The Best Interior Paints of 2022

Turn to one of these top-rated brands to achieve a perfect interior paint finish.

By Manasa Reddigari and Debbie Wolfe | Updated May 24, 2022 10:06 AM

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Best Interior Paint Options According to Happy DIYers

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you plan on painting walls, furnishings, cabinets, or trim, you’ll need a quality interior paint to achieve good-looking, long-lasting results. But the sheer variety of interior paints on offer at home improvement centers and hardware stores can be confusing. Purchasing the wrong one could negatively affect the ease, speed, and durability of your project and even impair indoor air quality. Use these shopping tips and recommendations—based on satisfied consumer reviews—to find the best interior paint for the job.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Interior Acrylic Latex
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Glidden Essentials
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior
  4. BEST FOR KITCHENS & BATHS: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel
  5. BEST STAIN RESISTANCE: Valspar Signature Satin
  6. BEST FOR TRIM AND DOORS: Behr Alkyd Satin Enamel
  7. BEST FOR CEILINGS: Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint
  8. BEST ONE-COAT PAINT: Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White Matte Interior Paint
The Best Interior Paints Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing Interior Paint

A new coat of paint is a simple and affordable way to update the interior of your home. Although paint color is crucial to achieving the desired overall effect, it’s just as important to choose the right paint product to ensure the best results. Weigh these factors in any paint product to avoid common pitfalls.

Viscosity

Viscosity relates to a paint’s thickness and structure, also known as the paint’s body. Paint has either a dense or flowing body. Paint with higher viscosity is a thicker, slower-moving paint. High-viscosity paints splatter and drip less but take longer to dry. Low-viscosity paints appear very thin and tend to drip and splatter more but dry quickly.

A paint’s viscosity also lets you know which application you can use with success. Ceiling paint has a higher viscosity than most wall paints and poses a lower risk of drips and splatters when you paint overhead. Interior wall paint has a lower viscosity and drips off the roller more readily, allowing faster drying time and quick coverage.

Durability

Oil-based paints are more durable than water-based paints. Oil-based paints are best for high-traffic areas or exteriors. However, a paint’s durability goes hand in hand with sheen level, whether oil- or water-based.

The higher the sheen level, the easier it is to clean and the longer it will last. However, higher- sheen paints show more imperfections on the wall’s surface. Paints are available in five sheens: gloss, semi-gloss, eggshell, satin (velvet), and matte (flat). Matte or flat paints are the less expensive options, but they are harder to keep clean and are less durable. Flat paints are best for ceilings and low-traffic areas. Gloss is the easiest to clean, lasts the longest, and tends to be more expensive. Gloss paints work best on high-touch surfaces such as doors, trim, and cabinetry. Higher-sheen paints also take longer to cure.

Suitability for the Surface

Interior paints come in a few varieties: acrylic or latex (water-based), alkyd (oil-based), and newer water-based alkyd varieties that perform like oil paints but emit less harmful fumes. Choose the variety that holds up best on the surface you plan to paint.

Opt for the more consistent finish and fade resistance of latex or acrylic paint for walls, seldom-used furnishings, and cabinetry in dry areas. Consider the more impact- and rot-resistant oil-based or water-based alkyd paint for trim work, doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and everyday furnishings.

Dry Time

Because VOCs can be emitted into the air from the time of paint application up to a few months after the paint cures, choosing a paint that dries and cures quickly can help minimize your VOC exposure. Look for water-based paints that dry to the touch in 1 hour and cure within 30 days. Oil-based paints should optimally dry to the touch in 6 to 8 hours and cure within 7 days.

VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in many oil- and water-based paint products that easily evaporate and can emit toxins into the surrounding air. VOC exposure can induce headaches, nausea, or liver and kidney damage, so the lower the VOC content of the paint, the better for your health. Seek out paints labeled “Zero-VOC” or “Low-VOC” to minimize your exposure to harmful fumes.

Should You Buy a Paint and Primer in One?

Self-priming interior paints, usually labeled “paint and primer,” are worth considering: They have a built-in binding agent that improves adhesion to the surface, and no separate primer coat is required. One can of quality self-priming paint often costs half as much as separate cans of primer and paint yet yield a more consistent finish for the average DIYer.

Our Top Picks

Below are excellent choices from interior paint product lines that factor in the above criteria and received high ratings from consumers.

Best Overall

Photo: sherwin-williams.com

Sherwin-Williams’ SuperPaint line is one of the best paints for walls, and it’s popular among professional painters because of its superb coverage. The high-quality paint easily covers dark and light walls and covers stains with ease. The all-in-one paint and primer creates a lasting finish and a surface with excellent scrubbability.

The SuperPaint line is available in three sheen choices: flat, semi-gloss, and velvet (satin). The paint is tintable and comes in a range of popular colors, including Repose and Agreeable Gray. It’s truly a one-coat paint. It has a higher viscosity than many of its competitors, making it great for use on ceilings, textured surfaces, and dark surfaces without priming first. This paint is only available at Sherwin-Williams stores.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Walls, ceilings, or over dark colors
  • Coverage: 350 to 400 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Superior coverage
  • Highly resistant to wear
  • Excellent finish quality

Cons

  • Expensive

Get Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint interior paint at Sherwin-Williams.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Interior Paint Option: Glidden Essentials
Photo: homedepot.com

Glidden Essentials Interior Paint offers a quality paint option with an affordable price tag. This paint is usable on any interior wall and provides decent coverage with an easy-to-clean finish. The paint has over 1,100 color options and comes in various finishes, including flat/matte, eggshell, or semi-gloss.

Glidden’s Essential paint is perfect for repainting primed or painted walls with a similar color. It’s a low-VOC latex paint with minimal odor. Because of its low viscosity, it’s not suitable for painting over dark colors without a primer. Although it’s a budget paint, Glidden backs it with a 15-year warranty.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Walls
  • Coverage: 350 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Thousands of color options
  • Scrubbable and washable finish
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Needs primer to paint over dark surfaces

Get Glidden Essentials interior paint at The Home Depot.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Interior Paint Option: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior
Photo: benjaminmoore.com

Like Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore is a premium paint brand that’s popular among paint professionals. The Regal line offers excellent coverage, long-lasting durability, and over 3,500 color options.

Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select line is a paint/primer combo formulated for easy application and cleaning. Like most primer and paint combos, it has a higher viscosity. It is suitable for use on walls, ceilings, and dark-colored surfaces. Because it’s a thicker paint, it doesn’t splatter and shows minimal brush strokes. It’s available in various sheens and produces a uniform finish.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Walls, ceilings, or over dark colors
  • Coverage: 400 to 450 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Applies easily and smoothly
  • Mildew-resistant
  • Low-VOC formula

Cons

  • Expensive

Get Benjamin Moore Regal Select interior paint at Benjamin Moore or Ace Hardware.

Best for Kitchens & Baths

The Best Interior Paint Option: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel
Photo: homedepot.com

Kitchens and baths need paint that can hold up to moisture, is easy to clean, and is mildew resistant. Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel offers a durable finish that resists dirt and grime and is easy to clean. The paint features a satin finish and is water-based.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel is a primer-and-paint combo. You will most likely only need one coat for previously painted walls in a lighter color. However, you will need at least two coats of paint for dark walls or previously unpainted walls. It’s low odor and low VOC for safer air quality. It features superior stain-blocking and stain-resistance qualities that make maintaining the color and finish easier.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Kitchen and baths
  • Coverage: 400 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Durable finish
  • Resists dirt, grime, and is easy to clean
  • Seals uncoated and previously painted surfaces
  • Low-VOC formula

Cons

  • 2 coats needed for best results

Get Behr Premium Plus interior paint at The Home Depot.

Best Stain Resistance

The Best Interior Paint Option: Valspar Signature Satin
Photo: lowes.com

Valspar Signature Satin features ScuffShield, the company’s proprietary technology that makes the cured paint impervious to moderate impacts and everyday spills. This scuff-resistant paint holds up to wear and tear while displaying fade-resistant colors.

The Valspar Signature collection is a high-viscosity paint, making it suitable for interior walls and ceilings or previously painted or bare drywall. It’s our best Low-VOC paint pick due to its Greenguard certification for low chemical emission standards. It also works well on textured walls, plaster, masonry, and primed metal. However, this paint can show brush marks and other textures on smooth surfaces due to its thickness. Nonetheless, its low-VOC and stain-/fade-resistant properties make it a good pick for high-traffic areas too.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Walls, ceilings, and trim
  • Coverage: 200 to 400 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Fade- and mildew-resistant finish
  • Resists scuffs and stains
  • Low-VOC formula

Cons

  • High viscosity may be too thick for some applications

Get Valspar Signature interior paint at Lowe’s.

Best for Trim and Doors

The Best Interior Paint Option: Behr Alkyd Satin Enamel
Photo: homedepot.com

Oil-based paints are highly durable but are difficult to remove from tools once the task is completed. They also release strong fumes and potentially dangerous fumes. However, Behr Alkyd Satin Enamel offers the durability of oil without the hassle and mess.

Perfect for trim work, doors, wood trim, and heavily used cabinets in high-traffic spaces, this indoor-friendly paint boasts an innovative water-based alkyd formula that emits less VOCs and fumes than traditional oil-based paints but still affords a ding- and stain-resistant finish. It also dries faster than oil-based paints—within 2 to 4 hours—and cures in 7 days. It’s the best oil-based paint alternative for use indoors and out.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Trim, doors, and cabinets
  • Coverage: 350 to 400 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: No

Pros

  • Mildew-resistant finish
  • Easy water cleanup
  • Indoor and outdoor use

Cons

  • Expensive

Get Behr alkyd interior paint at The Home Depot.

