How To Avoid The Pitfalls of Choosing and Using Paint

Image Avenue Group

Image Avenue Group

Choosing the right colour for your room isn't the only thing you need to consider when choosing the right paint for your home. The finish, what it's made from, and the durability of it will also be a consideration. If you're new to DIY, this can be daunting so Space Shack have put together a small guide to the dos and don'ts of choosing and using paint.

Do you want a Matt or Silk finish to your walls?

Emulsion paints come in Matt or Silk, though sometimes Vinyl Silk Or Vinyl Satin is sometimes used to describe Silk but this has become less fashionable these days. Matt is perfect for covering walls which are rough and uneven and leaves enough sheen behind to create a solid, chalky depth to your wall colour whether it be plain old Magnolia or striking Veridian. Bear in mind though; this paint is ideal for rooms that don't get dirty or greasy but not so good for kitchens and bathrooms where you might have to wipe them clean often. Silk, on the other hand, is more reflective and durable and a more attractive option for busy areas of the home.  

So what does Eggshell mean exactly?

What's the difference between Matt and Eggshell you may ask? Well, Eggshell has a bit more gloss yet still managing to leave a soft matt finish and is very durable. You might want to use this for those busy areas of the home we mentioned like corridors, hallways and landings. 

When should I go for a Semi-Gloss?

If you want to make a room lighter and want your paint colour to reflect some of that valuable light around your space, then semi-gloss paints will help do this. Semi-Gloss works well on wood and for rooms where walls can get dirty and greasy and need to be wiped clean a lot like the kitchen.

Where do I use High-Gloss?

The hardiest of paint types and as it's oil-based, really annoying if you get it on yourself too, so make sure you have plenty of turpentine to hand. Use High-Gloss as it's an ultra shiny, resilient paint on windows, doors and door frames, and your skirting boards.

What's the difference between a Primer and an Undercoat?

Primers are usually oil or water based, and used to seal the unpainted surface before paint is applied to avoid it soaking in. Untreated wood and metal will need priming, and you can buy all-purpose primers which will work on many different types of surfaces. When it comes to an undercoat, this is also usually oil-based too and used on top of the primer to even out the grain on wood, before a gloss paint is applied or to prevent previous colours from showing through your new wall colour. There are different coloured undercoats for different coloured paint so make sure you select the correct one; a safe bet is to buy one from the same paint manufacturer.

What should I do when choosing a colour for your room?

Just remember any colour in a shop will look different as soon as you take it home as the light will be different and will make a room feel either warm or cold depending if your room faces north or south. Also, consider you will be living with this colour for a long time and what maybe a trendy colour now might feel dated in a few years. We recommend always buying tester pots and also some lining paper and painting a square metre worth of your chosen colours on the paper and leaving them to hang in various parts of your room where the light differs. Over the course of a day, you will see how your colour will respond to the varying amounts of ligh and it will also avoid you having to ruin your walls with swatches of permanent colour. Once you're happy, always buy a bit more than you need as you'll always need a spare pot for possible retouching at a later date. Trust me, you'll want to avoid the trauma of colour matching if your selected colour stops being manufactured.

Image:  Farrow & Ball

What are the best paint brands out there?

Farrow & Ball

With a palette of 132 vintage colours, Farrow & Ball have created their range from a historical archive which let you recreate that Regency period style hallway or Victorian study. Incredibly popular brand right now but it's worth noting with the high chalk content used to recreate many of these washed out tones, this paint does rub off easily when you clean your walls, and at the price and cost, you need to take care of your interiors with this paint. List of stockists a


If you want to go organic, then try Aglaia as this German brand has been making paint using only natural ingredients since 1968. They produce paint for indoor walls, timber and metal and you can mix the colours yourself or choose from the pre-mixed historical, coastal or contemporary ranges. List of stockists at

Fired Earth

I love the paints available from Fired Earth which contains 120 neutral colours, a few bold accents and some pastels. Ideal for those looking to compliment their clean, minimal home design. Available to buy at


The ultimate organic and environmentally friendly paint. Auro is petrochemical-free and made using only natural raw materials from ethically managed sources and produced using a sustainable ecological cycle. Ethical Consumer nominated them as Best Buy for their gloss paint range, so opt for these guys if you want the best in eco-friendly. Available to buy at


This American brand of paint has been around for 200 years and started in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Luckily for you, this brand is now available in B&Q and is an incredibly thick, hardwearing paint, so there's hardly any need for a second coat and weathers pretty well too. The colour matching service means they can usually recreate the colour you want for a fraction of the price. Available to buy at B&Q for more information visit


If you are a sufferer of allergies, there's one paint brand which has been officially approved by the British Allergy Foundation, and that's Ecos. Available in 108 colours and they also do a fabulous colour-matching service too. Available to buy at

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Love Omar x