THE BEST-RATED EMULSION & MATT PAINT PRODUCTS
A new colour on your interior walls can revive and freshen-up your home. But choosing the right paint is often confusing. Dozens of hues and several finishes make it hard to decide which product to use. With an array of choices, matt paints and emulsions can offer an ideal solution.
Drying to a contemporary, velvety finish, these products disguise minor wall imperfections and are ideal to use in almost all rooms. Some paints are even washable, while others boast biocide formulas that prevent the formation of mould.
To help you choose the best paint, our expert team has tested and rated the most popular emulsions and matt paint products in the UK. Check out our top picks below.
OUR BEST PICK EMULSION PAINTS
Best Of The Rest
A dense matt finish which disguises minor surface imperfections and offers a stylish, contemporary look.
A collection of trendy shades for interior walls and ceilings – limited edition.
Solvent-free matt emulsion for interior walls and ceilings. Ideal to use in high condensation areas.
POPULAR EMULSION COLOUR PALETTES
Due to various formulations, matt paint products can be used in all environments of a home. The choice of colour, therefore, depends on the room you want to paint.
In a living room, for instance, warm tonalities add personality while creating a welcoming space. Neutral choices include a wide range of earthy tones and off-whites. Ivory and cream enhance the perception of space in a small living room. Dramatic shades show off the bold personality of the homeowner. Focal points and feature walls are also easy to integrate into such a space. Grey is a contemporary choice that looks amazing in most homes.
In the kitchen, the best matt paint colours are those that inspire brightness and cleanliness. Bright white and yellow have different visual effects but both hues are great choices.
White is also an ideal choice for the bathroom, but not the only one. Shades of blue and turquoise, perhaps mixed and matched with neutral tones, can make your bathroom unique.
The same colours are also inspiring in a bedroom. Blue is a relaxing hue and neutral shades can tone down the boldness of intense blue or navy. In the kid’s room, the best choice of colour ranges usually include blues, greens and oranges, depending on your preference and personality of the little one.
Contemporary dramatic choices include chartreuse and ultraviolet. These shades work wonders together and they are easy to tone down with silver, grey, or cream. Among the latest trends, chalkboard black has become increasingly popular and is easy to use with success in all rooms.
In the world of paint, Dulux is synonymous with unparalleled quality. Their range of interior paint comprises multiple products – but our favourite is Dulux Matt, a smooth and creamy emulsion paint ideal for use on walls and ceilings. Touch dry in only two hours, the product allows for a second coat after four hours, depending on temperature and humidity.
Although non-washable, this product is durable and resistant. Its Chromalock technology ensures the brightness of your colour for a long time and the modern flat finish blends well in most environments. Speaking of colours, the paint comes in 80 contemporary shades which include a selection of neutral tones and dramatic hues.
Ideal for the whole room or for a feature wall, Dulux Matt is easy to apply with a paintbrush or roller. A litre of paint covers up to 13m²/litre depending on wall porosity and the product doubles as a sealer on bare or absorbent surfaces if thinned with 10% water.
Even though we’ve tested matt paints, we noticed the manufacturer also offers the emulsion in a silk finish, which is perhaps more appropriate for high-traffic and high condensation areas.
Although exceptional, this product comes with a few drawbacks. One thing we observed is the poorer coverage on darker colours. While they all look amazing, some hues also dry to a different shade than expected. These small negatives aside, this product truly impressed us with its reliability, longevity and durability.
When budget limits your choices, Crown Emulsion Paint offers convenient quality. This highly versatile matt paint is ideal for walls and ceilings, drying to a contemporary non-reflective finish. Available in 80 colours and ‘Pure Brilliant’ white, this product is ideal to use in all environments of your home.
Simple yet bright colours will seamlessly revitalise your home – covering up to 14m²/litre, this product ensures great value for your money and is easy to apply. A fast drying time minimises work. In ideal conditions, the paint touch dries in 2 hours and can be recoated in 4 hours.
What we liked best about this paint is the non-yellowing finish that maintains its beauty over time. Although non-washable, the product can still be wiped clean with a dry cloth if needed.
One trait we found slightly disappointing is the coverage power over darker shades. While we expected a poorer performance, the product may require four or more coats depending on how substantial the colour change is.
On a more positive note, the paint is compatible with most interior surfaces and has a good adherence to plaster, cardboard, and most masonry materials.
Johnstone’s Matt Emulsion is another excellent product to consider. It comes in a more restricted colour range (there are still 38 options to choose from) while the hardwearing and washable formula makes the product ideal to use in high-traffic areas.
Suitable for interior walls and ceilings, this paint has a creamy consistency and is easy to apply with a paintbrush or roller. Safe to use in poorly ventilated spaces, this product is ideal to use in the bedroom or kid’s room thanks to a low odour and low content of volatile organic compounds.
