6 things to consider when choosing paint - Grand Designs Magazine

6 things to consider when choosing paint

Picking a paint for your home renovation is more than just finding a colour you like

By Hugh Metcalf |

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.

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.

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

Photo: Benjamin Moore


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.


Photo: 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.