hallways, kid's bedrooms and busy living rooms, they provide excellent surface coverage that you can rely on.
Maybe you have a specific colour palate in mind and you are worried that you won’t be able to find exactly what you want. Valspar is a paint range where you don’t have to compromise on colour. Valspar uses colour matching technology to create paint in any colour that the eye can see - that's an amazing 2.2 million colours.
Using tester pots
Choosing the right paint for your walls is a big decision. Because it can be hard to visualise colour in a room, tester pots are a great way to ‘try before you buy’. We have some great tips on how to get the most from tester pots.
Paint near your wood finish
To see what the colour will look like against your skirting boards and doors, paint a swatch onto lining paper and place near the wood finish. This will give you a chance to see how the colour blends in with the rest of your room.
Test in different light sources
Colour can change once it hits the walls, and it can look a different shade altogether when it’s placed near varying light sources. Artificial and natural light will have different effects on the appearance of a colour and, because natural light varies throughout the day and depending on the direction your room faces, a colour can look quite different from the colour card or tin. Test your paint against the lighting in your home to get a better idea of what it’ll look like.
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Swatches of shade
Use tester pots when you’ve narrowed down your paint choice. Don’t paint swatches of lots of different colours, this will only make your decision harder. Opt for shades and variations of a similar colour.
Paint sheets of paper
Don’t commit to painting straight onto the wall, just in case you decide to go back to your original colour - you’ll have to repaint the entire room. Paint the colour onto lining paper and move around the walls and use masking tape to stick them to the wall. Make a note of the colour at the bottom of the piece of paper.