Boy helping father to paint orange wall

Bring colour to your home with this paint buyer's guide

Published 26th January 2023
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Painting is both an art and a science, and whilst decorating with paint can be an enjoyable and creative experience, it can also be confusing. Whether you're painting your home for the first time, hoping to become a professional decorator or just need a quick reminder of the basics before a touch up, knowledge of interior and exterior paint is an absolute necessity.

That's what this guide is designed to do. We'll introduce you to the various paint types and finishes you can buy as well as give you some tips for how to find that perfect colour. By understanding the basics of decorating paint, you'll be one step closer to creating a beautiful and inviting home!

Types of paint

First things, first, let's talk about the different types of paint you can buy. There's quite a few to choose from so let's cover them in depth:

Spray paint

Spray paint is a versatile and convenient type of paint that's perfect for all sorts of projects, big and small. Whether you're giving your bike a new look, sprucing up some outdoor furniture, or adding some street art to your neighbourhood, spray paint is the way to go.

One of the best things about spray paint is how quickly it can cover large areas. Rather than using a brush or roller, which can be time-consuming and leave brush marks, you simply shake the can, press the nozzle, and voila - you've got a smooth, even coat of paint in no time. This makes it perfect for big projects like cars, fences, and murals.

Spray paint is also great for getting into tight spaces and corners that can be hard to reach with a brush or roller. This makes it perfect for things like pipes, railings, and lattice work. You can also use stencils to create intricate designs and patterns, which can add a fun and unique touch to your walls.

Of course, as with any type of paint, it's important to use spray paint safely. This means using it in a well-ventilated area, wearing a mask to avoid inhaling fumes and taking care not to overspray or get paint on anything you don't want to. But with a little bit of care and attention, spray paint is an easy and fun way to add some colour and personality to your home.

Emulsion paint

Emulsion paint is a versatile and popular choice for many interior painting projects. This water-based paint is easy to clean and dries quickly, making it a great option for busy households.

One of the biggest advantages of emulsion paint is that it's water based. Water based paints dry faster and are really easy to apply to walls, making them a brilliant choice for large interior walls like bedrooms, sitting rooms or dining rooms. Emulsion paint doesn't smell as much as other types of paint as well. Plus, it gives off fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds), making it more environmentally friendly.

Another great thing about emulsion paint is that it can be tinted to any colour you desire. This means you can choose from a wide range of colours to match your décor and personal style.

Gloss paint

Gloss paint is the ultimate choice for anyone looking to add a high-shine finish to their home. This paint is perfect for woodwork, such as skirting boards, door frames, and even furniture. It's also great for adding a touch of luxury and elegance to your home.

One of the best things about gloss paint is that it is extremely easy to clean. It's perfect for high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, because it can be easily wiped down to remove any dirt or grime. Plus, it's also great for hiding small imperfections on surfaces.

Gloss paint is also very durable and long-lasting. It can withstand the wear and tear of daily life, making it a great option for both residential and commercial properties.

Gloss paint does not have the wonderfully diverse colour range of emulsion paint; most gloss paints are a very bright white for maximum shine factor. There is still some variety, though. You can find black gloss paint, as well as bright, vivid colours like blue, red and green.

Masonry paint

Masonry paint is specially formulated to protect and decorate the exterior walls of your home, including brick, concrete and stone surfaces. These paints have a heavy-duty formula that includes plenty of robust binders and fillers that help the paint stick to rough or porous surfaces.

One of the biggest advantages of masonry paint is its durability. Masonry paint is formulated to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, high winds and intense heat. This means that it can protect your home from the elements and keep it looking great for years to come.

Masonry paint has some variety in colour, although neutral tones like cream, beige and different kinds of grey are popular. Brighter colours like sunburst yellow, often have a glossy sheen so that they stay bright for longer.

Metal paint

Metal paint is a great way to protect and add a fresh new look to metal surfaces in and around your home. It's a versatile option that can be used on a variety of metallic objects. Outside, it can be used on metal gates, railings, garage doors and sheds. Inside, it can be used on things like radiators.

Metal paint formulas contain binders that bond to practically any type of metal and give it protection from rust by a strong, water resistant barrier. Not only does this barrier reduce corrosion, it also protects the metal from general damage and weathering as well. Metal paints made specially for radiators contain extra heat resistant chemicals to stop the paint melting or flaking off the radiators when they get hot. And it does this all without an undercoat too, making it brilliantly easy to use.

Damp proof paint

Like metal paint, damp proof paint is designed to protect against a specific threat to walls. But rather than rust, damp proof paint guards against mould and mildew. It's a must-have for any homeowner looking to keep their home in tip-top shape, especially in areas that are prone to dampness.

