The best emulsion paint for home makeovers

Make decorating a dream with the best emulsion paints for even and easy coverage.

Best emulsion paint

by Eleanor Weaver |

Whether you’re itching to redecorate, want to jump on the exciting new interior trends each year, or are looking to give your home a new lease of life that you’ll fall in love with all over again, a lick of paint can work wonders. And emulsion paint is the best paint for the job.

Commonly used to decorate walls and ceilings in the home, you can use emulsion paint to do everything from creating a feature wall to giving a tired wall a much-needed refresh. You can even use it to completely rejuvenate your space with a new colour scheme that’ll stand the test of time and inevitable wear and tear from family life.

We’ve found the best emulsion paint on the market so you can give your home the transformation you want in a lickety-split with some invaluable advice to get the job done.

What is emulsion paint good for?

Emulsion paint is a water-based paint with pigmentation for colour and vinyl or acrylic added to make it more durable and easier to apply, making it the best and most popular choice for decorating your floors and ceilings. It comes in a range of finishes from matte to a soft sheen, silk to gloss, with a shinier finish resulting in a more durable and robust paint.

Not only that, but emulsion has some other key distinctions that set it apart from oil-based paint:

• Emulsion won’t fade, dry, or crack even when exposed to sunlight

• It’s humidity resistant, so a good pick for bathrooms and kitchens

• It’s much less odorous on application compared to oil-based paints

• As water is the main solvent, it’s safer to apply in enclosed spaces and presents less risk to humans and pets

• Depending on the level of sheen, surfaces painted in emulsion are washable and exposure to water won’t affect the paint’s finish or quality.

Which is the best emulsion paint to use?

Johnstone's Natural Sage Wall and Ceiling Paint Matt, 2.5L

Best emulsion paint for quick dry-time
Johnstone's Natural Sage Wall and Ceiling Paint Matt, 2.5L
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Johnstone's Matt Emulsion is a high-quality wall and ceiling paint that'll provide a smooth, rich, and non-reflective surface that's still hardwearing and wipeable. The finish helps to disguise any minor surface imperfections and has a speedy drying time in just one to two hours.

Coverage per litre: 12m²

Drying time: One to two hours

Available colours: 24 colours to choose from on Amazon

Review: "Used this paint in a kitchen and it really was a lovely paint to work with. Gave great coverage even after only 1 coat, but we did do a 2nd to complete the project. Looks great and will definitely look to use again on another room."

Dulux Polished Pebble Matt Emulsion Paint For Walls And Ceilings, 2.5L

Best emulsion paint for neutral mattes
Dulux Polished Pebble Matt Emulsion Paint For Walls And Ceilings, 2.5L
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Dulux has an impressive range of matte emulsion paints in a range of beautiful neutrals perfect for redecorating a whole room, creating a subtle feature wall, or touching up ceilings. It has a unique creamy texture and is easy to apply for a smooth, uniform finish.

Coverage per litre: 13m²

Drying time: Two to four hours

Available colours: 24 colours to choose from on Amazon

Review: "Big fan of the Dulux paints. Polished pebble is a nice flat light grey. Paired it with 'monument grey' for the back wall and it looks great."

GoodHome Walls & Ceilings Vence Silk Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

Best value
GoodHome Walls & Ceilings Vence Silk Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

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B&Q's new GoodHome paint range is the perfect way to breathe new life into your home on a budget. With hundreds of different colours to choose from, we particularly love their silk emulsion paint that gives a beautiful silky finish that is easy to maintain and wipe clean. It'll naturally reflect light and depending on your colour, has good hiding power for wear and tear.

Coverage: 30m²

Drying time: Two to four hours for a recoat, eight to 12 hours overall

Available colours: 78 silk emulsion paints to choose from

Review: "Used this in my living room and its unreal. Only required 1 coat, and it’s such a lush deep colour. This whole range of paints are good. Used a different colour in the bathroom and I was equally as impressed.”

Johnstone's Citrus Chic Colour Vibe Matt Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

Best emulsion paint for bold feature walls
Johnstone's Citrus Chic Colour Vibe Matt Emulsion Paint, 2.5L
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This limited edition paint collection from Johnstone's based on the latest interior design trends is a sure-fire way to make a stunning statement in your home. Low odour and quick-drying, it's easy to use and clean and great for disguising uneven surfaces.

