Best Emulsion for a Kitchen or Bathroom

Updated May 5, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 4 comments

Choosing the best emulsion for a kitchen or bathroom takes a little bit more consideration than choosing paint for other rooms.  The environment is more challenging, and the emulsion needs to stand up to condensation, varying temperatures, humidity, and contaminants such as grease. Sometimes, even mould.

There are different types of emulsion that can be used in kitchens and bathrooms. In this blog, I’m going to work my way through each of them, explain the pros and cons, then recommend the best product for each type of paint. I’ll base my recommendations on my honest opinion as a Decorator.


Using kitchen and Bathroom Paint


Don’t do it!! If an emulsion has been ladled “kitchen and Bathroom Paint”, it’s an indication that it has been manufactured for the retail market. This means is has been made to a budget and is of less quality than the trade alternatives.

This will affect the finish and durability of your paint. You’ll find these paints in most DIY outlets, but just because it has Dulux or Crown on a tin, don’t think you’re buying quality. Look for the word “trade”, that is what a professional decorator would use to help achieve that professional finish which will last!! Trade Vs retail is something which is important to understand. Stick with TRADE PAINT!


The Best Durable Matt Emulsion in a Kitchen or Bathroom


Durable matt emulsion is like vinyl matt, but with acrylic instead of vinyl, meaning the paint becomes waterproof. You still get a nice flat matt finish, but the water in the atmosphere of your kitchen or bathroom won’t be able to penetrate the paint.

I’d say durable matt is up to the task most of the time, however if you experience excessive amounts of condensation on your walls, you may want to go for something with a bit more sheen. Durable matt emulsion has a pitted surface which traps some of the water and slows run off.

Most of the time it isn’t a problem, and matt always looks better than an emulsion with more of a sheen, but can also mark if you need to wipe it constantly.

One of the best Durable Matt Emulsion paints to use in a Kitchen or Bathroom is Crown Clean Extreme.

You’ll find it very easy to use, great opacity, and leaves you with a rich finish. It isn’t as expensive as some of the other durable matts around either. If you buy this paint online, you can get it mixed into colours from other brands.

Crown Trade Clean Extreme is one of the best hardwearing paints on the market.

The Best Acrylic Eggshell Emulsion for a Kitchen or Bathroom

Acrylic Eggshell is step up in sheen level and durability. This is the go-to emulsion for a lot of decorators in their own bathrooms. It’ll stand up very well to water and being cleaned down, however the higher sheen level does highlight imperfections on your walls and ceilings, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.

Crown Clean Extreme have a great acrylic eggshell (available here), but the one I’m going to suggest is Armstead. Armstead Acrylic Eggshell is a fantastic emulsion that will stand up to even the harshest conditions in any kitchen or bathroom. It just glides on, leaves no defects, and has good opacity (except from in white, which occasionally needs an extra coat). This emulsion is also fantastic value for money!
Armstead Eggshell is a good paint finish for bathrooms

Using Mid Sheen Emulsion in a Kitchen or Bathroom

As the names suggests, there’s a little bit more of a sheen to this emulsion. It’s a step up in durability from eggshell and will stand up well to condensation or being wiped down. There are loads of good soft sheen products around (some call it mid sheen emulsion). Dulux, Crown and Johnstone’s all do their own versions.

As with any paint product, there is a downside. Having a sheen to your paint will help in terms of durability, but on smooth plaster you may notice defects like flashing and picture framing. I’d suggest this emulsion is better suited for commercial properties like communal toilets or the kitchen in a restaurant. Click here to see online prices.


Should You Use Silk Emulsion in a Kitchen or Bathroom?

Not many people will use silk emulsion in this day and age. You can’t seem to get rid of brush marks and it can cause problems when redecorating further down the line. That being said, it is very durable and can look good over embossed surfaces. That said, I’d still avoid using silk and opt for something else.


Using Mould Inhibiting Paints in a Kitchen or Bathroom


It’s worth touching on antimould paints. If your kitchen or bathrooms suffers from mould, then there are certain steps you can take to prevent it from coming back. These steps include killing the mould that’s there, making sure you have ventilation in the room, and opting for an antimould paint.

Anti mould paint contains biocide, meaning mould can’t grow on it. Crown Clean Extreme make some good antimould paints (available here), but Zinsser Perma white is regarded as the best.

This emulsion is available in white or any tinted colour, and in satin or matt. Opacity in white is a bit rubbish, so sometimes you need to apply an extra coat. That is the only negative Zinsser Perma White has though.

The overall finish of this emulsion looks fantastic, and it’s bullet proof! It will handle the conditions in a kitchen or bathroom with ease. I can personally vouch for it, having used it in problem rooms in the past and it exceeding all expectations.

Zinsser Perma-White will stop mould from coming back



What is the best paint finish for a bathroom and kitchen?

Durable matt emulsion offers ample durability to cope with the environment in most kitchens and bathrooms and is very desirable due to it’s low-sheen finish. If you suffer from severe condensation, then you might opt for acrylic eggshell. The finish may be less desirable, but it’s bulletproof. If you have mould in your kitchen or bathroom, then you should opt for an antimould paint.


Can you use kitchen emulsion in a bathroom?

“kitchen and bathroom paint” is basically waterproof emulsion designed to cope in either environment, so yes, you can use kitchen paint in a bathroom. However, you may be better opting for a trade alternative. The examples on this guide will help you choose the best emulsion for a kitchen or bathroom.


Is Farrow and Ball Modern emulsion good for kitchens?

Farrow and Ball Modern Emulsion is a durable matt, so it’s perfect for most kitchens and some bathrooms. Avoid using Estate Emulsion in rooms like this.


Is matt or silk paint better for kitchens?

You should avoid silk emulsion in every room!! Durable matt emulsion will leave you with a nice finish. Acrylic eggshell is a great emulsion if the conditions in your kitchen are particularly challenging.

This blog was written by Mike Cupit, a Professional Decorator of over 20 years and owner of Decorators Forum UK.

Updated May 5, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Walter Wite

    So many things to consider for our kitchen renovation. Well thanks for this!

  2. YIGII

    Totally agree! Since the kitchen and bathroom are always humid, paint used in the kitchen and bathroom should be mould-Inhibiting so that it can last long on the walls.

  3. vector-art-services

    I personally like your post,you have shared good article. it will help me in great deal.

  4. Konmison

    Love what you share in this page, very useful!


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