Paint Buying Guide

When it comes to buying paint for your home there are so many options, from eggshell paint to enamel, gloss and more. Each area of your home will require a different type of paint and the colour you choose will have a big effect on the mood and feeling of the room. Discover which type of paint is right for you in this helpful paint buying guide from the experts at Homebase.

Which type of paint is right for you?

Watch our video guide below to help you decide which type of paint is right for you:


Matt paint is best suited to ceilings and the trimmings of a room. It’s great at covering up cracks, bumps and any other imperfections you may find on your walls. However, it’s quite hard to clean so is best used in quieter areas of the house.


Eggshell paint is so called because it has the low sheen of an eggshell. This makes it perfect for a low gloss finish in a living room or bedroom.


Satin is the all-rounder of the paint world. It has a great smooth, silky finish, while its higher gloss makes it durable and easier to clean. It has faster recoat times. It’s perfect for the busier parts of your home, such as kitchens and kids’ bedrooms.


This adds a lovely understated shine to a surface. It’s easy to clean and resistant to humidity and stains, making it great for covering doors, trimmings and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.


This type of paint provides a shiny finish that looks similar to enamel or plastic. It’s often used on woodwork, cabinets, trimmings and furniture as it gives them a clean, contemporary look.

How should you prepare the surface?

Preparation is important when you’re painting something. Primers and undercoats provide a base for the topcoat of paint, which improves its finish and durability when it has dried. Primers are generally better when painting new surfaces or materials that are susceptible to harsh conditions, while undercoats are often used for old surfaces that have been painted before.

This helpful video goes through the basics of how to prepare your walls before you start painting:

What colour should you use?

You should have an idea of what personality you want the room to have. Do you want it to be bright and welcoming, or would you prefer something with a cosier feel? Remember to always try the colour first by testing a sample in a small area of the room, as this will give you a good idea of whether it’s the right colour for you, and show you how it works with the lighting of the room.

You can purchase paint testers at your local Homebase store, or if you’re looking for inspiration before deciding on a paint colour scheme for your home, why not take a look at our helpful paint colour guide by interior designer, Julia Kendell: Get Confident With Colour.

Enamel or acrylic?

Gloss and semi-gloss paints are usually enamel based, while the paints with a lower sheen are generally acrylic based. Enamel paints are considered to be more hard-wearing but they take longer to dry, are difficult to clean up and have quite a strong smell, so you’ll need to keep your room well ventilated while painting. Water based acrylic paint dries in just a few hours and doesn’t have a strong odour.

Top tip

Surface preparation is particularly important when using gloss paint, as it will emphasise any imperfections that are present.

Before you start…

When it comes to choosing paint for you home, start with the question of which room you are painting. This will help you decide which type of paint you need.

Before considering which paint colour to choose, you’ll want to think about the size of the room and what you use it for. This is important because the colour of a room can have a big effect on how it feels. For example, a lighter colour will make a small room seem more spacious, while a darker colour will make a large room feel more homely.

We’ve got everything you need for your next painting project at Homebase from a wide selection of paint colours and finishes to paint brushes, rollers, paint pads and more.

Our high quality, great value paint and decorating range will help you transform your home for less. Browse our popular paint tools and accessories below or visit your local Homebase store.



Writer and expert