What paint do decorators use in their own home?

Updated Jun 6, 2024 | Posted May 12, 2021 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 1 comment

I’m a decorator of 20 years, 11 of which have been spent self-employed. I also write a lot of blogs and reviews for the Decorators Forum UK, so I’m constantly talking about the best paints to use in certain situations and why.

I figured the most credible endorsement is to talk about the paints I use in my own home. After all, these are the paints I choose for myself, so they’ve got to be good!!


The Paint Decorators Use on Ceilings


I like white ceilings and the best white emulsion to use in my honest opinion is WRX ceiling paint. It is a durable, water resistant paint with a soft-white look to it, making it perfect for bathrooms. Opacity is fantastic too, so one tin seems to last for ages.

For any large, or light sensitive ceilings I prefer Tikkurila Anti-Reflex. The opacity isn’t very good, but it leaves a flat luxurious finish. You’ll never see any roller marks, picture framing or flashing when using this paint as it has a very low sheen level. Click here to see current prices.

Another ceiling paint to look out for is Teknos Teknoceiling. Again, this is a very flat matt emulsion, so it is perfect for larger ceilings, or over the top of bad plastering. The opacity and finish of this paint is fantastic. I’m yet you use it in my own home, but it’s one I’ve been using a lot at work. You’ll find it easier to use than Tikkurila Anti-Reflex and it will take less coats. Click here to see latest prices.


The Paint Decorators Use on Walls


Again, for the walls I prefer a matt finish. There are plenty of choices out there, but for most rooms in my home, I went for Perfect Matt from Johnstone’s. I have kids, so I needed something slightly more durable than a standard vinyl matt. I don’t think you can get a better finish with any other paint either to be fair. No flashing at all and imperfections are hidden well.


The best thing about Perfect matt is its one of the few emulsion paints which you can touch up without issue. So, if I do get a few marks on a wall, I can just throw a roller over it and I’m good to go.

Plus, if you order Johnstone’s Perfect Matt online from The Decorating Centre Online, they will match any colour from another brand. This is handy because it means you can choose a Farrow and Ball colour, then order it in a better-quality paint. Click here for more info.

I went for Tikkurila vinyl matt in a couple of the bedrooms, simply because it’s a cheaper alternative and still a great quality vinyl matt paint. The finish is superb.


The Paint Decorators Use on Woodwork


Woodwork is an easy one. I like a satin finish and it must be water-based, simply because you know that it’s going to last. WRX satin is the one I went for, but again, there are a few good products out there I could have chosen.

WRX satinwood is fully water-based, very durable and extremely white satin which will never discolour. This paint is easy to use too and you don’t need a separate adhesion primer if you’re going over an old oil-based coating. Looks great, easy to use and lasts for yonks. WRX is the perfect woodwork paint really, what more can you ask for? Available online by clicking here.


Exterior Masonry Paint


This one is Easy. Emperor Paints masonry paint is the most technologically advanced masonry paint I’ve ever seen. Available online, (use code DFUK). This masonry paint uses hydrophobic technology to make a surface water repellent and self-cleaning. It even remains breathable and retains heat!!


It is expensive, but well worthwhile. The overall finish is second to none and because of the advanced technology within the product, a painted surface will last around 25 years before it needs repainting!! Click here to see a full review.


Exterior Eggshell and Gloss


This is another easy one. I prefer an eggshell finish for exterior windows and fascias, but I do use gloss on my front door. Sandtex X-Tra Eggshell and Gloss are the products I went for. Simply because of the overall finish and longevity of them.

Both oil-based, both 3-coat systems. You’ll find ease of use fantastic, but it does seem to take a long time for them to dry. Only paint doors on a warm day and ensure they are fully dry before closing it. Click here for a full review.

What Paint do Decorators use in Their Own Home – by Mike Gregory



What Paint do Other Decorators use in Their Homes?

I’m a big Tikkurila fan. I have Tikkurila Anti-Reflex on pretty much all my ceilings because it looks fantastic! I use Tikkurila vinyl matt on my walls and Helmi on most of my woodwork.

I work for myself now and use my favourite paints in my own house. When I worked on sites, I used to use whatever was left over from painting plots (usually contract matt)

Bill Jones

Professional Painter and Decorator

90% of the time Johnstone’s as it’s what’s left over on my jobs. That said, wouldn’t use it in a customer’s house if I wasn’t happy to use it in my own. I rate the brand and think it offers the best value for money.

Ash Powell

Professional Painter and Decorator

Graphenstone – For Air cleansing and purification in bedrooms.

Tikkurila helmi on woodwork (trim), due to drying times and finish. Plus it sprays well.

Tikkurilla anti reflex 2 on downstairs ceilings

Crown Clean Extreme in Kitchen ceiling and bathroom ceiling.

Tikkurila Pansarri Akva on windows and doors UPVC

Benjamin Moore Scuff X on cabinetry (drying times, finish and durability)


The Graphenstone is awesome. It’s got good coverage and opacity, colour depth equal to F&B, Little Greene. Nice aroma to work with.

The only drawback is finish is a little grainy and it’s hard to spray.

It does set nice and solid. The pure brilliant white is the whitest paint I have ever used.

The Nevada range is great for new builds as it mist and base in 1 coat providing the plastering is bang on – overwise it’s not worth it.

Edward Humphrey-Davies

Professional Painter and Decorator

I’ve used Caparol Premium clean in my kitchen, Tikkurila Anti- Reflex 2 on the ceiling and Tikkurila Optiva 3 on the staircase walls. Only been in 9 years haven’t got round to the rest so stuck with naff Leyland from the house builder.

Alan Saddler

Professional Painter and Decorator

I have ultra matt ceilings, diamond matt walls and diamond satinwood on woodwork. I have tried and tested all these paints at work, so I know they’re good enough for my own home. Plus, the satinwood has cured really hard, which you don’t get to see on jobs.

John Sweeney

Professional Painter and Decorator


Tikkurila Anti-reflex on all my ceilings because it gives the nicest finish and it’s water resistant. Crown Clean Extreme on pretty much every wall. I find it’s very durable and leaves a good finish. Crown oil-based satinwood on all my woodwork. I like that it isn’t too much of a bright white.

Dean Johnston

Professional Painter and Decorator

Dulux Vinyl Matt-Heritage colours, Crown Clean Extreme for kitchen because of scrub rating and for wood work and doors Teknos Aqua Futura 40 white because it’s great.

Atholl Fraser

Professional Painter and Decorator

To be honest, I’m not too fussy what paint I use at home, except for my ceiling paint. Normal emulsion looks naff on a ceiling, so I tend to go with Teknos Teknoceiling. I find it brilliant. It’s a soft white with no sheen to it at all. It helps avoid any flashing too. I’d highly recommend.

John Saunders

Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated Jun 6, 2024 | Posted May 12, 2021 | 1 comment

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 Comment

  1. Joe Dean


    I’ve just started my decorating business and would appreciate your views.

    My customer has had 3 new sawn timber garden gates made and wants a dark wood (palisende) finish . It has cost a lot so the finish HAS to last. Any ideas which paint I should use? She want a good paint satin or matt finish not a stain or gloss)

    Price is not really the issue, finish and quality is. Thank you


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