Here we round up some of the best paint brands, known for their reliable formulas, ease of application and tempting palette of shades, from timeless neutrals to moody hues and bold brights.
Good quality paint finishes can make all the difference to the success of your decorating project, delivering depth of color and a durable finish; investment in the product is what will bring you a professional finish, whether you are painting a room yourself, or having a painter do the job for you.
Best paint brands
If you are planning an interiors project, you will want to invest in the highest quality products. This includes everything from hard-wearing fabrics to durable paint colors. It is a false economy to buy cheap products, and particularly cheap paint. You will not get the coverage a quality product will offer, nor the durability nor depth of color. To make the most of your paint ideas, you need to invest in the best paint brands on the market. This is our list of where to shop.
Irish-born brothers Benjamin and Robert Moore established their business in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. Today, Benjamin Moore & Co (opens in new tab) is a Berkshire Hathaway company, known as one of North America’s leading manufacturers of premium quality paints with an extensive choice of formulations and colors – more than 3,500.
‘Our bestselling interior wall finish is Aura Matte,’ says Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore director, who notes that its popularity derives from its application characteristics and depth and richness of color.
‘It is also a very durable finish, even in the darkest shades where other brands struggle to stand up to daily domestic wear and tear, so the color looks pristine for longer,’ she adds.
This Sherwin-Williams (opens in new tab) brand has been in the paints, stains and coatings business for over 200 years. Valspar (opens in new tab) offers a wide range of interior and exterior paints, on multiple surfaces including walls, ceiling, wood, metal and masonry, designed to require fewer coats than some of its competitors. It also offers color-matching technology to scan, match and mix any color the eye can see – said to be over 2.2 million shades.
As we said above, Sherwin-Williams has been around for over 200 years, when it was founded in Cleveland, Ohio.
The brand is known for its quality paints and stains for interiors and exteriors, which are sold through its own stores in the USA. It also has its own branded products, including Valspar (as mentioned above), Minwax, Thompson's Water Seal and Krylon.
Farrow & Ball
Known for highly-pigmented paint with a particular depth of color and quality of finish, this company’s roots can be traced back to 1946 in Dorset, England, where it was founded by John Farrow and Richard Ball.
After a revival in the 1990s, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) has become internationally renowned for its intriguingly named collection of timeless colors. Its bestselling shades include the soft neutral Wimborne White, as well as mid-tones and dirty pastels such as Setting Plaster, French Gray and Slipper Satin.
'There has also been a renaissance in darker shades over the last two years,’ says brand ambassador Patrick O’Donnell. ‘People have been feeling more confident about color choice and how it can create a “mood” – so we have seen increased interest in Down Pipe, Hague Blue, Green Smoke and Railings.’
Sold at The Home Depot (opens in new tab), Behr (opens in new tab) was founded in 1947 in Santa Ana, California. Now sold across the United States, Canada and into Mexico, it is known for its primers, stains, interior paints and exterior paints, plus surface preparation products.
After finding it tricky to purchase paint with success, Natalie and Caleb Ebel founded their brand, Backdrop (opens in new tab), ‘for everyone and anyone who wants to transform their space without unnecessary pain’.
The online offer includes self-priming paints in interior, exterior and cabinet options, in standard and semi-gloss finishes, plus a new range of wallpapers, now that the brand is part of heritage design house F. Schumacher & Co (opens in new tab).
Since its launch in 2018, each Backdrop sale has contributed to the International Rescue Committee, which helps displaced families in some of the most challenging places in the world.
Interior designer Nicole Gibbons set out to change the traditional paint shopping experience when she launched delivered-to-your-door supplier Clare (opens in new tab) in summer 2018. Her designer-curated colors now number more than sixty and samples are available as peel and stick Perfect Color Swatches, so you can easily see if the shade suits your space. The interactive Clare Color Genius is designed to help guide you to the right color choice for your room with a quick questionnaire.
One of the first companies to focus on manufacturing paint formulations without harsh chemicals and VOCs, ECOS Paints (opens in new tab) was founded over 35 years ago. (In the UK, it is sold under Lakeland Paints (opens in new tab).)
Today, the paints are made with the same principles – plus an emphasis on performance – in South Carolina and sold throughout North America and around the world, and are to be found in Westminster Abbey in London and the Louvre in Paris.
‘Our commitment to ingredient transparency sets us apart from other paint companies, says Emma Pugliares, ECOS Paints’ marketing director. ‘We were the first North American paint manufacturer to adopt the International Living Future Institute’s Declare labels, in which product ingredients are made publicly available and compared against an 800 worst-in-class chemicals “Red List”.’
Which is the best paint brand?
Nominating the best paint brand isn't as easy as just choosing one front-runner; choosing the right product for the right job is the most important way to ensure durability and good-looking results. However, most professional painters would cite Sherwin-Williams' or Benjamin Moore's products as the best paints.
Which paint brand to professional painters recommend?
According to Painters Inc (opens in new tab), both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams offer the best quality paints, with zero-VOC paint options, good coverage and durability. They do highlight that these paint brands come at a cost but our experience is that cheap paints do not offer value for money.
Amelia Thorpe is a specialist interiors and design journalist, covering every topic to do with homes from fabrics, furniture and lighting to surfaces, kitchens and bathrooms.
As the daughter of an antique dealer and a lifelong collector of old cookery books and vintage graphics herself, she also has a particular expertise in antiques, mid-century and decorative arts of all kinds.
Drawn to homes because of their importance in the happiness of our lives and the enjoyment they can bring, Amelia has been writing about the topic for more than fifteen years. She has interviewed some of the most influential designers of our time, from Piero Lissoni, Antonio Citterio, Jaime Hayon and Arik Levy to Nina Campbell and Robert Kime.
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