Best One Coat Paint

One coat paint is often scoffed at in the decorating profession – we’ve always been taught that multiple coats achieve maximum opacity and durability.

But are there any one coat paints on the market that actually proves their value and is not just a DIYer-targeted gimmick?

To find out, I put a variety of paints to the test to find out what the best one coat paint in the UK is. Read more to find out which paints came out on top.

Quick look:

One Coat Paint Buying Guide

Is there truly a one-coat paint?

First of all, it’s important to mention that no paint is truly one coat. Yes, if you’re simply planning to refresh your existing paint, one coat might be enough but in general, multiple coats are needed for the best opacity and durability.

Are one-coat paints any good?

In my experience as a professional decorator, I wouldn’t say one-coat paints are good. Due to their ‘one coat’ nature, they’re typically extremely thick in consistency which makes it a nightmare to apply.

To get any sort of flow from these paints you’ll probably need to water them down, especially for cutting in which ultimately reduces their opacity anyway.

If you’re just looking to refresh your current walls/ceilings and want them the same colour then you might find some value in these paints, especially because they tend to be very cheap to buy.

Best One Coat Paint in the UK

1. GoodHome Ultra Cover: Best for Walls and Ceilings

GoodHome Ultra Cover is a promising alternative paint product I’ve used on my last two jobs. Targeted for walls and ceilings and claiming one-coat coverage, it presents an opportunity to explore options beyond mainstream products like AR2 or Dulux Supermatt.

What Can It Be Used On?

GoodHome Ultra Cover is suitable for walls, ceilings, and uneven surfaces. While it states on the tin that it’s suitable for wood and metal, I haven’t been brave enough to try it on these substrates yet.

Consistency and Ease of Application

The paint is exceptionally thick in the tub, which led me to thin it by 20-30%. I aimed to use it as a two-coat system and was impressed by the results. It may look patchy when going on but dries brilliantly. On 90% of ceilings, it covers in one coat, excluding new plaster.

Price and Value

Priced at £36 per 10 liters, it’s a more affordable option that provides a flat finish, making it perfect for ceilings. Its coverage allows the product to go further, enhancing its value.

Durability and Finish

Ultra Cover provides a dead flat matt finish that works wonders on uneven ceilings. It’s effective even in challenging situations, like ceilings that have had wallpaper removed. The product also has a durable variant (GoodHome Tough and Durable), although its coverage isn’t as remarkable.


  • Affordable compared to other brands.
  • Thick consistency can be thinned to preference.
  • Excellent coverage in most cases with one coat.
  • Perfect for uneven ceilings and touch-ups.
  • Great results on challenging surfaces.


  • Appears patchy during application (though dries well).
  • Not tested on wood and metal as stated on the tin.
  • Concerns that quality may decrease as popularity increases.

My Rating

GoodHome Ultra Cover offers a strong argument for exploring alternative products. With its impressive coverage, appealing finish, and reasonable price, it’s a valuable choice for walls and ceilings.

However, as a relatively new product, its long-term quality and price trajectory remain to be seen. Its success in handling bad conditions and potential as a touch-up solution makes it a noteworthy option. Still, professionals may need to monitor changes in quality and price as it gains more customers.

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2. Dulux Simply Refresh: Runner Up

Dulux Simply Refresh is a paint that intrigued me due to its “one coat” coverage claim. After 35 years in the trade, I’ve seen many such products come and go, so I approached it with curiosity.

What Can It Be Used On?

While specific applications were not detailed, I would say that it’s clear Dulux Simply Refresh can be used on various surfaces, but I wouldn’t recommend it for high-traffic areas.

Consistency and Ease of Application

The paint is very thick, almost like treacle, and doesn’t flow like regular emulsion. I found adding a drop of water helped it flow better, though for cutting in, I had to add even more. Unlike GoodHome Ultra Cover, stirring isn’t necessary, and it’s ready straight out of the tin.

Price and Value

At £16 for 2.5 liters, I found it to be good value but not quite up to the standard of trade paint quality. It positions itself between GoodHome Ultra Cover and lesser trade emulsions in terms of performance.


While it claims to cover in one coat, my experience showed that it needs two coats. It covered well over fillers without flashing, and in some cases, it did cover in one coat over the same color, following the instructions to apply thickly in smaller square sections.


  • Good value for the price.
  • Almost covers with one coat, especially over the same color.
  • No stirring required; ready to use.
  • Better performance than some of the worst trade emulsions.


  • The thickness of consistency can be a hindrance.
  • Does not truly cover in one coat as claimed, unlike my experience with GoodHome Ultra Cover.
  • Not suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • May require adding water for better flow and cutting in.

My Rating

Dulux Simply Refresh offers an interesting option that holds its own against some trade emulsions but falls short of delivering fully on its one-coat promise. While priced better than GoodHome Ultra Cover and offering reasonable coverage, the thickness and need to adjust with water made it challenging for me.

The experience with application and consistency can vary, making it suitable for specific projects but not as versatile as GoodHome Ultra Cover. Its readiness straight out of the tin adds convenience, but fellow professionals should be aware of its limitations, especially if looking for true one-coat coverage or use in high-traffic areas.

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3. Dulux Once Satinwood: Best one-coat paint for wood

Tin of Dulux Once Satinwood paint.

Dulux Once Satinwood is a retail paint primarily used for woodwork like doors, windows, and skirting, boasting one-coat coverage.

What Can It Be Used On?

It’s suitable for surfaces that need quick turnarounds, such as rentals and communal halls.

Consistency and Ease of Application

The consistency of this paint can vary, sometimes appearing runny, other times stodgy. Its application can be difficult and heavy on the brush but offers good coverage after 1 coat.


The opacity is impressive, outperforming many trade paints with just one coat.


Durability is inconsistent, with some instances of the paint looking fresh and others where it yellows quickly.

Comparison with Other Paints

Dulux Once Satinwood falls short when compared to trade paints like Johnstone’s Aquaguard Satinwood, especially concerning the issues of inconsistent durability and potential yellowing.


  • Excellent coverage with one coat.
  • Pleasant finish on doors and skirting boards.
  • Viable choice for quick and inexpensive jobs.


  • Inconsistent consistency (either too watery or thick).
  • Challenging application.
  • Possibility of yellowing in a short time frame.

My Rating

Dulux Once Satinwood has its uses for quick jobs where opacity and coverage are key. However, for longevity and consistent performance, other paints may be preferable. Its inconsistent quality and the risk of yellowing make it a product not recommended for professional decorators.

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