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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Interior Paint Buying Guide

Interior Paint Buying Guide

Why Paint?

The right paint colour is one of the least expensive but most dramatic changes you can make in your home. When you want to get the most out of your indoor decorating but don't want to exceed your decorating budget, the key is choosing the right paint hue for your space. These tips on selecting interior paint will guide you to the perfect paint palette.

Getting Started

  • Size up your room. How you use colour depends on where you use colour. Each room has its own unique elements and functions. First, think about the structure of the room. Consider its shape and size. A lighter colour can make a small room feel more spacious, while a darker colour can help an immense room seem cozier.

  • • Take into account any architectural details, such as molding, trim, columns, and brackets. What's attractive and what's not? Varied intensities and hues can complement architecture, furnishings, and art. Remember, paint can accentuate a room's features or hide them.

  • • Your choice of colour also depends largely on function. Will the main purpose of the room be eating, sleeping, working, entertaining, or something else entirely? A warm hue in the living room gives a more comfortable and inviting atmosphere for guests than a cooler colour.

Selecting Interior Paint

  • • Before choosing your paint, think about where your room fits into the scheme of things. Where is it situated in relation to other rooms? Is it a high- or low-traffic area? Flat paint, for instance, is best suited for ceilings, walls, surface imperfections, and anywhere else that a muted low-reflecting surface is desired. Because it takes more effort to remove stains from this type of paint, a flat finish is best suited for the low-traffic areas of your home.

  • • Use low-luster, satin, and eggshell paint on areas where a sheen is desired. These paints are easier to clean than flat paint and hold up better under repeated washing. They withstand the wear and tear of high-traffic areas like hallways, woodwork, kitchens, baths, children's rooms, and playrooms more easily than other finishes.

  • Semigloss and high-gloss paint and enamel are best suited for banisters, railings, shelves, kitchen cabinets, furniture, doorjambs, windowsills, and any other surface you wish to accentuate. But be careful: the higher the gloss, the more it emphasizes any surface imperfections.

Choosing a Palette

  • • Having trouble deciding on your paint palette? Choose a design direction. If you've already chosen an interior decor or if you're working with a room that's already furnished, focus on a favorite fabric colour, piece of art or furniture, or other object. If you still can't settle on a colour you like, we offer free computerized paint matching and custom color mixing in our stores.

  • Have colour confidence! Don't be afraid to paint bold and bright. If your room is unfurnished, a vibrant color can fill it until you can.

  • • Consider yourself above all. Paint colour should reflect your mood and personality. What are your favorite colours? If you're having trouble selecting a colour, try looking in your closet. The colours you enjoy wearing are the ones that make you feel good. You're the one who will live with the colour you end up choosing, so live with the shades you love.

Making Your Purchase

  • • Water versus oil. When selecting an interior finish, try choosing a water-based enamel instead of an oil-based gloss paint. Water-based gloss enamels have less odor than conventional oil-based paints. They are much easier to clean up after, and they wear better over time.

  • Don't purchase low-quality paint. High-quality paint performs better for a longer period of time. It's less prone to yellowing as it ages, it goes on smoother, and it won't leave as many brush marks as inexpensive paint. It is also easier to wash and it's dirt resistant.

  • Purchase test quarts to review your colour and finish selections at home. Paint a piece of scrap material such as cardboard, or even a portion of your wall, to study the effects of various light conditions on your potential colour(s).


Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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