It works by forming an impermeable layer on the surface it is applied to, preventing water from seeping through and causing damage. This makes it an essential tool for protecting basements, garages, and other areas of your home that are susceptible to dampness.

Damp proof paint is also very versatile, it can be used on a wide range of surfaces including concrete, brick, and stone. This means you can use it on walls, floors, and even ceilings to create a moisture-resistant barrier that will last for years to come.

Damp proof paint doesn't come in many colours, but that's not a disaster, since it will still work when painted over with a different type of paint. Combine it with a layer of your chosen emulsion or gloss paint and it becomes a kind of primer or undercoat. Make sure to choose a damp proof paint that's similar to the shade you want to be visible, otherwise it will make the tone too dark or light.

Floor paint

Floor paint is a great way to update and protect your flooring. It is a durable and hard-wearing paint that can withstand lots of feet walking or running over it, making it perfect for high-traffic areas like landings, hallways and garages. Floor paint can also be applied to flights of stairs, where it is particularly useful.

One of the benefits of using floor paint is that it can help to hide imperfections and stains on your flooring. It also provides a protective barrier that can help to prolong the life of your floors and make them easier to clean. This protective barrier also makes the surface waterproof, so you have less to fear from liquid spills. Another benefit is that the paint coat adds friction, turning floorboards that would be slippery into non-slip surfaces.

Different types of paint finishes

When you choose paint for your project, you'll want to make sure you have the right finish. A paint finish refers to the surface texture and appearance of the paint once it's dried. A paint's finish can greatly affect the overall look and feel of a room, as well as the durability of the paint and how easy it is to clean the surface. We've already mentioned gloss paint, but there are several other finishes.

One of the most popular finishes for interior paint is a matte finish. Matte finish paint has a flat, non-reflective surface that is perfect for hiding imperfections on walls. It's a great choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and other areas where you want a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Another popular finish is the eggshell finish. Eggshell finish paint has a slight sheen, which gives it a subtle shine that is perfect for high-traffic areas like hallways or living rooms. It's a great choice for homeowners who want a more elegant and polished look.

Satin finish paint, also known as silk paint, is another popular choice for interior walls. It has a slight shine and is great for hiding imperfections on walls. It's also easy to clean and is great for high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Some types of paint have their own finishes. For example, masonry paint has smooth and textured. Textured masonry paint is extremely tough, but the rough surface it leaves is less attractive for many tastes, particularly on interior surfaces. Smooth masonry paint is its opposite: It's more attractive but not as hard wearing.

When you want to choose a finish for your rooms, it's important to consider the look and feel you want to achieve, as well what the room is for and how likely it is to get damaged by accidents or regular wear and tear.

How to choose the right paint colour for interior walls

Now let's get onto the exciting part of painting and decorating - the colour! With a bit of planning, you can create a beautiful and cohesive look for your home.

First, consider the natural light in the room. The way a paint colour looks in the store may be different from how it looks in your home. So, it's best to test the paint colour in the actual room where it will be used.

Think about the existing colours in the room. If you're working with a lot of neutral colours, consider adding a pop of colour with a bold accent wall. If you already have a lot of colour in the room, consider a neutral paint colour to balance things out.

Consider the mood you want to create. Different colours can evoke different emotions. For example, blues and greens are often used to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere. Whereas, yellow and orange can add energy and warmth to a room.

Keep in mind that paint colours can change depending on the finish. A colour will look different in a glossy finish than it will in a matte finish, so try to account for that when shopping for paint. One tip is to avoid using gloss paint on walls that get a lot of sunlight, as they'll create a blinding shine.

How to choose the right paint colour for exterior walls

We've given you some tips for how to paint for the inside of your home, but what about the outside? Here's some guidance for choosing lovely exterior paint for your home.

Take into account the architectural style of your home. The paint colour should complement the style of your home, not clash with it. For example, a historic home may look best with a traditional colour palette, including shades like mint, red, navy and greige. On the other hand, a modern home may benefit from a more contemporary colour scheme such as black, deep greens or shades and bright pastels. Modern homes are more open to contrasting colours as well.

You can also take into account the roof and other permanent elements of the house. If you want to leave especially lovely parts of your home, like wooden roofing beams, in their natural colour, then you need to choose a paint colour that will complement their particular shade of brown. If in doubt, choose a light neutral colour, like cream.

In conclusion, there's so much you can do with paint, and it's surprisingly easy to find the right pot of it once you know what you need. Follow our advice on different paint types, finishes and colours and you'll soon be left with a stunningly pretty wall – whether inside or out!

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