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Paint Quality Institute

6 Quick Questions to Help You Pick the Right Interior Paint



If you’ve ever been confused at the paint counter, you’re not alone. Most home centers and paint stores sell a dizzying array of coatings in every conceivable color and sheen. That can make it difficult for anyone to pick the right paint.

To help simplify things, we suggest that you ask yourself six questions about your personal preferences and lifestyle. The answers will help guide you through the maze of interior paints available today and make your purchasing decision a snap.

  • How sensitive am I to “paint smell”? If you abhor paint odor, you should favor water-based latex paints, which have little or no odor compared to oil-based or alkyd coatings. Latex paints also simplify cleanup and perform exceptionally well on all interior surfaces. These advantages help explain why latex paints have become the overwhelming choice of both do-it-yourselfers and professional painters.


  • How much activity will take place in the space I am painting? If the room you are painting will see a lot of activity, the painted surface could get soiled. In that case, it’s best to use a glossier product (a high gloss or semi-gloss paint), which will tend to resist stains and are much easier to clean. If the room will see little activity, you could use any level of sheen – from a flat paint to a high gloss finish.


  • What atmosphere do I want to create in the room? If your goal is to make the space cozy, consider using a “warm” color from the red, yellow or orange family; if you want it to seem cool, apply blues or greens.


  • Do I wish the room were bigger (or smaller)? If you feel the space seems cramped (or, at the other extreme, cavernous), you can do something about it by selecting the right color of paint. Lighter colors make a room seem larger, while darker colors make it feel more intimate.


  • How often do I typically repaint? If you paint only every so often, you’ll want to apply a durable, colorfast paint that will hold up well and continue to look good for a very long time. The best option in this regard is a top quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint.


  • How much time do I want to devote to this painting project? If your time is limited, or you just want to complete the project quickly, then consider applying a “paint and primer” product that works like two coatings in one. You’ll likely need to apply fewer coats, which will save a lot of time — and you’ll still get superior results.

Considering these questions takes just a few moments, but saves a lot of consternation when you are at your paint retailer’s. More importantly, the answers will help you quickly identify the very best type of paint for your next home beautification project!

~Courtesy of the Paint Quality Institute: