Choosing paint for a home renovation project isn't just a case of finding a colour you like. These key characteristics should be considered before you buy. 

 Benjamin Moore first light colour in modern living space - grand designs

Image: Benjamin Moore 

A good brief is putting your best foot forward with a build team. Take a look at these top 5 tips from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) to ensure you both get the most out of this step of the process.


Unless you've done your fair share of painting and decorating over the years, you might not be brand loyal to a paint company yet. If you're working with a build team, it's worth deferring to their preference where possible, as some tradespeople are more reluctant to use certain brands down to a reputation for the product which could make their job longer and more difficult. If you've got your heart set on specific shade from a specific brand, it's possible to colour match so that both you and your painter are happy moving forward. 

If you're doing the work yourself, ask around for recommendations of paint brands to try. Many paint brands retail directly online now with affordable postage costs, so you don't have to limit yourself to the selection of your local DIY store. 


There's nothing worse than the impending sense of dread that your paint order isn't going to go as far as you'd hoped. Spend some time working out the coverage a paint offers versus the space you're painting. You'll also need to consider whether the area needs a mist coat or priming before you paint as this will affect how far your paint goes. Be sure to try and keep a little paint left over for touch up jobs around the home.  

DULUX colour of the year in modern living room - grand designs

Image: Dulux 

Eco qualities  

Many paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, once used, are released slowly over time, reducing your home's air quality. VOCs are linked to a number of illnesses, and with a focus on indoor air quality growing in home design, it may be time to consider looking for a low VOC paint brand when decorating your home. 

Paint type

Don't know your eggshell from your emulsion? It's time to swot up to ensure the best finish for your home. Emulsions are usually used for painting walls and ceilings, while eggshell is often to go-to for woodwork, including skirting boards, doors and architrave. Wood, metal and masonry paints are there own specialist types. 

You'll also want to give some thought to the level of gloss a paint has as part of your decorating scheme. At present, matt finishes are more common – matt emulsion for walls, while eggshell has a softer sheen than other, glossier finishes for woodwork. 

Oil versus water based 

Oil-based paints can cause issues when bought accidentally, as they take far longer to dry, have a stronger smell and require turpentine to clean brushes and errant splashes. Oil-based paints do have benefits, such as smooth application, less shrink and high durability however.

Water-based paints are quicker drying, easy to clean up and low sheen for a more modern look. 


The space you're painting may need to dictate the type of paint you choose. High traffic areas, such as hallways, should prioritise durable, washable paint to avoid regular touch-up jobs. Look at specialist paints for bathrooms too, as they offer moisture resistance and help to prevent mould developing. 

Decorating your home at the moment? Let us know how by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page



How to resolve conflicts with your builder

Completing your build: what does snagging mean?

How to manage your self-build during the coronavirus crisis

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

How much does an air source heat pump cost?

Find out what an air source heat pump is likely to cost to buy and to run
Home Improvements

How to plan your kitchen storage

Follow this guide when planning the storage in your new kitchen to ensure your scheme is well-organised, easy to use and has room for everything...
Home Improvements

A view to thrill – a stunning Surrey home with weathertight sliding doors

Sliding doors and windows can open up a home and deliver security, weather protection and incredible views. We look at a beautiful case study from...
Home Improvements

Grand Designs launches a sustainable sofa collection

Discover what is available in the Grand Designs collection of sustainable and stylish sofas, armchairs and accessories, manufactured by furniture retailer DFS.
Home Improvements

Which is the best front door to buy?

Choose the best front door for your property with this guide to selecting the best design
Home Improvements

Why your home needs custom made timber doors and windows

You can boost your home’s look and security with bespoke timber doors and windows, made exclusively for the UK