A fresh coat of paint can give any room a simple, spring makeover. Where it gets complicated is choosing the paint. Home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot stock not only different brands of paint but even varying grades within brands.
The top-of-the-line paint at Home Depot, Behr Marquee, came in first in Consumer Reports’ most recent tests. It’s great at covering dark colors without a primer and resisting stains, and it was one of the best in Consumer Reports’ tough scrubbing test. But it costs $43 per gallon. For about $10 less, a close runner-up – Behr Premium Plus Ultra – performed just as well in every test except stain-resistance, and even there it was pretty good.
It’s the same story with Valspar Reserve, a new high-end paint from Lowe’s. It’s a top performer for $44 per gallon. For $10 less, you can get the Lowe’s Valspar Signature, which still gives impressive results. Again, you’re giving up a little stain-resistance. But if you use the satin or the semigloss, Consumer Reports says that you should be good to go.
However, don’t go too low in price. Walmart’s Color Place Interior Paint costs only $17 per gallon, but it flunked Consumer Reports’ stain test and wasn’t great at hiding dark colors. It’s a good reminder that sometimes things are cheap for a reason.
Not a superstore shopper? Ace Hardware offers its own brand, too: Clark+Kensington, which testers say is a really good paint for $32 per gallon.
Tips on the best way to paint a room are available at ConsumerReports.org.