Best Trade Paint to use in Your Home

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Dec 2, 2020 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 3 comments

It’s no secret that Professional Decorators generally stick to trade paint. But what is it, and what is the best trade paint to use in your home? As a Professional Decorator myself (and somewhat of a product geek), I thought I’d take you through what I recommend.

I know there are differing opinions when it comes to certain products, but I tend to cherry pick the best paint from different brands. Use any of the paints on this list and you won’t go far wrong.

Anyone can buy these paint products from a trade counter, but unless you’re entitled to a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy them online. I’ll link to a supplier I trust for each one.


What is Trade Paint?


I thought I’d start by briefly explaining what trade paint is. The paint market is split into three main sections: retail paint, designer paint, and trade.

Manufacturers develop paint products backwards. They work out how much it should cost, and then make the best product they can for that price.

Retail paint is the cheapest and is made from low-quality materials. It often lacks pigment, meaning you need to apply more coats to achieve a solid finish. It usually contains less polymer binder too, meaning it will scuff easily. Retail masonry paint starts fading after a short period (I could go on, but you get the idea).

Designer paint is on the other end of the scale. It’s expensive, and usually performs well (with the odd exception). But manufacturers of designer paints put a lot of money into advertising. Designer brands like Little Greene or COAT is good, but you will pay a premium.

Trade paint is a sort of compromise. It is made to perform well, but it’s still competitively priced (although it’s a lot more expensive than retail). You can expect a surface painted with trade paint to look good and stay looking good for a longer period.

This is why Decorators choose trade paint! There’s no point is skimping on paint if it means an inferior finish, and there’s no point in paying a premium for designer paint when trade is better value.


Best Trade Ceiling Paint


White emulsion isn’t just white emulsion when it comes to ceiling paint. If you choose a low-quality white emulsion, you will encounter problems such as picture framing, flashing and poor opacity. We’re quite lucky now, in that we have specialist ceiling paints which have been developed to perform as well as they possibly can on a ceiling.

Peoples’ taste has also changed in recent years. “Brilliant White” is no longer the contemporary look. People are going for a more luxurious “soft white” paint instead. Oh, and more people are now choosing coloured emulsion for ceilings, so the market needs to account for this too.

As I see it, there are two main contenders for the best trade paint for a ceiling; they are Tikkurila Anti-Reflex and Teknos Teknoceiling.

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is by far the most popular trade paint for ceilings amongst Decorators. It offers a rich soft option, showing very few imperfections. It is easy to use, and you will never find a better finish on any ceiling.

The only downside is it has poor opacity, so expect your ceiling to need an extra coat of paint. If use a good quality long-pile roller to apply this trade paint, you’ll find it a lot easier to use.

Tikkurila anti reflex is one of the best white ceiling paints on the market.

Teknos Teknoceiling

Teknos Teknoceiling is like Tikkurila Anti Reflex in terms of finish, although it probably isn’t quite as rich. The idea is the same; a very low-reflective paint to create a soft luxurious feel.

The finish of Teknoceiling may not be as good as that of Anti-Reflex, but it’s still better than most other trade paints, and the opacity is fantastic, meaning less coats needed to achieve a solid finish.

Teknos Teknoceiling is a low-sheen emulsion for ceilings.

The Best Trade Vinyl Matt Emulsion


Vinyl matt is the most common choice of trade paint for use on interior walls. I’m going to give you a couple of options for this section; one reasonably priced, but still great quality. The other is a premium product, designed to perform as well as it possibly can do.


Armstead Trade Vinyl Matt

Armstead embodies what it means to be a “trade paint brand”. It’s a good hard-working range that Decorators love! No fancy bells and whistles, just a reasonable price and a great finish every time.

Armstead Trade Vinyl Matt is fantastic. Opacity in light colours can be lacking, but in white, mid and deep bases it’s perfect. It’s easy to use, and you will achieve a good finish with little effort.

armstead trade vinyl matt paint review

Johnstone’s Trade Perfect Matt

Johnstone’s perfect matt is the premium vinyl matt. It was developed by Johnstone’s to compete with the designer brands. It has a very chalky feel, and the colours show a lovely depth.

It is expensive, but if budget allows, I wholeheartedly recommend this paint. It’s easily one of the best trade paints for your home. It flows well, shows no defects, can be touched up, and is even durable.

the best white emulsion paint

Best Trade Durable Matt Emulsion


Trade durable matt emulsion is a little more expensive than trade vinyl matt, but as the name suggests, it’s durable. Some Decorators I know use durable matt on every job, others just use it when painting a bathroom or kitchen.

You need to be careful with durable matt. Even if you go for a trade product, there are a lot out there that show defects when used in light critical rooms.

Crown Trade Clean Extreme Scrubbable Matt

Clean Extreme is a quality trade durable matt emulsion. The blend of polymers that Crown uses in this paint is perfect. The material flows so well from a brush and roller, and then ‘settles’, meaning you don’t see any defects.

The sheen is a little high for a ‘matt’, but the durability is awesome, as is the opacity. This trade paint really is quality. Crown also make antibacterial and anti-mould versions of this paint, meaning you can use it in particularly difficult rooms without issue.

