The 9 Best Paints for Interior Walls in 2020

Painting is easy if you pick the right formula

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Our Top Picks

Best Color Selection: The Spruce Best Home Paint & Primer at Amazon

"A premium acrylic paint that’s stain-resistant and long-lasting."

Best Overall: Behr Marquee Interior Paint at Home Depot

"Praised for its durability, smoothness, and ability to cover old paint."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Valspar Signature at Lowe’s

"This affordable paint is extra resistant to scratches, spills, and stains."

Best Chalk Paint: Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint at Amazon

"It uses a low-odor formula and dries to a beautiful, matte finish."

Best Low-VOC: Behr Premium Plus at Home Depot

"It's GREENGUARD Gold Certified so there are less harsh chemicals."

Best Splurge: Benjamin Moore Aura at Benjamin Moor

"Smooth, durable, fade-resistant, and provides great coverage."

Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Farrow & Ball at Farrow & Ball

"Choose from 132 color options and eight different finishes."

Best Budget: Glidden Essentials at Home Depot

"Praised for its great coverage and it comes at an unbeatable price."

Best Ceiling Paint: Sherwin-Williams Home Ceiling Paint at Lowe’s

"The splatter-resistant formula leads to less paint on your floor."

  • 01 of 09

    Best Color Selection: The Spruce Best Home Interior Paint & Primer in One

    Your next paint project is about to get more colorful! We’re thrilled to introduce The Spruce Best Home Interior Paint & Primer in One, a premium acrylic paint that’s perfect for interior walls. After listening to all of your feedback and experimenting with different formulas, we took your most pressing concerns (odor, formula, application, color) and developed a paint product that we absolutely love—and we think you will too!

    Produced by KILZ, you can choose from matte, semi-gloss, and eggshell paint. While all three finishes are stain-resistant and long-lasting, our matte formula has the lowest level of sheen (0-4 at 85°) and is perfect for ceilings, bedrooms, and other rooms that don’t see as much foot traffic. Use the eggshell or semi-gloss paint for a slight sheen (17-22 at 85°) that’s decorative and easy to clean.

    We’ve invested considerable time testing this paint and we’re so impressed with the thick coverage and depth of color. We found that one coat will do when you’d expect to need two. We also know picking a paint color can feel daunting—our 32 shades are curated for versatility and elegance, so you can’t go wrong with any color! Low odor was also important to us, so we developed a product that’s low VOC/low odor. You can apply this paint with a brush (nylon or polyester), roller, or airless paint sprayer. Available exclusively on Amazon.

  • 02 of 09

    Best Overall: Behr Marquee

    Coliseum Marble One-Coat Hide Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior Paint and Primer in One
    Courtesy of Home Depot

    Beloved by DIYers and professional contractors alike, Behr Marquee has been praised for its durability, smoothness, and knack for covering old paint and imperfections. It has thousands of glowing online reviews, with the majority of customers giving it five stars. And it’s no surprise: Behr tied with Sherwin-Williams as the top interior paint brand in J.D. Power’s 2019 Paint Satisfaction Study. 

    The paint is low-VOC, easy to clean, and designed with Behr’s most advanced formula. One gallon should cover 400 square feet, and the product is available in a five-gallon option that can help save money on larger projects. You can find Marquee in four finishes—flat/matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss—and more than 1,000 gorgeous colors. 

    While Behr says the paint provides one-coat coverage, customer reviews are mixed. Some users were amazed to find a rich, full layer of paint on the very first coat, as advertised, but others say it required multiple coats to meet their satisfaction.  

    Another small hitch is the price. One gallon of Behr Marquee won’t break the bank, as many other brands’ top interior paint will, but this item still falls on the more expensive end nonetheless.

  • 03 of 09

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: Valspar Signature

    Courtesy of Lowe's

    Valspar Signature has all the features of a high-end paint except for one: it comes at an affordable price. This isn’t the downright cheapest paint on the market, but it will certainly run you less than most products of this quality. On top of that, one gallon covers roughly 400 square feet, and you can also purchase the paint in a five-gallon option to save even more money.

    Designed with Valspar’s ScuffShield Technology, Signature is extra resistant to household foes like scratches, spills, and stains. The paint is also mildew resistant and fade resistant, offering a rich color for years to come. 

    The paint is 100 percent acrylic, self-priming, and low-VOC. You can find it in four finishes—flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss—and get it tinted to match hundreds of Valspar’s color options.

    The scant number of negative reviews generally involve the paint leaving an uneven coat or having less coverage than expected, but overall customers are effusive about the product, with the vast majority giving it five stars. 

  • 04 of 09

    Best Chalk Paint: Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint

    With its thick coat and signature matte finish, chalk paint is the ideal way to spruce up your home—especially furniture. You can get a more in-depth breakdown of chalk paint, including its history, uses, and pros and cons, from our chalk paint guide, or simply check out our top pick: Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint. 

    It uses a low-odor formula, dries to touch in thirty minutes, and is available in several colors, including timeless neutrals like Aged Grey, as well as bolder shades like Coastal Blue and Farmhouse Red. 