The quick-drying formula is another positive trait. This product touch dries in about two hours and can be recoated after four hours. A smooth, velvety finish hides minor surface imperfection and the coverage is excellent.
In fact, a litre of paint covers up to 13m², depending on surface porosity. Like most paints, the coverage power drops when the paint is applied over a darker colour or on a bare wall. Adherence is improved on primed surfaces.
Feature walls and focal points can massively enhance the interior design of your home. That’s why Johnstone’s has created a limited-edition collection, specifically for this purpose. Coming in six contemporary colours and supplied in 2.5-litre tins, this paint is ideal to use on feature walls or focal points, or even on ceilings.
Easy to work with, Colour Vibe has a creamy consistency and a good coverage power. A litre of paint covers up to 12m² and two coats are typically enough to achieve satisfactory results.
We also like the water-based formula that has a low content of volatile organic compounds and a low odour. Ideal to use in all environments, Colour Vibe is a great choice for the bedroom or children’s room. However, the formula is non-washable and we wouldn’t recommend using this paint in the bathroom or kitchen.
On a positive note, the matt finish hides small surface imperfection and the product has a good adherence on non-primed surfaces. However, to improve adherence and coverage, new or bare surfaces should be primed prior to application.
Like many coloured paints, the product dries to a shade different than pictured. If you need more than one tin for your project, we also recommend mixing the paint in a larger container before painting your walls.
Breatheasy by Crown is another matt emulsion paint that impressed us with its features. A solvent-free formulation makes this product ideal to use in enclosed spaces while the absence of any odour allows the use of this product in bedrooms and children’s bedrooms.
Great breathability makes the paint perfect for high condensation areas including bathrooms and kitchens. A creamy non-drip formula also allows a mess-free application on ceilings.
When it comes to choice, the product comes in 80 colours which include neutral and dramatic shades. All hues dry to a non-reflective matt finish that adds a contemporary look to your home environment while disguising minor wall imperfections.
Coverage is also exceptional. The product covers up to 14m²/litre and it can be recoated in 4 hours.
HOW TO USE MATT PAINT
• Matt paint
• Painter’s tape
• Drop cloths
• Roller tray
• Putty knife
Matt paint is an ideal choice for most interior surfaces. Drying to a smooth non-reflexive look, matt emulsions disguise minor wall imperfections and give a contemporary touch to the interior. Most matt paints are ideal to use on walls and ceilings.
Step 1 – Prepare the surface
Matt paint is very easy to use but surface preparation is essential for successful application. Depending on whether you’re painting a wall or a ceiling, remove all hanging accessories and furniture.
Cover in painter’s tape all surfaces not to be painted, including any window and door trims. Cover the floor with fabric drop cloth and all furniture with a plastic drop cloth.
With a putty knife and sandpaper, remove old flaking or peeling paint and fill all gaps and cracks with caulk. Use sandpaper to get a smooth, levelled surface and clean all walls with a damp cloth to remove stains, grease residues, and dust.
Step 2 – Prime the surface
Depending on the product and surface to be painted, priming may or may not be necessary. Some self-priming paints can be applied to un-primed new or bare walls; most emulsions and matt paints adhere well to previously painted surfaces as long as the surface is in good condition.
We recommend priming the surface if the previous paint is in poor condition or if the surface is new or bare.
The primer seals the surface, improves the adherence of the paint and increases coverage.
To prime the surface, apply the product following the manufacturer’s instructions and let it dry and cure for at least 24 hours before applying the paint.
Step 3 – Choose the best brush for matt paint
While a roller is usually used for large projects that involve the painting of a whole wall, paintbrushes are still important tools for the job. Angled brushes are ideal for cutting in and trimming, while flat brushes are necessary for the finishing touches.
The best brush for matt and emulsion paint should have hairy, soft bristles that soak in the paint and ensure an even application. Soft bristles are also easy to clean with soapy water when work is done.
There are dozens of paintbrushes to choose from, but our absolute favourite brush for matt and emulsion paint is the L.G Harris Taskmaster Emulsion Brush which has a large surface and ergonomic handle.
Step 4 – Paint the surface
The best way to paint a wall or a ceiling is by painting the edges first. Use an angled paintbrush for the corners and a flat brush to paint straight edges. If the surface is small, carry on with the paintbrush to cover the whole surface, making sure to apply an even coat of paint. On large surfaces, a roller provides better results in a shorter time.
Once you’ve applied the first coat, let it dry as instructed then proceed to apply the second coat if necessary.
Remove painter’s tape while the paint is still fresh to avoid cracking or peeling, then let the surface dry and cure for at least 24 hours before touching.