What are the best paints to use when decorating a home?
When it comes to choosing what paint to use, you simply can’t go wrong using traditional big brand names of paint. Sherwin Williams, Behr, Glidden, Benjamin Moore, Valspar. They are all good if you follow the directions on the label, stir the paint well before using, apply in light coats, and paint when the temperature is right. A perfect 77 degree sunny non-humid day is best.
Other factors that come into play when it comes to choosing which brand of paint to use for a project is cost and personal style, especially when you want a certain color, finish or sheen. Getting this wrong can make or break your painting project success.
We all want ease of use when using paint and lasting durability for the painted finish is a must, but we each have different tastes and preferences about sheen.
Color, sheen, and a biggy… cost. Oh, and another big factor when buying paint… proximity of the nearest paint store. I have many readers who write to me saying they don’t have a certain brand paint store near them and have to use what ever the nearest paint store carries.
I have two favorite primers. One is sold at Lowes and the other Home Depot. The primer I get for an upcoming paint project depends on the store I go to to get supplies for the project. Both are great primers, I am happy using either as they both deliver the results I want.
For the reader resource I have listed the paints that I have used over the years and that I recommend since I had a good experience them. I am also sharing the pros and cons of using each and where I use them.
If you don’t see a paint listed that you remember me using, sadly the paint is no longer made. Paint companies are always updating formulas and changing the names or packaging which makes it hard to keep up sometimes. :-)
My Paint Recommendations
Super High Gloss Paint
Where I use:
- All the paints I use are water-based, except for one. I have used one oil-based paint when I painted my studioffice desk.
Glidden Trim, Door & Furniture Paint Cost: $20.00 a quart. This paint is super high gloss. It is a gel formula that is funky to work with, but the finish is like glass. It is sold at The Home Depot.
Pros: Nothing I have ever used offers such a shiny finish. Super durable. I painted my desk using Bright White 5 years ago and it has not yellowed which sometimes happens when you use oil-based paints.
Cons: Smells pretty intense while drying. Best to paint in a garage or room that you can close off while painting and drying. It takes 2 days to dry and takes some practice to apply since it is super thick. Only comes in a few basic colors and quarts.
Other super high gloss paint to consider: If you want a super high gloss finish, you will love the colors and sheen of Amy Howard Lacquer spray paint. Cost $14.00 a can.
I have not used this yet myself, but was at a workshop where I saw it being used to transform a ceramic lamp base. I loved the finished product. It is sold online at Amy Howard and at Ace Hardware.
Stand Alone Primers
Where I use:
- Before painting floors, raw wood, paneling, shiplap, furniture and cabinets to help ensure the paint adheres well. It also helps prepare the surface for paint and if wood, seal any wood tannins from seeping through the paint and changing the color.
You can’t go wrong using any of these primers. Glidden Gripper and Behr are sold at Home Depot. Kilz is sold almost anywhere paint is sold.
Paint + Primer in One
Where I use:
- On walls and trim since most paints are now sold as paint + primer in one formulas.
Glidden Diamond is sold at The Home Depot – I used this over peach shell motif wallpaper in my power room and was pleased to see how well it covered in one coat. It went on like velvet. It is washable & stain resistant. It is a zero VOC, low odor paint + primer that offers excellent hide and coverage alongside outstanding scrub-ability.
Pros: One – two coat coverage. Eggshell finish rolls
beautifully on walls. Budget friendly.
Cons: Didn’t like how the semi-gloss looked on trim since brush and roller marks showed up.
Any major brand of latex paint will work well especially the low sheen finishes used on walls (Flat and Eggshell). Most are sold now as Paint + Primers in One. Which one to choose really comes down to how much you want to spend on a gallon of paint. I would not use Contractor grade paint though. It goes on very thin. Extra coats may be needed to get the coverage you want and you will end up spending more money since you will need more paint.
Where I use:
Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd – Cost: $80.49 a gallon. Semi-Gloss or Gloss
Pros: Self levels, shows little to no brush strokes. Durable and nice sheen. Great for cabinets and furniture.
Cons: Cha-ching $$$…it is pricy. Wait for it to go on sale. It does a few times a year. I bought mine for half price by walking into the store on the day of a sale.
Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover – $ 8.50 a quart. Gloss. I use this when I want an affordable high gloss finish on furniture, trim, and to paint my ceiling fans. I still have 4 to go. :-)
This paint comes in a variety of colors and sheens, even metallic colors. Sold at most home improvement stores and Walmart.
Pros: Can be used on both metal and wood surfaces both indoors and outdoors. Durable high gloss finish. Budget friendly.
Cons: Does not come in a gallon size so I use it mostly for smaller projects.
Where I use:
- Furniture that you want to transform fast and need a durable finish.
- Damaged walls. It covers exceptionally well and the slight texture and matte/satin finish will hide problems.
Beyond Paint – Cost: $49.95 a quart. I used on the cabinets in my laundry room.
Pros: Does exactly what the label says it will do. Should be rolled on with a 1/2″ or 1/4″ woven fabric nap roller or if using a paint brush, you need to stipple/pounce the brush over the area to be painted. Do not use traditional brush strokes.
Cons: It has very little sheen and a slight textured finish.
Where I use:
- On the sub-flooring in my previous house where we created a Fitness Room.
Behr Porch & Patio Paint Cost: $28.00 a gallon
Pros: Water-based enamel with a durable gloss.
Cons: Only comes in limited colors
Furniture or Cabinet Paint
- Sherwin Williams Pro Classic mentioned above.
Paint for Small Projects
- Rustoleum Touch Ultra Cover mentioned above.
Acrylic Craft Paint
Waverly Inspirations Cost: $1.67 I have used many craft paints, but Waverly Inspirations has the best finish. It is premium craft paint with a great price. Only available at Walmart.
I love Valspar, especially their Color Radiance and Project Perfect lines. Cost: $4.98 They have the best spray nozzles and come in many fun and vivid colors.
- Want to create a perfect finish when you use spray paints? Check out this post: Spray Paint FAQ’s Answered
Waverly Inspirations: Cost: $1.97 For basic colors, Waverly Inspirations is the easiest most affordable chalk paint to use. When I want a custom color, I still make my own using this chalk paint recipe.
Metallic Paint – Martha Stewart Living is hard to find anymore, but I still have a few bottles. It works well to paint small accents brass, gold, bronze, and or silver on furniture.
Where I use:
- To seal flat or low sheen paints for extra durability and protection.
Minwax Polycrylic Cost: $17.00 a quart
Pros – Water-based and does not yellow or darken paint. Comes in 8 oz. and and quart sizes only as well as in satin, semi, and gloss finishes. It even comes in a spray can version.
Cons – Not a one. I will cry if they ever stop selling it.
- If you would like to know the processes I use to paint different surfaces, check out this post: How To Paint Anything FAQ’s .