    Chalk paint is typically more expensive than latex paint, and Rust-Oleum is no different. The product is sold in 30-ounce cans, rather than gallons, and is around the same price per ounce as high-end latex paint. On the plus side, it covers a large surface area—150 square feet per bucket—and, since chalk paint is usually used for smaller projects, you probably won’t need to buy much. 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Best Low-VOC: Behr Premium Plus

    1 gal. Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Enamel Low Odor Interior

     Courtesy of Home Depot

    No one likes the stifling odor of paint fumes, especially when working indoors, but luckily there are numerous low-VOC and VOC-free options, like Behr Premium Plus. This paint and primer in one is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning less harsh chemicals for paint that is safer, healthier, and happier.

    But Premium Plus because is more than just a good low-VOC option; it’s a downright great interior paint that has garnered widespread customer praise. Along with being odorless, customers generally commend the product for providing a rich, even coat. Many even say the job was done with just a single coat. 

    The paint is 100 percent acrylic, mildew resistant, and easy to clean with soap and water. One gallon will cover around 400 square feet, and you can find it in five different finishes: flat/matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. 

    And all of this comes at an affordable price, even cheaper than other Behr paints like Marquee and Premium Plus Ultra.

  • 06 of 09

    Best Splurge: Benjamin Moore Aura

    Aura® Interior Paint

     Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

    Smooth, durable, and providing great coverage, Benjamin Moore Aura has everything you want in an interior paint—well, aside from the price tag. If you are able to open your budget, however, Aura is one of the best paints to invest in. 

    Designed with Benjamin Moore’s Color Lock Technology, Aura will resist fading for years to come, even after repeated washing. It’s self-priming, mildew resistant, and available in four finishes: matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss. This paint also has zero VOC’s, making it a safe choice for any room in the house. 

    Like most Benjamin Moore products, you’ll have to go to one of the brand’s location or an independently owned paint or hardware store to pick up a can of Aura in person, but the hassle will be worth it for this long-lasting, premium paint.

  • 07 of 09

    Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Farrow & Ball

    Best Color Choice Farrow & Ball

     Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

    With 132 gorgeous color options, Farrow & Ball is a splash of luxury and style. This British manufacturer may be known for its high prices and wacky color names—like Savage Ground, Elephant’s Breath, and Arsenic, just to name a few—but they nonetheless produce great paint that can work on anything from walls and ceilings to moldings and furniture. 

    A gallon of F&B’s interior paint typically costs over a $100, so this is the ultimate splurge pick, but the company has been committed to excellence for nearly a century. They source the finest ingredients and richest pigments to create artisanal paints capable of transforming any house into your dream home. Their paints are also 100 percent water-based, low-VOC, and available in eight different finishes.

  • 08 of 09

    Best Budget: Glidden Essentials

    White Flat Interior Paint

     Courtesy of Home Depot

    Transforming your house into your dream home doesn’t have to cost top dollar. Glidden Essentials is a highly reviewed paint, praised for its great coverage and array of stunning colors, and it comes at an unbeatable price.

    You buy Essentials in three different finishes—flat/matte, eggshell, and semi-gloss—and have it tinted to perfectly match over 1,100 of Glidden’s long-lasting colors. The paint is fade-resistant, easy to clean with soap and water, and dries to touch in just thirty minutes. It’s also low-VOC, so you’ll avoid any harsh paint fumes while you work.

    This bargain does come with a few drawbacks, however. Unlike many interior paints, Essentials is not self-priming, so you’ll need to purchase a primer separately. You also might not get the same thickness and coverage as you would from higher-end paints. While some customers say the paint works with just a single coat, others say it takes multiple coats to provide a full, lustrous finish.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Best Ceiling Paint: Sherwin-Williams HGTV Home Ceiling Paint

    HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Ceiling Flat White Latex Paint

     Courtesy of Lowes

    Painting your ceiling can be a hassle. Arched neck. High-wire ladder acts. Drop cloths all over the floor. But Sherwin-Williams HGTV Home Ceiling Paint makes the task a little bit easier. 

    One of its key features is a spatter-resistant formula that leads to less paint on your floor and face and more paint where it’s supposed to go. It’s also designed with Sherwin-Williams high-hiding formula, which helps it cover stains, blemishes, and old paint on your ceiling.

    The product can be used on both smooth and textured ceilings, and it comes in a flat finish, which is typically recommended for ceiling use. If you want to read more about the ins and outs of ceiling paint before getting to work, this guide can help.

    The price is surprisingly affordable, especially coming from a top brand like Sherwin-Williams, but keep in mind that it took some customers multiple coats to feel satisfied.

What to Look for in Paint for Interior Walls

Type There are two main types of paint: oil and latex. Latex is much more common for DIY projects because it’s safer and easier to use. Latex paint is also easy to clean and won’t yellow or crack. Oil-based paint is more durable and is easier to apply evenly, but it also has a long drying time, is more complicated to clean, and has very real environmental implications. 

VOC Oil-based paints have much higher levels of VOCs than latex paint. Look for options with low VOCs (250 grams of VOCs per liter for latex; 380 grams of VOCs per liter for oil-based) or no VOCs. (You can find this information on the label or the product safety sheet.) 

Finish There are three main types of finishes, ranging from matte to shiny: flat, low luster, and gloss. Flat formulas make colors appear darker, making these finishes ideal for ceilings or walls that may have imperfections. Low-luster finishes (eggshell and satin, for example) are an easy choice for most walls. Glossy (and semi-gloss) options reflect light and make colors appear brighter. These finishes are ideal for accents, like molding and doors.