Lowe's Home Improvement
FREE PARCEL SHIPPING on Qualifying Orders

Interior Paint Buying Guide

A new coat of paint can do wonders, whether you want big changes or small. Use these tips to help you choose the right interior paint for any room.

Room scene.

Getting Started

Yellow living room.
  • Size up your room. Consider its shape and size. A lighter color can make a small room feel more spacious, while a darker color can help an immense room seem cozier.
  • Take architectural details into account. Think moulding, 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.
  • Factor in function. Will the main purpose of the room be eating, sleeping, working, entertaining, or something else entirely? A warm hue in the living room or family room creates a more comfortable and inviting atmosphere for guests than a cooler color.

Choosing a Color Palette

Color swatches.
  • Have color 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. Paint color should reflect your mood and personality. What are your favorite colors? If you're having trouble selecting a color, try looking in your closet. The colors you enjoy wearing are the ones that make you feel good. You're the one who has to live with the color so live with the shades you love.
  • Work with what's already there. If you've already chosen an interior décor or if you're working with a room that's already furnished, focus on a favorite fabric color, piece of art or furniture, or other object.
Good to Know

Have something really unique but can't match the color? No problem. Lowe's offers free computerized paint matching and custom color mixing.

Selecting a Finish

Purple bathroom.

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? What do you want to accentuate? The right finish makes a world of difference in the end result.

  • Flat. Flat paint is best suited for ceilings, areas where surface imperfections might be visible, and anywhere else that a muted low-reflecting surface is desired. Because it takes more effort to clean, a flat finish is ideal for the low-traffic areas of your home.
  • Low-luster, satin, or eggshell. Use low-luster, satin, or eggshell paint on areas where you want a sheen. Easier to clean than flat paint, they’re great for high-traffic areas such as hallways, bathrooms, bedrooms, and playrooms.
  • Semigloss or gloss. Go for semigloss for kitchens and bathrooms; choose gloss for banisters, railings, shelves, doorjambs, and windowsills. Also, keep in mind that the higher the gloss, the more it emphasizes any surface imperfections.

Making Your Purchase

Close-up of wall.
  • 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're much easier to clean up, and they wear better over time.
  • Don't cut corners on paint quality. High-quality paint performs better for a longer period of time. It's less prone to yellow as it ages, goes on smoother, and won't leave brush marks. It's also easier to clean and is dirt resistant.
  • Purchase sample sizes. Paint a piece of scrap material such as cardboard, or even a portion of your wall, to see the effects of various light conditions.
Good to Know

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are harmful chemicals that are released as paint dries. Be sure to read the label to ensure you're getting a low-VOC or no-VOC paint.