How to Choose Interior Paint - The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management

How to Choose Interior Paint


by contributing writer Lana  (like banana)

When painting a room, there is always the question: What paint should we use?  These pointers will help you.

How to Choose Interior Paint

Latex or Oil

Latex paint is water based and makes for easy clean up. Plus, you can usually paint over latex with another latex paint without a primer.

Oil has a highly toxic smell, requires new paint brushes, and it requires special chemicals to clean up, i.e. mineral spirits. Plus, if you paint over an oil paint without a primer, it could cause peeling.


In simple terms, sheen is the shine or the lack of shine when the paint dries.

Usually there are a few types of sheen to choose from depending on the brand:

  • Flat – No gloss whatsoever. Think of a powdery finish.
  • Matte – No gloss but might have a tad bit shine to it.
  • Eggshell – A medium shine, not too glossy but not too matte.
  • Satin – Not as glossy as semi-gloss but easy to clean and great for kids. Perfect for bathroom and kitchen walls.
  • Semi-Gloss – Think shiny and easy to clean.  Great for trim in bathrooms.

In our home, we have chosen to go Satin or Eggshell in each room. We find it is easier to clean with kids and animals. We have used flat paint (some salesperson told us it was the best years ago).  All it did was show oil from tiny fingers.

Primer or No Primer

We know about painting over old paint. We made a fatal mistake one time and painted over oil paint without a primer. The paint peeled and peeled. We finally had to sand everything down and start over. If we had used a primer (such as  Kilz), it would have cut down the extra work.

A primer also makes a paint stick in highly used areas such as kitchens and bathrooms where little ones like to touch the walls.

A lot of paints now include a primer inside the paint, such as Olympic One. However, it has more of a smell than a paint such a Behr.

I have actually used essential oils in the paint (Young Living Lavender), and it cut down on the smells considerably. It didn’t seem to have an effect on the quality, but you should use caution when doing this because it wasn’t proved in any scientific method.

More Painting Ideas


Get a sample of paint! Paint different areas of the room about the size of a cookie sheet.  Painting a small area will give you a better feel for the tint, such as green, pink or purple.

Also, depending on the light, the paint will look different. Our paint in the living room and dining room are the same but look totally different because of the amount of light that the window gives.


If you don’t really care what the color should be, ask for the mistint pile. This can save you hundreds of dollars, if you are not too picky. Keep in mind that you can’t return it usually, if you do not like it.


Always look for coupons right before you buy. Sometimes a store will have a sale not posted. Also, if you are buying a large amount, sometimes the manager will give you the sale price just for asking.

Ask Questions!

Normally the night workers in a big box store will not know as much as the manager who has probably attended mandatory paint classes. Ask for the manager. If they still don’t know your answer ask when the representative will be in, and ask for his/her number. They will gladly answer your questions – they want you to buy their product.

What is your favorite paint and why?

Find some great Painting Projects:

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