Finding the best paint for walls can have a dramatic impact on both your interior and exterior walls.
A lick of paint can bring a new lease of life to tired, out of date interior decor or refresh exterior walls that have gradually been worn down by the effects of the British weather.
But how do you know which paint is right for you? Choose the wrong one and you could end up with something that is difficult to get an even coverage with, dries to a different colour on the tin and something that turns out patchy.
Fortunately we’ve combined our years of experience with feedback from hundreds of customers to come up with this guide which covers different areas of your interior as well as exterior walls. Read on to find out which paints we’d recommend.
Best Paint for Walls Overall: Johnstone’s Emulsion
When combining price, colour options, ease of application and durability it’s hard to look past Johnstone’s matt emulsion as being the best paint for walls overall. This low odour emulsion is perfect for interior use and can be applied to walls and ceilings with minimum fuss.
Being an emulsion, the consistency of the paint makes it easy to apply evenly and works especially well if applying using a medium pile synthetic roller. When using a brush, make sure to load it generously with paint and apply liberally. This will ensure you don’t get any patches once the paint has set.
It’s also low odour which makes it easier to work with but of course make sure your room is well ventilated before, during and after painting.
Whilst the paint dries to a matt finish, it’s still very durable and hard-wearing. It’s been specifically formulated to last years and you can also wipe away any marks without worrying about washing the paint off. The full matt finish is perfect for disguising any imperfections on the surface of your walls.
One of the best features of Johnstone’s matt emulsion is the sheer number of colour options to choose from. With around 40 colours in stock ranging from Coffee Cream to Waterfall Blue, it’ll be tough not to find something that fits in with your style.
- Is durable and can be wiped
- Low odour makes the paint easy to work with
- Has a huge range of colour options to choose from
- Provides great value for money
Best Washable Paint for Walls: Dulux Easy Care
High traffic areas of the home such as kitchens, hallways, stairs and landings are more prone to stains, hand prints and general wear and tear. That’s why it’s important when painting these areas to go with something that’s durable, long-lasting and washable. For this purpose, we’d recommend Dulux Easy Care.
Dulux Easy Care is a washable matt paint that is suitable for use on any wall or ceiling in the home but is particularly useful for those high traffic areas mentioned above.
It’s got a thick, creamy consistency so is easy to apply and the generous 13m²/L coverage goes a long way. The quality of this paint is such that you can easily achieve a smooth finish regardless of whether the surface of your walls are totally flat or uneven. Of course, being a matt emulsion also means any imperfections on your walls will be covered up.
Dulux Easy Care uses unique stain repellent technology which essentially means that liquid spills can be repelled and then washed away easily without damaging the paint. It’s 20x tougher than standard emulsion too so should last you years.
The Dulux Easy Care comes in a variety of cool neutral colours such as Chic Shadow, Natural Slate and Pebble Shore and is ideal for those seeking a modern, relaxed interior decor style.
- Is 20x tougher than standard matt emulsions
- Dries in just 4 hours
- Comes in a variety of attractive cool neutral colours
- Is washable and stain repellent
Best Paint for Bedroom Walls: Johnstone’s Colour Vibe
Our bedrooms are own our personal space and one of the easiest ways to make yours unique is by painting it. Our pick for the best paint for bedroom walls is Johnstone’s Colour Vibe.
This matt emulsion comes in a variety of unique colours and is perfect for bringing a bit of personality to your bedroom. If you really want to make a statement, this paint is equally as effective when used to paint features in your living room too.
The paint consistency is great and makes for a smooth application. One thing to note is that it is rather quick drying so you’ll want to be a little bit hasty when applying to make sure you’re getting an even coverage. Johnstone’s Colour Vibe has barely any odour which is a friendly feature but of course make sure your room is well ventilated just to be safe.
Once fully set, the paint is both hardwearing and wipeable. This means that spills or blemishes can be wiped away without having to worry about damaging the paint. The matt finish creates a rich, non-reflective surface that’s capable of disguising any imperfection on your walls.
Moving on to the colour selection, and this could well be the best feature of this paint. Coming in 12 vibrant and unique options such as Strawberry Daiquiri, Cobalt Dream and Fiery Sunset, you really are spoilt for choice.
- Has a highly unique colour selection
- Fast drying means you’re not waiting around all day for the paint to dry
- Has next to no odour
- Creates a wipeable and hardwearing surface
- Will need to be quickly to get the best possible finish
Best Paint for Exterior Walls: Leyland
When choosing the best paint for exterior walls you need to choose something that is durable, doesn’t flake and let’s face it, looks spectacular. With that in mind, we’ve chosen Leyland’s smooth masonry paint.
This masonry paint is perfect for exterior walls but if you have a little left over as customers frequently do, you can use it on other masonry surfaces such as windowsills. Overall it can be applied to surfaces including brickwork, roughcast, pebbledash, concrete and rendering.
It’s a water based formula yet is one of the thickest on the market. This is ideal for porous surfaces such as masonry as it ensures there’s no spots that have been missed. Such is its thickness, it’s very possible that you’ll only need one coat and the paint can be applied to either bare masonry or a previously painted surface with no degradation of quality.