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

Dulux Trade Diamond Matt

Dulux Diamond Matt is less durable than Clean Extreme, but it has a much lower sheen finish. It looks chalky, luxurious, and modern. Brush and roller marks blend nicely with each other.

This feels like a designer paint rather than a trade paint. Opacity in white isn’t great, so be prepared to apply an extra coat as needed. However, you won’t have an issue in colours.

This is the trade durable matt that I use in my own house.

Dulux Diamond Matt, which is one of the best durable emulsion paint

The Best Trade Satinwood


Satinwood is by far the most popular finish on woodwork. I’m going to give you two product recommendations in this section, one is for the best trade oil-based satinwood. The other is a trade water-based option. Just go with whatever you’re more comfortable using.


Dulux Trade Satinwood

This was a toss up between Crown and Dulux, as they both make great oil-based satinwood paints. Dulux Satinwood is self-undercoating, easy to use, has good opacity and leaves a nice finish.

What’s more, unlike some other trade satinwood paints, it doesn’t seem to turn yellow. Not noticeably any way. I painted a communal hallway with it about 5 years ago and it still looks mint now.

is satinwood better than gloss?

Johnstone’s Trade Aqua Guard

Johnstone’s Aqua Guard is by far the most popular water-based satinwood amongst Professional Decorators. It was the first water-based paint I tried that performs better than its oil-based counterpart. (A few have been developed since, including WRX Satinwood).

You will need to apply a water-based undercoat first (either Johnstone’s Aqua, or Bedec All Prime).

The Aqua Guard Satin is great to use. It flows well, and the brush marks settle down without the need to add paint conditioners. It does run a little bit, so keep an eye out for that.

The finish is perfect and it’s extremely durable. This easily deserves a spot when talking about the best trade paints to use in your home.

Johnstone's Aqua Guard Satinwood

The Best Trade Gloss


Gloss in the inside of a home is a little bit out of fashion now. I think this is partly because of the VOC restrictions brought into place in 2010. Before then, gloss was the most used paint for interior woodwork, but after that, we noticed problems with yellowing. At the time, water-based gloss wasn’t up to scratch. So, people switched over to satinwood.

The yellowing of oil-based gloss is still an issue now, but not as much as it was. Water-based gloss paints have got better too. Manufacturers developed alkyd emulsions (also known as hybrids), when are predominantly water-based, but will a little bit of alkyd oil to help with sheen and durability.

As with satinwood, I’m going to recommend one oil-based and one water-based product. Just choose whichever you feel most comfortable using.

Crown Next Generation Gloss

This is the only oil-based gloss paint I would consider using inside now. They don’t make a ‘Brilliant White’, but even the standard white stands loud and proud like a gloss should.

Crown Next Generation Gloss doesn’t ‘creep’ like a lot of the alternatives do. It’s easy to get a good finish with it too. It isn’t as sticky as you’d expect it to be. More importantly, it seems to stay white for a long period before turning magnolia.

Make sure you use a good-quality oil-based undercoat when using a gloss paint like this.

Crown Next Generation is the best oil-based wheit gloss

Teknos Futura Aqua

There are loads of water-based gloss paints around now, but the best in my opinion is Teknos Futura Aqua.

It is indeed a hybrid, so it will yellow eventually (although I have used this trade paint a lot and I’ve never noticed it discolouring, even on jobs I have gone back to a couple of years later). It’s very easy to use (which is refreshing for a water-based gloss). It leaves a good finish, and it is very durable.

Make sure you use a good quality water-based undercoat to create a good base.

A water-based gloss that doesn't turn yellow

The Best Stain Block


This has got to be either Zinsser Cover stain or Zinsser BIN, depending on the task in hand. Both have awesome stain blocking capabilities. Cover Stain is a lot easier to use but takes longer to dry.


Metal Paint


The best metal paint is another easy one, good old fashioned Hammerite every time!! You can use it directly on rust or bare metal without the need of an additional primer. It is thick and creamy so you can apply big coats. Not just all that, but it dries quickly so you can get two coats on in a day. Definitely the best option for a task such as painting metal railings.


Final Thoughts


In my humble opinion, too many people try to scrimp on decorating products, rather than choosing the best trade paint available. I see it all the time as a decorator; I could paint a client’s lounge in cheap retail paint, but the finish and durability would let it down. For the sake of an extra, say £100 spent on paint, I would make that lounge look spectacular!

Blog written by Mike Gregory – Professional Painter, Decorator and Blogger

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Dec 2, 2020 | 3 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.
How to Paint Coving – A Complete Guide

How to Paint Coving – A Complete Guide

In this blog, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about how to paint coving, including a few product recommendations. Coving is one of those decorative features which never really goes out of fashion.  I’ve completely lost count of how many rooms with...


  1. David Crossman

    All good products that you’ve listed but most need ordering from different suppliers. One supplier is a great idea, as you say, but I’d go for Tikkurila – AR2 for the ceilings, Optiva 5 for walls and Everal Aqua for the trim. Save some money with one carriage charge.

  2. Mike

    Agree with you there

  3. Amanda

    What do you recommend for masonry paint?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *