Using matt paint in a family home

Charcoal matt paint behind a sofa

Using matt paint in a family home

Matt paint is right on trend but you might be wondering whether or not it’s a good choice for the family home. Matt paint and small children was once a combination that did not mix very well. Little grubby fingermarks would require very careful dabbing and in most cases, either the paint would be disturbed or the mark would remain. Now, matt paint has evolved and washable matt paint  or ‘durable matt’, as it’s known, is a thing. This hard wearing paint can be washed just like silk, making it suitable for high traffic areas such as the hallway and stairs, as well as humid areas such as the kitchen.

Living room soft green matt paint

The beauty of using matt paint in your home is that it covers a multitude of sins on your walls. If you’ve used silk paint before, you’ll know it reflects the light and highlights any bumps or scratches. Matt paint works the opposite way, playing down and often concealing imperfections so that they are practically unnoticeable.

What brands of matt paint are there?

Dulux Diamond Matt PaintAll the big brands have versions of durable matt.

Johnstones makes two types:

  • Acrylic Durable Matt, which is suitable for walls and ceilings and is wipe clean.
  • Endura Super Durable Matt which is suitable for both walls and woodwork, offering ‘ultimate durability’.

Johnstones says that its Endura Matt paint has been tested to over 10,000 scrubs. The fact you can use it on both walls and woodwork is a huge time saver if you’re just painting everything white.

Armstead makes ‘Trade durable matt’ which it says is hardwearing, scrubbable and stain resistant.

Wilko also has its own brand of durable matt which it claims is washable and 10 times tougher than regular matt paint.

Finally, there is Dulux – the most well known and currently the favourite, although Johnstones is a big rival. Dulux offer two types – the first is Trade Diamond Matt which is ‘repeatedly wipeable’ and offers ‘superior durability’ with stain resistance. Dulux also offers Vinyl Matt which they say is suitable for humid areas, so you can (at last) have a matt finish in the kitchen or bathroom.

Which brand of matt paint should I choose?

Of all the products on the market, the most popular (and also the most expensive) are Dulux Diamond Matt and Johnstones Endura. Both provide a very durable finish that you don’t expect from a matt paint. However you’ll find that the level of sheen varies slightly between the brands –for example, the finish of Dulux Diamond Matt has slightly more sheen than Johnstones. Grab some tester pots and try out the finish in the room you’re looking to redecorate to ensure the results are what you’re expecting.

Why choose matt paint?

Aside from hiding imperfections, matt paint gives your walls a soft, rich look with a velvet finish that has a more expensive appearance than silk paint. It also makes the perfect backdrop for your artwork and furniture. Different colours, textures and materials really stand out in beautiful contrast to a matt backdrop. The look is particularly effective if you introduce a wide range of finishes in your room. High white gloss, coppers, brasses, earthy fabrics, natural stone, deep grainy wood and cut glass will all be enhanced against the smooth, velvety finish of your matt walls.

Kitchen matt paint

Above: Matt paint is now possible in humid areas – and provides the perfect backdrop for the beautiful range of textures in this modern kitchen.

Matt paint also has a more intense appearance than silk, thanks to the high levels of pigment. This means it tends to cover better than other paints, regardless of what shade you choose.

Bright, bold shades can look gaudy or tacky when done using silk paint. However, the chalky finish of matt softens the overall effect, giving even brighter colours an elegant finish. Matt allows you to get away with painting your walls in shades of deep yellow or purple, bold red or even eye catching charcoal and the finish for a dramatic finish that’s not too overwhelming.

Charcoal matt paint wall

Matt works great on woodwork too and is the perfect way to bring colour to your doors, frames and skirting. Coloured satinwood or gloss can look rather tacky, but coloured woodwork with a matt finish looks refined and chic. Colours can be neutral to keep the look subtle – sage greens, beiges, creams and greys make a beautiful contrast for plain white matt walls. Painting your woodwork with a matt shade helps define your space and creates a striking, individual look that works as a canvas for the rest of your furniture.

Image credit: Dulux Diamond Matt Paint – Dulux Decorator Centre

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