If you do find it a little too thick making it hard to apply, it can easily be thinned but bear in mind that you’ll likely need more coats if this is the case.
In terms of durability, Leyland’s masonry paint should last you a good 10 years before it’ll be due a refresh. It’s been specifically formulated to provide protection against all weather (which is ideal for those living in the UK) and also has mould resistant properties to stop the paint from staining.
Colours include anything from buttermilk to black, with these 2 being just a couple from a selection of 13 different colours. The neighbours will definitely be jealous!
- Is durable and can withstand UK weather
- Thick formula ensures no gaps are left unpainted
- Dries very quickly as it’s water based
- Great selection of modern colours to choose from
Best White Paint for Walls: Dulux Pure Brilliant White
Dulux are industry leaders in the UK and their Pure Brilliant White emulsion is a good example as to why they take the crown (sorry, Crown).
This simple to apply emulsion gives a pristine white result with no patchiness and is purpose made for walls and ceilings. The finish is somewhere in the flat–matt range which means this emulsion is ideal for hiding any imperfections on your walls or ceilings whilst providing you with a modern look.
Whilst most white emulsions will barely yellow, Dulux’s Chromalock technology makes absolutely sure. After the emulsion has dried and the colour pigments are fully bonded, Chromalock creates an invisible barrier to protect the colour from wear and tear. This is particularly useful for emulsions on the lower sheen scale as typically they would be less durable.
To get the perfect finish you’re after, we’d recommend using two coats. The Pure Brilliant White emulsion is quick-drying so the second coat should be ready for application after just 4 hours.
This emulsion is water based and therefore has a low VOC content making it ideal for application on interior surfaces such as bedroom or living room walls and ceilings. Being water based thankfully makes cleaning a lot easier too – the paint can be washed off your brushes and rollers with soapy water.
- Gives you a smooth, modern finish with no patchiness
- Chromalock technology ensures the white doesn’t fade or yellow
- A second coat can be applied after just 4 hours
- Low VOC content makes it safe to use indoors
- Easy to clean up afterwards using just water
Best Glitter Paint for Walls: V1rtus
When searching for the best glitter paint for walls, you’re likely to come across a variety of brands that are unestablished and frankly don’t have the quality of some of the more reputable paint brands. For this reason, we’d suggest using a glitter additive to your paint instead of purchasing paint that already has glitter in it.
v1rtus are our pick here and having tested it ourselves, we were really impressed with the results. Having mixed it with Johnstone’s emulsion paint (v1rtus claim that it will work with ANY emulsion) we were able to achieve an attractive sparkly effect.
Whilst I probably wouldn’t use it in my own home it would be great especially in children’s bedrooms (It is certified to EN71 & ASTMD-4236 Safety Standards as being non-toxic).
The glitter comes in a variety of different colours including silver, lavender and emerald green. These are just 3 colours from a total of 25 however so there’s plenty of scope to get creative.
- Certified non-toxic and safe for use in children’s bedrooms
- It’s fade resistant which means it won’t leak any colour over time
- Simple to use – simply pour the glitter into your paint can
- Enhanced light reflecting crystals make a sparkly finish easy to achieve
- It’s 100% vegan and free from any animal testing
- This probably goes without saying but you need to make sure to place the glitter directly into the paint otherwise it’ll be a nightmare to clean
Best Metallic Paint for Walls: Johnstone’s Feature Wall Metallic
Finding the best metallic paint for walls involves looking for something that not only gives a great metallic effect once set but is sophisticated too. Often you’ll find some of the cheaper metallic paints that look, for lack of better terminology, tacky. Fortunately, Johnstone’s Feature Wall Metallic emulsion avoids this.
As the tin suggests, this paint is more suited to use on a singular wall rather than the entire room and will be particularly useful to those looking to create a stunning feature wall.
The consistency of the paint is ideal for ease of use and the 15m²/L coverage is about as good as it gets when it comes to emulsion. A little really does go a long way when it comes to this paint and after a couple of coats you should still have plenty left in the tin.
One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll need to be VERY thorough when stirring the paint before use. The paint contains metallic particles so you’ll want to make sure they’re all mixed properly before painting. Failing to do so might mean the metallic effect isn’t uniform.
- Has a variety of sophisticated metallic colours to choose from
- Perfect for use as a feature wall
- A uniform metallic effect is easily achieved after thoroughly stirring the paint
- If painting over a contrasting colour you’ll need to use a different emulsion that’s similar in colour to your metallic paint
Choosing the best paint for walls, whether that be interior or exterior, is an important choice when it comes to revamping your home and painting your walls. Get it wrong and you might end up with something that’s patchy or simply not suitable for the job (we’ve seen some people choose gloss!)
Fortunately, if you stick to the guide above you’re likely to be getting something that’s durable and ultimately makes your home look and feel much nicer to be in. Of course, it’s hard to pick THE perfect paint for any job but chances are you’ll be happy with your choice. If you have any questions about some of the paints on our list, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.
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Want to learn more about different paints? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best kitchen cabinet paint” article!