Whether you’re decorating a high-end luxury home or a small studio guest house, you want to get the best possible value from the money you spend on your décor. If approached correctly, repainting is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add value to your home — but it can be so confusing. There are a dizzying number of paints, brands, finishes, and colors available. How do you know which ones are the best? How can you ensure that you’ll get the best value for the money you’re spending? Most importantly, how do you choose the right option for your home?
The confusion has intensified in the past decade as paint industry professionals race to abandon the paints environmentalists have deemed to be toxic or harmful. In years past, oil-based paints performed well from a technical standpoint and were a favored solution. However, due to the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oil-based paints have been restricted in some states, and are becoming increasingly hard to find.
There’s been an intense and competitive scramble to replace these old favorites with newly developed low VOC or no VOC paints. The problem is, paint manufacturers have found it challenging to re-create the same paint value without resorting to using the previously acceptable volumes of VOCs. Some manufacturers are excelling at overcoming these challenges while others are failing.
Product development and marketing costs are also high, which adds to the challenges manufacturers face in pricing their products competitively. These pressures and costs affect the final price you pay for the paint.
The new normal: With the paint market still in a relative state of flux, it’s become a challenge to discern the best paint values available. Cheap paints are likelier than ever to perform poorly, and to not last as long as their high-end counterparts do. However, spending the money on an expensive high-end paint doesn’t guarantee you a quality product.
What Qualities Provide Outstanding Value in an Interior Paint?
What’s “the best” anything is subjective. While there are objective criteria you can look for, this determination can also be highly subjective. Here’s a list of the factors we take into account when formulating our opinions about which interior paint brands offer the best value:
- How green is it? What is it made of? Is it going to poison us? Give us headaches?
- How does it look? It better be gorgeous!
- How’s the coverage? Is it going to take us 4 coats of this paint to cover an existing surface? If so, it probably isn’t a good value, considering labor costs.
- Durability: how long can you realistically expect a treatment of this coating to last? How does it compare against its competitors?
- What is the texture like? When the paint dries, can you see visible streaks, brushstrokes or patchy areas? Does the wall feel gritty to the touch?
- What’s involved with maintenance? If you accidentally get something on the wall, can you easily wipe it clean?
- Is the paint priced realistically? Within reason, we’re willing to spend what it takes to get the best value — and we know that won’t happen if we simply look for the cheapest paint. On the other hand, we’re not interested in overpaying for paint, either.
Since we’re working on our own green building project, my husband and I set out to research which luxury interior paint brands offer the best value for the money we’ll be spending. Since we’re doing our homework on this anyway, we thought it would be worthwhile to share our initial findings with you.
Fine Paints of Europe
Fine Paints of Europe is a US-based importer of high-end interior paints made in the Netherlands. The company maintains membership in the U.S. Green Building Council®, and offers high quality environmentally friendly products.
The owner of this company, John Lahey, claims that paints made by this brand will last between 8-20 years. The superior quality comes about because his company is using a premium pigment comprised of titanium dioxide, and not adding any fillers such as chalk (calcium carbonate) to the product.
We’re particularly interested in their ECO and Eurolux paints and primers, which qualify for LEED certification.
I was impressed to learn that this company maintains Mount Vernon Estates as a client.
Mount Vernon was the Virginia home of former US President George Washington. Historic preservation is top priority for the staff at the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, which is the organization tasked with maintaining this legendary property. The estates’ caretakers no doubt used utmost care in selecting the paint brand they would trust for using in their maintenance operations.
Ecos Organic Paints
This UK-based company’s paints rank high on the eco-friendly scale. They use food-grade titanium dioxide as a pigment, and their formulations are free of solvents and VOCs.
This company’s client list includes the Louvre, which is a testament to the quality of its products.
Benjamin Moore is one of the most popular paint brands, with many fans and loyal customers in the interior design community. We’re particularly interested in their eco-friendly Green Promise line of paints.
Little Green Paint Company
This UK-based company claims their paints contain up to 40% more pigment than other brands of decorative interior paints. Their offerings include both water-based paints and oil paints. Their oil paints have been reformulated to include vegetable oils that they claim are sustainable.
Craig and Rose
This Scottish company offers paints ranging from vintage inspired to trendy. You’ll find a wide variety of choices, including shiny metallics, art-deco and craftsman inspired color palettes, and a dazzling spectrum of other possibilities.
These are the luxury interior paint brands our initial research uncovered as providing the best value for the money. Instead of taking our word for it, we encourage you to do your own due diligence and follow-up research as well, because your needs surely differ from ours in some ways — and because the marketplace changes quickly. Also, one couple’s “excellent value” is another couple’s “complete waste of money.” So we suggest using this information as a starting point for making your own evaluations. You may also want to get recommendations from local homeowners in your area for paint brands that perform well in weather and atmospheric conditions in your city.
Why Invest in High End Interior Paint?
Unless you’re going to do it yourself, an estimated 85-90% of your total painting costs will be spent on labor. If you plan to stay in your home for the long term, it doesn’t make financial sense to pay the high costs for labor, yet skimp on the materials you use.
Even if you’re going the DIY route, your time is valuable — and if you’re going to spend it painting, you might as well maximize the long term value you receive in exchange for the time you spend.
Either way, overall the money you spend on the actual paint is a small percentage of the overall cost. If you’d rather avoid repainting your home again in a couple of years, it’s well worth considering the advantages of high end interior paint.
- Interior Paint Color Trends for 2016
- All About Color
- 7 Christmas Color Schemes for Holiday Decorating
- At the New York Times Website — The Promise of Green Paint
- At the Telegraph UK Website — Are Posh Paints Really Worth It?
- At the New York Times Website: — The Paint Doctor Is In
- At the Fine Paints of Europe Website: FAQs; What We’ve Discovered About Paint; and Noteworthy Clients
- At the Mount Vernon Estates Website: About Us
- At ThisOldHouseJournal.com — The Changing Landscape for Household Paints
- At the Washington Post Website — Supply of Oil-Based Paint Thins as New Rule Takes Effect
- At the Fletcher Décor Website — What Are the Best and Worst Brands of Paint?
- At the Little Green Paint Company Website — FAQs
- The Craig and Rose Website
- At the Good Shopping Guide Website — Ethical Paint
- At the Ecos Organic Paints Website — FAQs and Eco
- At the One Project Closer Website — Benjamin Moore Paint: Is It Worth the Price?
- At the Benjamin Moore Website — Green Promise Paints