Best Paints. What paint should I buy?

What makes good paint good and bad paint bad?

That isn’t the title of a Country Song, but a decent question. I look for these qualities:

(scroll down now if you can’t be bothered to read the general reasoning)

  1. Good Coverage. You don’t want to be painting four coats on any given surface. One coat is only achievable if you’re painting a white ceiling white again, for example. All other surfaces should be okay with two coats. Cheaper/worse paints tend to be thinned down and so you’ll spend more time than necessary. Or worse, you’ll pay a decorator to spend more time than necessary. £££.
  2. Not Patchy When Dry. Some paints cover extremely well but are a bit too thick/chalky and dry leaving patchy roller/brush marks – especially if you look at the surface with the light shining onto it. This bothers me. I can’t really remember which paints do this either. Helpful, eh?
  3. Not Be Too Expensive. Honestly, it might be because I’m excessively thrifty, but I hate the idea of spending £100 on a tin of paint. Same goes for wallpaper to a large extent. As a side note, the most expensive wallpapers are often not the best quality. I’m going to have to write a page on papers, aren’t I?

General Advice: 

  • If you purchase cheap paint off the shelf in say B&Q for £10-£15 for ten litres, it’s going to be rubbish.
  • If you go for high end stuff like Farrow & Ball or The Little Green Paint Company, don’t expect it to be that amazing. It’s pretty good, but personally I don’t think either  paints are worth those prices (excessive thrift issue, perhaps?). You’re paying for bragging rights as much as anything. I mean, if you really want to put one over your neighbour, go for it. My friends Nik and Ross have this ongoing battle of one-upmanship and it’s hilarious. They consequently can never afford to go out for a beer.



  1. Colours Premium Whwhite emulsionite Emulsion:

UPDATE:  This WAS my favourite. That is, until they stopped selling it completely. WHY, you fools?

It was £25 for 10 litres which is a good price for an excellent paint.  You could only buy it from B&Q.

They replaced this paint with one that looks similar, with a similar price that just IS NOT AS GOOD. Urgh. So….

2. Valspar v700valspar v700

If I was choosing a coloured emulsion for my house, I would choose this. You can only buy it from B&Q

Something like £38 for 5 litres.

My second choice would be to go to Johnstones or Dulux and have them mix paint for me instead (see below). There’s just something about this v700 little beauty. I think because it’s harder wearing – very wipeable. Yep.

3. Johnstones Vinyl Emulsionwhite ep

You have to go to the Johnstones store for this. It’s good.

Approximately £30 for 10 litres.

4. Dulux Vinyl Emulsiondulux

You have to go to the Dulux store for this one, but otherwise, same as above.

The key thing to note is the “vinyl”. Vinyl means good. If you see “trade” written on the side, you would expect it to be high quality, reserved for tradesmen only. Not always. On some brands, “trade” means “tripe”.  It’s a topsy turvy world out there.



This is water based, easy to apply, quick drying, hard wearing, excellent coverage, good value undercoat. My favourite.

Approx £25 for 5 litres.


Pretty much same as above. Leyland and Johnstones are part of the same paint family. I normally buy this one because a small DIY shop near my house sells it. Pure convenience.

£18 for 2.5 litres.


Johnstones/Dulux Once

I use both of these below. Again, I buy them from the DIY store near me. (Sheppards on Broad lane – great place). Both good paints. Can’t go wrong with either. Each brand does a gloss/satin of each, but for some reason I stick with these out of habit.

By the way. Ignore the “ONCE” in Dulux once. Always use undercoat (unless you just love cutting corners and prefer a less professional job)


Dulux Satinwood/Gloss
dulux satinwood

I really don’t get along with water based gloss/satin finishes. They haven’t perfected the technology yet. They never cover well enough and they always dry too fast, making it extremely difficult to get an even finish without drag marks. I always add a drop of water to help ease the dragging, but that makes them even worse at covering.

Anyway, if you have to use a water based finish for your woodwork – this is ok.


As well as watching paint dry, I also invented a party game with my brother. We were on telly and everything. Have a look here, it’s called GAME OFF

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