How to pick the right paint for your project

How to pick the right paint for your project

Ready to refresh your home’s interior with a new coat of paint, but aren’t sure what type to use for each room? Or do you have outdoor items that need to be spruced up?

If painting is on your to-do list, whether you’re hiring a highly rated professional or rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself, our experts provided the best paint options for each project.

What type of paint do I use in my house?

You can find color inspiration anywhere — a flower garden, a fancy cocktail, even a pair of blue suede shoes. Paint stores have the ability to match any color you bring them, so use your imagination (why not paint for your personality!) and stick to these types of paints for the best results:

Kitchen – Use a satin or semi-gloss paint, which are easier to wipe down.

Bathroom – Try a pearl sheen. “Pearl is in the middle of the sheen spectrum and has an almost iridescent quality,” says Joshua Abramson, chief solutionist for highly rated A Allbright Painting in Valencia, California. “It also prevents water stains, is low-VOC and mildew resistant.”

Hallways – An eggshell sheen works well because of its durability. Another option is velvet sheen, which resembles flat paint when viewed head on, but shows a slight gloss when viewed at an angle, Abramson says.

Trim/baseboards – Use a semi-gloss, which offers a bit of sheen and is easy to clean.

Living room or bedroom – A flat or eggshell paint flatters these areas. “These finishes are warmer, and have a non-glaring feel to them,” says Ryan Miller, owner of highly rated RW Miller Painting in Schenectady, New York, who adds that the glossier the paint, the easier it is to spot imperfections.

Ceiling – Use flat paint to reduce light glare and hide imperfections.


Can you paint…?


How long have you been glaring at your kitchen cabinets, wishing they were a different color? “Oil base enamels are probably best for repainting cabinets in homes, but are increasingly hard to find and not as environmentally friendly,” says Michael Chism, president of highly rated Chism Brothers Painting in San Diego.

While Chism says water-based finishes are improving, they still tend to get tacky after a while because of the oil on our hands. “Always clean cabinets with a good cleaner/degreaser and sand [before painting]. and we always like to use a good primer under any waterborne product,” he adds.

A cinder block wall

Use a flat paint, or low-sheen if you want it a bit shiny. “If the block has never been painted and moisture penetration is a concern, and/or a more finished look is desired, a coat of ‘block filler’ could be used,” Chism says. “This is essentially a heavy-bodied specialty primer that’s rolled on and forced into the pores of the block, giving the surface a more uniform appearance when finished.”

A porch railing

“If it’s metal, I’d use an oil-based paint; if it’s wooden, I’d use a latex deck stain,,” says Dennis Corriveau, owner of highly rated Perfection Painting in Dayton, Ohio.

And no matter what paint you go with, our experts agree: steer clear of the cheapest choices. “I always use paint from a paint company, like Sherwin Williams or Porter, primarily because they’re trained in the industry and they provide a wide variety of paint types,” Corriveau says. “I don’t buy cheaper paints, because they do not perform well over the long haul. Don’t chintz out on the paint, it’s not worth it.”

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Expert painters offer tips on selecting paint

We spoke with three highly rated companies on Angie’s List to find out what homeowners should do to select the best paint for their interior project.


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