You built or fixed it, now you want it to look good. Unless you’re aiming for a historic bare brick and wooden beams look, or your taste is for post-industrial concrete, steel and glass, you’re going to need paint, wallpaper, or both.
We’ve compiled this list of the best brands to help you make your choices – whether your aim is to cover a whole house cheaply, or re-create the rich colours of a bygone age. And, of course, there are links to the stores you can buy them from online.
- Craig & Rose
- Once upon a time, Craig & Rose made the very first paint used on the Forth Bridge. Now, it’s a company committed to keeping alive traditional paint-making skills – it co-founded the Traditional Paint Forum – while at the same time developing new techniques to reduce the environmental impact of the industry. The result for the consumer is a number of Craig & Rose product lines suitable for all tastes and homes, some of the most popular of which are available at B&Q. The 1829 range reproduces colours from the past, offering 48 historic shades. By contrast, the Opulence range mixes indulgent colours and effects with optional metallic or glittery top coats.
- Lancashire-based Crown Paints traces its history back to the late 1850s and – unlike many decorating brands – has stayed independent for most of that time. It now proudly boasts of being the UK’s largest and most successful independent paint manufacturer. Marketing itself to both trade and DIY users, it offers professional finishes such as Crown Trade, Sandtex Trade and Sadolin, as well as a wide range of domestic paints. As you’d expect from such a well-know brand, you can buy Crown paint from B&Q and Focus DIY.
- Dulux – and its famous Old English Sheepdog mascot – may just be the best-known paint brand of them all. Initially launched as a product for professional decorators, the name comes from a combination of the chemical giant DuPont and the word ‘luxury’. By the 1950s it was marketed to consumers as well as trade, and a decade later the Dulux dog made its first appearance. Now, you can get pretty much any type of paint you want from the brand. Stores selling it include B&Q, Choiceful and Focus DIY.
- Founded in 1922, Leyland considers itself “the professional’s paint” and aims to provide no-nonsense, trusted and reliable products for trade customers. The brand is currently owned by an American conglomerate having changed hands several times in recent years, but it still operates from a factory in Yorkshire and claims to sell more litres of paint in the UK than the country’s population of adult males. The full Leyland product range includes more than 600 lines including emulsions, glosses and undercoats, floor paint, Truguard exterior range and the Contract range specifically designed for new work. Retailers selling Leyland paints online include Choiceful and Screwfix.
- Sanderson is well known for its fabric and wallpaper collections – but it also offers a range of paint in 120 subtle colours designed to complement its other products and those of leading rivals. Unsurprisingly, the Shades of Sanderson collection steers clear of brash and violent colours, instead offering a wide range of soft neutral tones, greys touched with blue or green, and just a few bold reds or yellow for contrast. You can buy the range in five different finishes from John Lewis – including tester pots and a paint shade card.
Wallpaper and wall coverings
- Since its foundation in 2000, Arthouse has quickly risen to become one of the leading names in wall decoration and coverings. From its base in a converted church in Rossendale, Lancashire, the company produces a wide range of designs from elegant historical patterns to sophisticated modern ones. Arthouse wallpapers and wall coverings are stocked by B&Q, which also has the ‘Sophie Conran for B&Q‘ range.
- Graham & Brown
- Graham & Brown was founded in the austere post-war years when paper was still in short supply – the company was forced to be innovative from the start and has carried this tradition on through the decades. As well as producing wallpapers under its own name, the company is also behind the famous Superfresco brand and has worked with a number of famous designers to produce lines in their own names. A wide range of the company’s labels are stocked by B&Q, including Graham & Brown itself, Superfresco, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Kelly Hoppen, Marcel Wanders and Monsoon.
- Harlequin is one of a number of brands in the Walker Greenbank Group, along with the likes of Morris & Co and Sanderson. It aims to be eclectic, with a wide mix of designs linked only by their style and glamour. Inspirations range from the traditional, such as English country gardens and classic French style, to the bright colours and witty designs of the children’s ranges and even some ideas from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Harlequin wallpapers and wall coverings are stocked by John Lewis, with collections including the floral Eternal and Passion, the striped Barcode, the funky Brighton and the children’s What a Hoot all represented.
- Morris & Co
- William Morris was the most influential designer of the 19th Century – and one of the foremost of all time. His fashionable Arts and Crafts decorating firm Morris & Co lives on as a brand in the Walker Greenbank Group, still distributing wallpapers and other interior design products based on his original patterns and on modern re-interpretations of them. Morris designs have a timeless appeal and will often make a strong statement in a room – the famous Fruit design linked to here makes a striking feature in the AllTheToolsYouNeed.com team’s living room, so we know what we’re talking about! You can buy selections from the Morris & Co range at John Lewis here.
- Like William Morris, Sanderson is another name that can trace its roots to the Victorian boom in home decoration – in fact, Sanderson bought out Morris & Co in 1940. Now part of the Walker Greenbank Group along with several other high-quality brands, Sanderson is considered the epitome of classic English design. Long famed for its strong patterns, inspiration for additions to its range of co-ordinating fabric and wallpaper collections usually comes from its historic pattern book – but it’s never been afraid to work with strikingly original designers and artists such as Picasso and Zandra Rhodes. Sanderson wallpapers and paints are stocked by John Lewis.