The best interior paint for any space depends on the lighting and the intended effect.

The best interior paint is the one that ticks all the boxes

One of the biggest choices – and commitments – you make when you buy or update a building is the interior paint. Whether you are setting up a restaurant, a home, an office, a store, or some other interior space, choosing the best interior paint is the fastest way to get the feel and style you want in a space. Whether you want to follow current trends or create a space that is just you, there is a paint for the job. The right preparation, the right finish, the right colour palette and, above all, quality is what makes the difference between an interior design success and a fail.

It may seem simple, but then you get to the Dulux colour wall in Bunnings and realise just how seemingly endless the choices are. Add to that aspects like satin or eggshell and you may feel out of your depth. To make the choice easier, we have put together this explanation of the different paint finishes, the colour combinations that are always winners, and a list of the best interior paint brands in Australia.

Don’t finish last – understanding finishes from flat to gloss

While ‘gloss’ and ‘flat’ may be self explanatory, things get a bit hazier when the eggshells and satins start appearing. Not only that, but there are ways in which these finishes are used and ways in which they are not – unless you want to be unconventional it helps to understand which surfaces normally use which paint. These conventions also apply for outdoor paints. The different sheens and uses of these paints are:

  • Flat and Matte – These paints have the lowest levels of glossiness of all the finishes available, at roughly 0-10% sheen. This means they are non-reflective and will hide surface blemishes and inconsistencies, effectively smoothing the surfaces on which they are painted. These are mostly used for walls, and have a smooth and velvety appearance.
  • Eggshell and satin – These are the “mid-sheen” finishes. They have some reflectivity (satin is slightly glossier than eggshell, which looks like its namesake), and are more durable than the flat and matte finishes. Because of this, they are often used in more demanding spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, and satin is often used for doors and trim.
  • Semi- and high gloss – The most reflective of the decorative paints, these are traditionally used for skirting boards, doors, mouldings, window, and other trim. It is also the toughest finish. Due to their high levels of sheen, gloss finishes show up imperfections, so it is important to prepare the substrate beforehand.

Head to our architectural coatings overview for a closer look at the ways decorative coatings are used inside and outside a building.

The timeless and the trendy – colour and interior paint

You may think that white is white. Sorry to tell you, but you are dead wrong. Dulux even has a top 8 “Most Loved Whites” selection to help you navigate the blinding array of white shades without getting lost. And it isn’t just white! You may think green is safe, but then you find yourself sitting on a mound of paint swatches of very slightly different hues desperately trying to decide whether your living room is more ‘Sink Hole’ or ‘Toad’. The key is not choosing a colour that will fight your furnishings, fixtures, and flooring, and that won’t make you regret ever watching The Block when a trend fades. Some good tips to follow are:

  • Think about the use of the room – The paint colour you choose will set the mood of the room. Dramatic, subtle, cosy, stylish – all of these can be set by the colour, and it is important to choose the mood based on how you use the room. A bedroom with a bright and insistent colour will not create the calming space you need to relax, but if you want a living room that pops, a bright white with feature of a bright colour like indigo will really bring out the space.
  • Always use the test pot – Colours do not look the same in the tin as they do on the wall. Always check that the light and the substrate colours do not alter the paint beyond recognition.
  • Do not make rash decisions – So you’ve painted the test patch and you like it, now what? Now you wait. Sleep on it. Do not just get stuck in and wake up with a paint hangover. Light changes in a space and you may wake up feeling differently.
  • Choose for what you have not want you wish you had – Though the internet is a wonderful tool it can also lead to mistakes. Seeing a colour work amazingly in one space does not mean it will work amazingly in all spaces. Light, ceiling height, furnishing and fixtures all play a role.
Australian homeowners love a soothing shade of white interior paint.

Shades of white are very popular in Australian homes.

The biggest colour trends right now

Though it may sound lame-o, JOMO is guiding colour trends at the moment. JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) is driving the need for cosiness in our interiors, colours that inspire comfort and relaxation. Muted tones that inspire relaxation are popular, from grey hues to beiges, pale pinks to faded green tones, these colours promote rest. And of course if you want a space to clear and empty the mind, there are always all those whites.

As well as the JOMO palette, the trend for pairing bold colours with a simple monochrome is still going strong. Bold, dark wall colours like Farrow & Ball’s ‘Hague Blue’ or Taubman’s ‘Black Flame’ regularly make most popular lists. Though Millennial Pink may be on the way out, arsenic greens are still making their mark.

The Top 5 Best Interior Paint Brands in Australia

Through all the endless colours one thing remains constant – the highest quality Australian paint brands. We have a range to choose from, and what qualifies as “the best” comes down to the paint that provides the best finish, value for money, range, and overall satisfaction. Ultimately the best interior paint is the one that gives you the colour, finish, and quality that you want.

Interior Paint BrandBrand DescriptionProduct Example
British PaintsExclusive to Bunnings, they have a range of interior paint products for all surfaces, in oil- and water-based formulations. Their website also has a ‘Colouriser’ feature which allows you to test their colours against different images.British Paints Clean & Protect – a low VOC, easy-wash wall paint
DuluxThe largest Australian paint manufacturer, Dulux and the Dulux dog are known across the country for quality and range. Their website allows you to order paints by their space and use and includes how-to guides.Dulux Design Concrete Effect – a statement paint that gives the textural effect of polished concrete
Haymes PaintAnother proudly Australian business, Haymes Paint is available through independent retailers. They provide Colour Stylist specialist services to help to choose from their extensive colour library.Haymes Interior Expressions – a low VOC, scrubbable acrylic paint
TaubmansThe Taubmans website includes a paint visualiser, paint planner, and trend tips for their whole colour chart. Though now part of PPG, Taubmans has been manufacturing paint in Australia for over a century.Taubmans Endure Kitchen and Bathroom – scrubbable, low VOC, mould protection
Wattyl / SolverWattyl now owns Solver Paints as one of its brands. The two companies still produce separate coating lines, and both are included in this top list. The Wattyl website includes a virtual painter tool for your own photos.-Wattyl Interior Design Contemporary Matt – Solver Maxi Enviroguard

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