How To Buy Paint For Your Bathroom

July 1, 2020 | Starr Tingle


Buying paint for your bathroom can be overwhelming. This buying paint checklist will help make sure you get the paint you need for your bathroom.

Are you planning to paint your bathroom as a refresh or becuase you have remodeled it?

There are so many points to consider that it can be difficult to remember everything. From sheen to paint color…it can become very overwhelming!

I’ve been remodeling bathrooms for over 20 years, so when it comes to paint, I know what you need to buy.

This post is all about how to buy paint for your bathroom.

1. The sheen of the paint.

Paint sheen refers to how shiny the paint appears on your wall. How shiny the paint is also is an indicator of how well your walls will wipe down. Paint comes in the following sheens, from least shiny to most shiny:

  • Flat 
  • Eggshell 
  • Satin
  • Semi-Gloss
  • High Gloss

In a bathroom, I recommend using eggshell on your walls. Eggshell is easy to wipe off those annoying hairspray dots and toothpaste splatters. I recommend semi-gloss on the trim and cabinets. And lastly, if you have a window in your bathroom, I recommend flat on your ceilings. If you don’t have a window, you can get away with eggshell. If you are worried about a lot of moisture from steam, you need a bath fan to take away that steam.  

Here is my paint sheen super tip that I say: flat paint cannot be wiped down, but it can be touched up. You can literally paint over a smudge in the middle of your wall with flat paint, and when it dries, you won’t be able to see the spot. With all other sheens, you can wipe them down, but if you need to touch up a little spot on a wall, you have to paint the entire wall from corner to corner, or you will always be able to see the touched-up spot.  

2. Paint type, water base versus oil base.

I only recommend water-based paints. It is better for the environment and for the health of the person doing your painting. You will find people who will tell you that oil-based paint is better – they are correct from a durability standpoint. Oil base does hold up well over a longer time. BUT IT IS NOT WORTH the terrible impact on our environment and on the heath of the painter. Water-based paints have greatly improved in recent years, and I would argue and just as good as oil paint.  

3. Do you need a primer?

If you are painting over bare drywall, yes, use a primer. It will seal the drywall and prevent your paint from soaking in. If you are covering dark paint with light paint, I recommend a gray-tinted primer. In other cases, I don’t really recommend a primer.

4. Do you need a specialty bathroom paint?

Most paints that are created specifically for use in bathrooms are made to combat dampness—specifically, steam from your shower. If you are worried about a lot of moisture from steam, you need a bath fan to take away that steam. I recommend spending your money on having a bath fan installed rather than on expensive paint.

When I buy Benjamin Moore paint, I like their “Regal” line in eggshell and their “Aura” line in eggshell. I do not recommend their “Aura Bath And Spa Paint” because it only comes in matte (flat) finish and no ones has been able to explain to me why this is a thing.

When I buy Sherwin Williams paint, I like their “Super” paint line in Satin finish and their “Duration” line in

5. Where to buy?

I use my local, family-owned paint store when I buy paint for my home. The owners are very knowledgeable, they care, and I’m helping my local economy. If you are local to Shelbyville, Kentucky, please try out Andriot’s Paint Flooring Blinds. You’ll be glad you did. 

6. Pick your color!

This is the most fun part for me. Still, I understand many find it overwhelming. I’m going to give you some tips for your specific situations and a list of colors I love.

If your bathroom is off of your bedroom, use either the same color or a coordinating color.

If you gravitate toward light, beachy, airy photos on Pinterest and in design magazines, take a clue from that and go that direction. Here are my favorite light, beachy, airy colors: Sherwin Williams, SW 6204, Sea Salt, Benjamin Moore, HC-141 Hollingsworth green, and HC-144 palladian blue.

If you prefer dark, cozy, or moody scenes, here are my favorite bathroom paint colors for that: Benjamin Moore: HC-159 Philipsburg blue (this is the color of my bedroom – it is cozy without being too dark and dramatic), HC-160 Knoxville gray (I love this because it changes color throughout the day – at times appearing blue, green, and gray. You’ll never tire of this one!)

If you want a white, here are my top white choices: Sherwin Williams, SW 7566 Westhighland White, Benjamin Moore, OC-17 white dove (the majority of the inside of our home is painted this color, and the entire exterior of our home is painted this color. I love it!!). Benjamin Moore, INT. RM decorators white (I used this in all three of my girls’ bedrooms. It is the perfect art gallery-Esque paint, and everything you hang on it just looks better.)

And finally, because gray is SO popular right now, here are my favorite grays: Benjamin Moore HC-172 revere pewter (has a drop of brown in it which warms it up). Sherwin Williams SW 7634 Pediment (currently obsessed with this color!)


Wrap Up

I hope I have armed you with enough information to make the right buying decision for bathroom paint. I’m committed to educating homeowners and helping them love the process of remodeling their home. I believe taking the time to learn about the bathroom components will make your rebuild go faster, smoother, and help keep costs down. If you have a specific remodel question, send me an email at Starr (at) I would love to help you out!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook @Sanctuary Homes, Instagram at @sanctuaryhomes, and Pinterest at Sanctuary Homes. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!! Chow for now!