white interior paint and a white paint brush spread over a red paint can lid

Interior Paint

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/17/2021

Ksenia Chernaya

If you’re looking to brighten things up around the home with a fresh coat of paint, you may quickly find your options a bit overwhelming. That’s because shopping for paint can be a difficult task for even the most experienced DIYer. With thousands of colors and various sheens and glosses available, choosing the right one can be daunting. And with numerous considerations around the health and safety of different paints, you might be left wondering, “What exactly is an interior paint?”


The term interior paint commonly refers to specially formulated paints that are intended for use inside the home. They typically contain low to zero amounts of dangerous chemicals, such as volatile organic chemicals (VOC). There are several types of these specially formulated paints available, with each intended for different projects. Some formulations are designed to be more durable for high traffic areas or to resist moisture in wet areas. Whereas, others are designed to create specific looks and styles, like glaze paints, and focus less on strength and durability. Interior paints are also generally designed to be more user-friendly, with less preparation, quicker applications, faster drying times, and easier clean-up.

What Is The Best Interior Paint For My Project?

Before you get started, you’re going to need to decide on which paint to use. With so many options available, it’s important to note that not all interior paints are created equal. Knowing which one to use for which project can save you disappointment and frustration down the road:

  • Some interior paints are designed to be used in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and kids bedrooms. These durable paints are specially formulated to stand up to scratches, stains, and water. However, they are typically on the harder and shinier side, which may not match your design expectations.
  • Some interior paints are designed to achieve a softer, flatter appearance. However, these paints are typically less durable, less resistant to moisture, and harder to clean, making them a poor choice for high-traffic areas that see a lot of water usage.
  • Nowadays, many companies are making interior paints that break traditional molds. For example, you can find paint that provides the look of a matte finish with all the durability of a high gloss paint. However, these options typically come at a higher financial cost.