The best white emulsion paint for walls and ceilings

by Ryan Houghton |

Scuffs, scrapes and chips are bound to mount up in a lively household over time, it’s a given. If it’s about time to freshen up your home, then here are our top picks for some of the best white emulsion paint that will resist the wear and tear of daily life.

What is emulsion paint?

Emulsion paint is water-based paint that is perfect for the interior of your home due to its quick-drying and low odour. It’s also incredibly easy to apply compared to enamel paint.

While it's quite a versatile paint, it's best to use it primarily for walls and ceilings. Ceiling and wall paint is different, but you can absolutely use wall paint on the ceiling. However, it's good to know that wall paint can be thin and has a lower viscosity, which means it could drip, so make sure you remove as much furniture as possible from the room or move to the centre of the room and cover with dust sheets including the floor.

How do I apply white emulsion paint?

Simply apply emulsion paint as you would apply most paint, with a good quality brush, so you don't get any loose bristles stuck in your handy work or a roller. There are two most common sized paint rollers, which are the nine-inch paint roller and the four-inch paint roller. The nine-inch paint roller is the most popular size people go for and is typically used for painting walls and ceilings.

Try rolling your paint onto the wall in a ‘W’ then, without lifting your paint roller off of the wall, go back in and fill the gaps. This should give you an even finish. Keep in mind that a nine-inch medium pile paint roller, or foam roller, is best for applying water-based emulsions, like matt and silk paints, to internal walls and ceiling, as it will give you a smooth finish.

The best white emulsion paint


Available in 28 Colours

Available Size(s): 2.5 L/ 5 L

Coverage: 13m2/L

Finish: Matt

Drying Time: 2-4 hours

Dulux retains its supremacy as the leading paint manufacturer and its Walls and Ceilings white emulsion paint is a testament to this fact. Luxuriously thick with a creamy texture, it’s never been easier to get a perfect, professional finish with such ease.

White Mist is our favourite pick out of the available colours, not only because of its gorgeous shade but also because of its terrific value. To apply, simply use a brush and roller and spread evenly, this paint is thick and so should spread beautifully. Dulux’s Wall and Ceiling emulsion paint should be touch-dry within 2 hours, but it's recommended to allow the paint to dry for at least four hours.

Review: “I painted the walls with it and it looked so good I had to sit down and have a little cry in awe of its loveliness.”


Available in 41 Colours

Available Size(s): 2.5 L/ 5 L

Coverage: 12 m2/L

Finish: Matt

Drying Time: 1-2 hours

One of the best-selling white emulsion paints available in the UK, Johnstone’s Wall and Ceiling emulsion paint is an absolute bargain. At an incredible price, with fantastic coverage and speedy drying, Johnstone’s is giving Dulux a serious run for their money with such amazing value.

This paint is incredibly thick and smooth, making it a breeze to apply to walls and ceilings. Simply clean the area you wish to paint, sand down any rough areas from previous DIY escapades, and use a brush or roller to evenly apply.

Johnstone’s suggests waiting at least two hours before re-application of the paint, but of course, this is entirely your preference.

Review: “I bought this brand after using the alleged better ones for decades, excellent paint, solid finish, apply slowly on a roller which stops the usual micro splatters. I have done two coats, the second used far less than the first, and did not seep under the masking tape overall, very happy to find a decent brand. Recommended, and yes I did buy two cans.”


Available in one colour

Available Size(s): 7.5 L

Coverage: 12 m2

Finish: Matt

Drying Time: 2 hours

Crown’s Pure Brilliant White emulsion paint is yet another example of a great paint at an astonishing value. With phenomenal coverage at the cost and a pristine finish that rivals the most premium of emulsion paints, if you’re on a budget and looking to rejuvenate your home, you should definitely consider Crown.

Just as with our other picks, use a brush or roller to apply in a liberal, even coat, give it at least two hours before coating again.

Review: “Brightest white we can find, good thick consistency and only needed a couple of coats”


Available in 40 Colours

Available Size(s): 1 L/ 2.5 L

Coverage: 13 m2/L

Finish: Soft Sheen

Drying Time: 6 hours

Unsurprisingly, Dulux finds themselves on our list once more with their excellent Easycare Bathroom Emulsion paint. Despite being specifically designed for use in the bathroom, this is a great emulsion paint for all around the house due to its brilliant durability.

Apply with a brush and roller with total ease, this paint is perfect for the amateur painter/decorator and provides lasting protection against pesky mould with five years of mould protection guaranteed by Dulux. Terrific coverage, tremendous colour, and a lovely finish, what’s not to love?

Review: “Best paint ever. I will use nothing else. I cannot believe the negative reviews I have read. This paint goes on thin and easy in no time at all - no drips no runs. Super fast drying time ensures a second coat can be applied very soon. I usually leave it a day or two, but I managed two coats within hours. Beautiful finish on doors and skirtings. Exactly what I wanted.”


Available in one colour

Available Size(s): 5 L

Coverage: 8 m2/L

Finish: Matt

Drying Time: 1-2 hours

Easily our most expensive emulsion paint, Polar is a lesser known, yet absolutely premium brand of paint manufacturer that, if you’re willing to spend a little more, is completely worth looking into.

While, yes, Polar’s paint is pricey, it gets less coverage than other leading brands and takes longer to truly dry, yet once applied, Polar’s second-to-none quality can truly be appreciated.

Most notable is how durable this emulsion paint truly is. Practically invulnerable to scuffs, this is a great paint for the bathroom or kitchen, where durability is an absolute necessity. Best of all, you can achieve an astounding finish with a single coat of paint.

Review: “After years of buying non branded matt paints, I decided to finally buy one with a brand name when I found Polar. It was easy on and could see the quality instantly. Quickly covered all the kids’ handprints and felt pen marks, crayons etc, etc. When dried left a lovely pure white finish and brightened up my lounge and second room, only one coat applied.”

What paint is best for exterior walls?

If you’re looking to do some serious, full-scale DIY on your exterior walls, emulsion paint isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you’ll need some much tougher masonry paint.

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