Don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween primer and satin? Un­sure which works best where? Here’s our guide...

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Colour -


A thick paint with a shiny fin­ish that re­flects lots of light. Gloss works well in high-traf­fic ar­eas and on sur­faces that get brushed and bumped reg­u­larly, such as skirt­ing boards and door frames. If us­ing on plas­ter walls, they need to be in good con­di­tion, as any im­per­fec­tions will show. SATIN AND SILK

Avail­able in wall paint, wood paint and metal paint, silk and satin are mid-sheen paints (silk is associated with walls, satin is for wood­work). A great choice if you want a paint with a slight shine that’s easy to wipe clean. Bet­ter at hid­ing sur­face im­per­fec­tions than a high gloss.


This paint has a more del­i­cate sheen than satin and is bet­ter at re­sist­ing mois­ture than matt. Suit­able for most sur­faces, in­clud­ing walls and primed met­als, such as radiators. It’s also par­tic­u­larly good for giv­ing wood­work a clas­sic look.


Smooth and non-re­flec­tive, matt paint is ex­cel­lent at dis­guis­ing the flaws in less-than-per­fect walls – it cre­ates a soft, nat­u­ral look. PRIMER

An un­der­coat that can be used to pre­pare bare wood, plas­ter or metal sur­faces be­fore paint­ing. It in­creases paint dura­bil­ity and stops the paint be­ing ab­sorbed into the wall. Dif­fer­ent types of sur­faces, such as metal or wood, re­quire dif­fer­ent primers. BRUSHES

Choose the width of your brush based on the area that you’re paint­ing: 50mm for smaller ar­eas such as skirt­ing boards, door frames and ar­chi­traves; 100-150mm for ceil­ings and walls. A syn­thetic bris­tle is best used with water-based paints for a fine fin­ish, while a nat­u­ral bris­tle is ideal for sol­vent-based paints.


These are ex­cel­lent for paint­ing any large sur­faces in your home. They come in short pile (for fine, flat sur­faces), medium pile (for smooth sur­faces and most walls) and long pile (for tex­tured sur­faces). Foam rollers are best for gloss paint and var­nish.

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