Best Paints for Inside and Outside Your House

Behr paint is fine if you are on a budget or getting your home ready for sale. If you are renting or living in your home, it is hard to go wrong with Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams (see photo below) or C2 Paints. Use our color palette to get started.

Foyer and kitchen

This article discusses our experiences with paints that we used on three houses in the Washington DC area. We used Behr Paint, C2 Paints, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore Paints. All of the paints are available nationwide at most painting stores. Behr Paint is available at the Home Depot. 

Consumer Reports gave high marks to Behr Paints so we decide to try it. Professional painters though advised us that they preferred either Duron, Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paints. We would live to regret our decision. We painted a 3,000 square foot house using with Behr primer and two coats of paint.

Behr Paint's Performance

We were not pleased with Behr Paint for several reasons. discussed below. First, the Behr primer is not very good. In fact on woodwork, we had to apply two coats. If we applied one coat of primer, we then had to apply three coats of paint to get a good result. Also when we tried to clean the walls we had problems. The dirt would not come off the wall. When we rubbed harder the paint came off. So in the end we had to touch up. Here are the colors and finishes we used if you want to use Behr Paint. The colors are neutral, but warm. 

Family room

1) All walls, except basement and kitchen- Behr flat, Raffia Cream 2) All ceilings- Behr flat, Egret White 3) All windows, moldings, wainscot and doors Behr semi-gloss, Villa White 4) Basement Walls- Behr flat, Antique White 5) All ceilings- Behr flat, Egret White 6) Kitchen- Behr eggshell, Antique White

So if you are preparing to sell your house, then go ahead and use Behr Paint and save some money. We don't have an opinion on Lowes' paints since we have never used them. We prefer either Sherwin Williams, C2 Paints, or Benjamin Moore paints. These paints are ideal for your own use or if you are going to rent your place since they will hold up better.

Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and C2 paints Performance
We used both Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams paints,C2, and Martha Stewart paints. Martha Stewart paint is available at Lowes Home Improvement Stores and Sherwin Williams Paint Stores. Their primers and paints were easy to apply and work with. Our painter had praise for all of these paints and he is a die hard believer in Benjamin Moore paints.

Because the house is full of kids and adults, we choose products that would be easy to clean and maintain. The best paint for the interior for our purposes was Sherwin Williams' Duration Paint. So far it has held up great and it is easy to clean. By easy, we mean using a damp cloth to remove dirt which came off easily. The paint does not come off the walls either. Yes, it is expensive, but well worth the price. Benjamin Moore paint
was used exclusively on the ceilings, moldings and doors of all rooms. White is a very difficult color to choose, because it comes in so many variations. We did not choose the popular designer white, since, it has lots of grey in it. Instead we went with Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117. It is warmer and looks good as the photos show.

Powder room colors should be boldWe suggest that you use one color for the ceiling and trim (crown and based molding, windows, and doors). In our case that was Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117. This simplified things for your and your painter. We used flat (also called matte in Sherwin Williams) on the ceiling and semi-gloss on the trim. The bathrooms, however were painted with an eggshell or satin finish on the walls and trim.

Colors and finishes we used

We are hardly experts in choosing paint color. It took time and we experimented. If you are color blind when it comes to choosing paint color, take a look at our article on how to choose paint color.

Overall though, we were trying to choose colors that were warm and livable. The goal was also a color scheme that we liked and that any future renter or buyer would not turned off by.

We were a little bolder in the kitchen, powder room and master bathrooms as the photos will show you.

In our main kitchen, we used C2 paint. This is high quality paint that we found available at the place we buy our Benjamin Moore paint. Color is a bit bold, but it works. We chose to carry the color under the cabinets and on one wall where the sliding glass door is. We painted Sherwin Williams Crescent Cream on the two remaining walls. The Crescent Cream transitions easier into the family room and living room areas that are painted with Sherwin Williams Antique White.

List of Paints used in Recently Renovated Washington DC House

  1. Main floor kitchen wall and under cabinets-  C2 Paint, Wulfenite, eggshell 
  2. Two remaining kitchen walls opposite range and sliding door-Sherwin Williams Duration, Crescent Cream SW 1352 satin
  3. Powder Room- Sherwin Williams Duration, Crescent Cream SW 1352 satin
  4. Master Bath- Sherwin Williams Duration, Chivalry Copper SW 6353, eggshell
  5. Hall Bathroom or Powder Room- Martha Stewart, Brown Sugar, eggshell
  6. Walls for all other rooms- Sherwin Williams Duration Matte, Antique White
  7. Interior Trim entire house (see definition above)- Benjamin Moore, Simply White OC-117, satin
  8. Downstairs kitchen- Sherwin Williams Duration, Crescent Cream SW 1352 satin
  9. Exterior House Trim- Benjamin Moore Soft Gloss, Marble White
  10. Exterior ShuttersBenjamin Moore Soft Gloss, Black