The Best Emulsion Paints For Walls & Ceilings

Transform your living space with our handpicked selection of emulsion paints that provide great coverage.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
Best Emulsion Paint
Edward Bailey/DIY Works
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Emulsion paint is best used for painting interior walls and ceilings because it provides excellent coverage and opacity. Unlike other types of paint, emulsion doesn’t crack or fade in sunlight and there is a range of options at your disposal that each offer distinct qualities such as durability, washability, fast drying times, and coverage.

To assist you in selecting an emulsion paint, our handpicked selection lists top-performing paints, chosen based on our first-hand experience painting interior walls and ceilings. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

Best White: Dulux Matt Emulsion Paint For Walls And Ceilings
Best Value: Crown Emulsion Brilliant White Emulsion Paint
Leyland Matt White Emulsion Paint
Best All-Rounder: Leyland Matt White Emulsion Paint
Dulux Once Matt Emulsion Paint
Best Single Coat: Dulux Once Matt Emulsion Paint
Dulux Easycare Washable Emulsion Paint
Best For Durability: Dulux Easycare Washable Emulsion Paint
Johnstone’s Covaplus Vinyl Matt
Best Coverage: Johnstone’s Covaplus Vinyl Matt

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates The Emulsion Paints

Over the years, we’ve painted hundreds of rooms from top to bottom and used a wide range of emulsion paints.

Therefore, whilst testing some of the emulsion paints within this article, we used our experience to compare their ease of application, coverage and finish.

In our most recent test of emulsion paints, we used the paints shown in the photo on walls and ceilings with each room having a unique colour.

best white emulsion paint

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

To keep our commitment to testing and reviewing the latest emulsion paints (for this article), we are continuing to test a range of different emulsions from reputable brands in the UK. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new and improved emulsion, we will attempt to buy it and put it to the test (where applicable).

It’s important to note that during our testing, we tested the emulsion paints by applying them via a roller and brush (as shown in the image below).

Best Emulsion

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
Best Emulsion Paints

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Below is a video that we posted on our YouTube channel that shows us testing one of the latest emulsions from Dulux. As you can see in the video, it’s easy to apply and the paint provided excellent coverage.

As well as thorough testing and our experience, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and multiple factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included their coverage, ease of application, time to dry, VOC levels, colours available, finish, tin sizes and value for money.

The Best Emulsion Paints

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best White: Dulux Matt Emulsion Paint For Walls And Ceilings

(How We Review →)

The Dulux Pure Brilliant White is by far the most popular emulsion paint in the UK and for good reason too. It’s easy to apply, provides great coverage and is ideal for walls and ceilings that require a modern, flat finish.

To provide unbeatable durability once applied, this emulsion paint uses Chromalock technology. This unique formulation gives it the edge over the majority of paints when it comes to a long-lasting finish.

Pros
  • Relatively good coverage (13m2 coverage per litre)
  • During testing, we found the application easy via brush and roller
  • Available in 2.5, 3, 5, 6 and 7 litre tins
  • Dries within 2 to 4 hours
  • Low VOC level
Cons
  • Requires two coats for maximum durability

Although it isn’t the cheapest, the Dulux Pure Brilliant White is the best emulsion paint that provides great coverage and long-lasting results. It’s also backed by the reputable Dulux brand for complete peace of mind.

2. Best Value: Crown Emulsion Brilliant White Emulsion Paint

(How We Review →)

Another popular emulsion paint is the Crown Brilliant White Matt, which is designed for use on interior walls and ceilings. According to the brand, once applied correctly, it provides a durable, non-yellowing and non-reflective finish.

In terms of the application, it’s recommended that you either brush or roll it onto the walls or ceiling. It’s then touch dry within 2 hours and can be recoated after 4 hours.

Pros
  • Matt, non-reflective finish
  • Non-yellowing formulation
  • 14m2 coverage per litre
  • Low VOC level
Cons
  • May require multiple coats (2 to 3) for the best finish

The Crown Brilliant White is by far the best emulsion paint for the money and per litre, it’s also one of the cheapest. Unlike similarly priced alternatives, this formula retains its quality and provides long-lasting results that won’t disappoint.