Coverage per litre: 12m²

Drying time: One to two hours

Available colours: 10 colours to choose from on Amazon in matte and sheen

Review: "One coat definitely covers, including a grey wall. Dries lovely and a very vibrant colour which cheers up the bathroom.”

Dulux Easycare Bathroom Marine Splash Soft Sheen Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

Best emulsion paint for bathrooms
Dulux Easycare Bathroom Marine Splash Soft Sheen Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

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Whilst most emulsion paints are suitable for bathrooms, this paint from Dulux has been specifically designed for the job with a Mould Resistant Technology formula to protect your paint from mould for up to five years - ideal for that steam and bathroom humidity. Suitable for ceilings and walls, this paint is wipe-clean and comes in a range of well-suited bathroom colours.

Coverage per litre: 13m²

Drying time: Six hours for recoat, 24 hours to dry

Available colours: 27 colours available from B&Q

Review: "Dulux never lets me down. Bought this paint for the bathroom, really good coverage only needed one coat, definitely recommend!”

Dulux Trade Pure Brilliant White High Gloss Emulsion Paint, 1L

Best high gloss emulsion paint
Dulux Trade Pure Brilliant White High Gloss Emulsion Paint, 1L

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Most emulsion paints come available in matte, sheen, or silk, but if you want a truly brilliant, glossy finish, this Dulux Trade paint will do just the trick. With excellent paint flow and a tough, durable finish, this white paint will add a dazzling touch to any room.

Coverage per litre: 18m²

Drying time: 16 to 24 hours

Available colours: Only Brilliant White

Review: "Best gloss paint I have ever used, goes on easily, no streaks, great coverage, very economical, not much odour.”

Dulux Blush Pink Silk Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

Best silk emulsion paint
Dulux Blush Pink Silk Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

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For a delicate sheen finish, the Dulux Silk Emulsion Paint range is a must. The smooth and creamy paint goes on like a dream and includes Chromalock technology, creating an invisible protective barrier around the colour on your walls to protect it from wear and tear.

Coverage per litre: 16m²

Drying time: Two to four hours

Available colours: 48 colours available from Wilko

Review: "The colour is lovely and cosy and the finish is perfect! Perfect colour for my bedroom, really recommend it, everyone who’s seen it loves it! only needs 2 coats as well! and the paint went a long way!”

Dulux Easycare Kitchen Overtly Olive Matt Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

Best emulsion paint for kitchens
Dulux Easycare Kitchen Overtly Olive Matt Emulsion Paint, 2.5L

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Like the bathroom paint, Dulux has made its own kitchen-focused emulsion for easy care and durability. Exceptionally tough, this matte paint contains a Grease Resistant Technology to resist everyday cooking stains and it's washable without the risk of the colour fading. Even the busiest of kitchens can look their best for years to come.

Coverage: 30m²

Drying time: Five hours

Available colours: 17 colours available from Wilko

Review: "Paint is quite thick and dries super quick but does give a great finished result after. Love the colour and the kitchen paint is super resistant to scrubbing etc. Wilko also had most competitive price so would buy here again!”

Dulux Trade Supermatt Emulsion Paint, 10L

Highly recommended
Dulux Trade Supermatt Emulsion Paint

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With over 300 reviews rating an average for 4.8/5 stars, we had to include the Dulux Trade Supermatt Emulsion Paint on our list. This top-quality paint with high opacity is fab for excellent coverage, ideal for new plaster and with 10 litres in a pot, it's excellent value for money too.

Coverage per litre: 18m²

Drying time: Two to four hours

Available colours: Also available in Magnolia from Wickes

Review: "Great paint for ceilings and white walls. The Matt effect hides any small inconsistencies in painting texture or direction when rolling nicely in daylight. Good consistency, very few drips during painting.”

Should you stir emulsion paint?

Oil-based paint always separates in the tin, and whilst this isn’t so much the case with water-based emulsion paint, it is still recommended to stir it thoroughly for a few minutes to ensure it’s mixed together well.

What is the best way to apply emulsion paint?

Another perk of painting with emulsion is that you can apply with a whole range of techniques from brushes to rollers, spraying to dipping.

However, if you’re looking to do a home makeover, the best way to apply emulsion paint is using a paint roller and a brush for the edges and to touch up the more intricate areas.

This fantastic video guide from the Dulux Trade team will show you exactly how to get the best and most even coverage for a smooth finish.

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