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Paint Types for a House Interior

The paint selection at your paint or home improvement store can be intimidating, if you don't know what type of interior house paint to choose. Your choices include color-changing ceiling paint, eco-friendly paint and a range of gloss levels along with specialty paints such as metallic, suede and stone. Most people, professionals and homeowners alike, choose water-based paint. Your choices for oil-based paint may be limited, but most good paint stores still carry some.
  1. Ceiling Paint

    • Ceiling paints are typically dead flat and will not reflect any glare. This makes them a good choice for disguising uneven surfaces and amateur repair jobs. White ceiling paint is often not truly white. Most manufacturers add a little black or deep brown colorant to make it hide better, and require fewer coats. Some ceiling paints look pink in the can and when first applied, but turn white as they dry, so you can easily see if you've missed any spots. Since few people wash their ceilings, flat ceiling paint is not washable and will show stains easily.

    Wall Paint

    • Wall paint is designed to be somewhat washable and resistant to stains and scuff marks. You can paint any gloss level you wish on a wall, but semi- and high-gloss paint create a lot of glare and accentuates every tiny flaw on the surface. Most people choose flat, eggshell or satin finish paint for their walls. If you like the look of a velvety flat wall but are concerned about not being able to wash it, look for one of the washable flat, or matte, paints. They tend to be a little more expensive but give a soft look to the walls, yet are stain resistant and can even be scrubbed clean without leaving a mark.

    Trim Paint

    • Typically, trim paint is satin, semi- or high-gloss. Years ago, most people chose oil-based or alkyd paint for trim and cabinets. However, oil-based paint is not as durable as it used to be, while water-based paint technology has advanced significantly. Nowadays most water-based or latex paints are as good as, and in some respects better than, oil-based paint.

    Specialty Paints

    • The craze for faux and decorative painting has endured. In response, some paint manufacturers have produced paints that give some textured and decorative effects with a simple brush and roller application, without requiring the work of doing a faux finish. Metallic paint is available in colors across the spectrum, instead of just the traditional gold, silver or bronze. Suede paint is formulated with tiny fibers suspended in it, so the effect after it's dried is that of smooth suede if you roll it, or brushed suede if applied by brush. Stone or river rock paint has a subtle sand finish and can look like natural stone. These paints are not usually easy to clean and are best used as accent walls or in low-traffic areas.

    Environmentally Friendly Paint

    • Environmentally friendly paint is often labeled "green," low-VOC or zero-VOC. Volatile organic compounds are different elements in the paint that may affect indoor air quality, or cause mild allergic reactions or upper-respiratory problems in some individuals. Environmentally friendly paint is water-based and a good choice if you are painting in winter when you can't open windows for ventilation, or if you have any concerns about indoor air quality and health.