3. Best All-Rounder: Leyland Matt White Emulsion Paint

(How We Review →)

Leyland is a brand that’s popular among professionals and they’re well-known for producing high-quality yet affordable paints. This Matt White emulsion paint follows that great reputation and is ideal for painting fresh plaster.

In terms of the application, the brand states that it’s capable of providing up to 14 m2 coverage per litre and it’s touch dry within 2 to 4 hours.

Pros
  • High opacity formulation
  • One year manufacturers guarantee
  • 14 m2 coverage per litre
  • Available in a bulk buy 10 litre tin
  • Perfect for new work application
Cons
  • Requires two coats for the best results

Overall, the Leyland Emulsion Paint is an excellent all-round option that provides great value for money and a high-quality finish. Whether you are painting fresh plaster or tired existing paint, the Leyland emulsion won’t disappoint.

4. Best Single Coat: Dulux Once Matt Emulsion Paint

(How We Review →)

Another emulsion paint by Dulux is the “Once” formula and unlike the brand’s standard matt paint, this particular formula provides a perfect finish in just a single coat. Whether you need to paint your walls or ceiling, it’s designed to provide great coverage and is also available in a range of colours to best suit your requirements.

For the best results, the brand recommends applying a thick coat with a medium pile paint roller and a brush for edging.

Pros
  • Concentrated formulation
  • Only requires a single coat
  • Suitable for walls or ceilings
  • Available in 7 different colours
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives
  • Requires at least 4 hours to fully dry

Although expensive, the Dulux Once is easy to apply and allows you to paint an entire room with a single coat. It’s a high-quality emulsion paint that won’t disappoint and is also available in a great selection of colours too.

5. Best For Durability: Dulux Easycare Washable Emulsion Paint

(How We Review →)

The Easycare is yet again another Dulux emulsion paint that’s very popular in the UK. This formula in particular is designed for maximum durability and according to the brand, it’s 20 times tougher than standard emulsion paints.

In terms of the application, per 2.5-litre tin, it’s able to cover up to 32.5 square metres, which works out as 13 square metres per litre.

Pros
  • Stain repellent and repels liquid spills
  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Available in 27 different colours
  • Suitable for walls and ceilings
  • Dries within 4 hours
Cons
  • Quite expensive when compared to other emulsion paints

Although expensive, the Dulux Easycare is a high-quality paint that’s ideal for painting over walls or ceilings. The unique formula provides unmatched durability and is the perfect option for areas that are prone to dirt or liquid spills such as busy hallways, games rooms and much more.

6. Best Coverage: Johnstone’s Covaplus Vinyl Matt

(How We Review →)

The Covaplus Vinyl Matt is one of the most versatile emulsion paints on the market and it can be applied using a brush, roller or spray. Although designed for interior walls and ceilings, it can also be used on a range of other surfaces too.

According to the brand, this emulsion paint works great on wallboards, plaster, concrete, cement render and even brickwork. In terms of its coverage, the brand claim that it provides up to 17 square metres per litre.

Pros
  • Excellent opacity and coverage
  • Resistant to fading and yellowing
  • Eco label approved
  • 1 to 10 litre tins available
  • Hides surface imperfections
Cons
  • Limited colour options

Johnstone’s has a great reputation with all the paints that they produce and this emulsion paint follows that great reputation. It has excellent opacity and is the perfect solution for painting interior walls and ceilings.

Conclusion

Whether you are painting over old paint or fresh plaster, emulsion paint is the best type to use. All of our recommendations cover a range of formulas that offer unique features such as single application or durability.

To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise that you take some measurements of the walls and ceilings to be painted. There is nothing worse than running out of paint midway through the application. Most emulsion paints offer between 10 to 17 m2 coverage but many formulas may require multiple coats for the best results.

For further information with regards to any of our emulsion paint recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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