Best for Ceilings

The Best Interior Paint Option: Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint
Photo: acehardware.com

Painting a ceiling is no easy task, so you need a high-viscosity paint that won’t rain down on you while you work. Known and loved by professional painters, Benjamin Moore’s Waterborne Ceiling Paint offers excellent coverage with minimal splatter and is specially designed for ceilings.

The ceiling paint has zero VOCs, making it safe for use indoors without using a respirator. This paint leaves a flawless finish, and its ultra-flat finish conceals common surface imperfections. It’s also tintable with one of Benjamin Moore’s thousands of colors, so color matching walls for a seamless look is possible.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Ceilings
  • Coverage: 400 to 450 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Zero VOCs
  • Minimal splatter
  • Conceals common surface imperfections

Cons

  • Expensive

Get Benjamin Moore Waterborne interior paint at Ace Hardware.

Best One-Coat Paint

The Best Interior Paint Option: Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White Matte Interior Paint
Photo: homedepot.com

Paint-and-primer combos make painting tasks easy and convenient. Behr Marquee Ultra Pure White Matte Interior Paint is available in hundreds of colors and has antimicrobial, mildew-resistant properties. This paint is suitable for use in various areas, including family rooms, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

Behr’s Marquee line offers a “one-coat guarantee.” This promise means the paint will cover most surfaces with one coat when tinted with colors from the Behr Marquee One-Coat Color Collection. However, the guarantee excludes the Ultra Pure White color. Nevertheless, the Marquee line offers superior stain resistance and a scrubbable, easy-clean finish, making it suitable for virtually every room in the home.

Product Specs

  • Best Application: Living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways
  • Coverage: 400 square feet/gallon
  • Low VOC: Yes

Pros

  • Mold- and mildew-resistant
  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Provides exceptional adhesion and stain-blocking

Cons

  • Expensive

Get Behr Marquee interior paint at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint interior paint came in as our top pick because it’s an all-in-one paint and primer that creates a lasting finish and durable surface that holds up to scrubbing. It’s popular among professionals and covers a range of finishes and colors. Also, consider Glidden Essentials interior paint for its amazing coverage with an affordable price tag.

How We Chose the Best Interior Paints

After exploring dozens of interior paint options, we considered several criteria before choosing our best interior paint picks. We based our choices on brand reputation and overall customer satisfaction. We also considered the paint’s versatility, usability, and price. The top choices feature excellent coverage and various sheen options, and many are low VOC.

Types of Interior Paint Finishes

All of our recommendations are available in various finishes, including the ever-popular eggshell and satin. These finishes are the most widely used for bedrooms, living rooms, or dining rooms thanks to how they balance durability of glossier paint finishes with the forgiveness of more matte ones—meaning they aren’t so glossy that they highlight imperfections in the wall. If you’re painting a bathroom or a kitchen, consider bumping up the sheen one level to a semi-gloss for extra resistance to water.

  • Flat/Matte: This finish has minimal shine. Matte/flat finishes provide excellent coverage and cover imperfections well. However, they are the least durable of all the finishes and best for surfaces that will not be touched much, like ceilings or formal dining rooms.
  • Eggshell: Eggshell is slightly more lustrous than flat paints. This finish covers imperfections, and they’re more durable than flat finishes. Eggshell paints are great for low to medium traffic areas, like living rooms, hallways, and entryways.
  • Satin: Satin is the most popular finish in interior paint finishes. This finish has a velvety sheen and is easier to clean than flat and eggshell paint finishes. Satin finish is a great choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens, playrooms, family rooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
  • Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss finishes are shiny and reflective. This finish is extremely durable and mildew-resistant, so these paints are best used in kitchens and bathrooms.
    High-gloss: High-gloss paints have the shiniest and most reflective paint finish, and they are the most durable and washable. This finish is best for doors, trim, and cabinetry.

FAQs

Before making a final selection, the following answers to frequently asked questions may provide additional insight into the optimal procedures for selecting the best type of interior paint for walls.

Q: What brand of paint do professional painters use?

Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams are two of the best-selling brands on the market that are popular among professional painters.

Q: What paint colors are best for bedrooms?

The best colors for bedrooms are non-visually stimulating hues such as blues and greens or cool grays and neutral creams.

Q: What type of paint makes a room look bigger and brighter?

Light paint colors make a room look bigger and brighter.

Q: What is the 60-30-10 rule, and how do I use it to choose interior paint?

This rule states that 60 percent of the room should be a dominant color, 30 percent should be the secondary color or texture, and 10 percent should be an accent color. The room’s main color, the walls, should be 60 percent. Use the 30 percent or secondary color in the draperies, accent chairs, bed linens, or on an accent wall. The remaining 10 percent should be in the accent decor.

Q: Should I paint my ceiling and walls the same color?

Painting your ceiling and walls the same color will draw the eye up, creating the illusion of a larger room and higher ceilings. However, using a dark color can have the reverse effect and make a room look smaller and closed-in, especially if there isn’t enough natural light.