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Best satinwood paint 2023: Our pick of the best quick-dry, one coat and water-based satinwood paints

Achieve that perfect, mid-sheen finish with the best satinwood paints you can buy right now

Whether you’re touching up the skirting boards or planning a big interior redesign, finding the best satinwood paint for your specific project is key. And while you’d be forgiven for not spotting the difference between the various brands of mid-sheen white, choosing the right paint will make the painting process and end result that much better.

Satinwood paint has risen in popularity over the last few years. Its medium-sheen gives a more contemporary look to doors, windows and skirting boards than traditional gloss paint. Most satinwood paints are also a great choice if you’re looking to paint a radiator or any exposed metal pipework, and can even be used on kitchen and bathroom walls.

READ NEXT: The very best paint for radiators

It’s hard-wearing, easy to clean and usually very straightforward to use. While it’s most commonly found in only one or two shades of white, some brands offer a wider range of colours, giving you the option to truly personalise your space.

To help you navigate the seemingly endless paint aisle, we’ve put together a list of the best satinwood paints for any project, including the best quick-dry, one-coat and budget paints on the market today.

Best satinwood paint: At a glance

How to choose the best satinwood paint for you

What is the difference between satinwood paint and other finishes?

Satinwood paint is a mid-sheen paint, sitting somewhere between the flat, non-reflective finish of matte paint and the shiny, highly reflective finish of gloss paint. While matte paints are good for walls and ceilings, they’re not particularly hard-wearing and can be difficult to clean without damaging the paint, making them unsuitable for any busy, high-use areas.

Gloss paints have been the go-to for windows, doors and skirting boards due to their robust nature and ability to be wiped clean, but are falling in popularity because of the dated finish and tendency to yellow over time.

Eggshell paints are closer in sheen to satinwood, but are a little more matte. Again, these are better suited to walls and ceilings as they aren’t as durable as satinwood.

What do I need to consider when choosing a satinwood paint?

Not all satinwood paints are suitable for all projects, and taking the time to make sure you pick a range that suits your needs is time well spent.

Oil- vs water-based

Satinwood paints can either be oil- or water-based. While both can be used for most jobs, it’s always worth reading the tin to make sure the paint you’ve chosen is suitable for what you have in mind.

Oil-based satinwood paints often have a stronger smell and can leave lingering paint fumes for a few days, so they might not be ideal for poorly ventilated areas or rooms you want back in action quickly. Oil-based paints can also yellow over time, especially in areas with little or no natural light. Brushes will also need to be cleaned using either white spirit or brush cleaner.

Water-based satinwood paints are, by and large, much easier to apply, but as they are less opaque, may require more coats. Cleaning up after using water-based satinwood paint is also much easier, with just hot, soapy water doing the trick.

READ NEXT: Our favourite paint for furniture

Costs and time

Another key consideration is budget, in terms of both time and money. If you’re hoping to make good time on your project, a quick-dry or one-coat paint is definitely for you.

For those looking to save money, make sure you don’t choose a cheap paint that needs to be reapplied multiple times. You might end up spending as much, or more, than you would have done had you chosen a more expensive brand requiring only one or two coats.

The best satinwood paint you can buy in 2023

1. Crown Solo One Coat Satin Paint: The best one coat satinwood paint

Price: £28 for 2.5L | Buy now from Amazon

While some “one-coat” satinwood paints don’t quite live up to their name, this range from Crown really does what it says on the paint tin. Unless you’re painting over a very dark colour, you should only need to apply one layer for a professional, fully opaque finish. And while its thick consistency gives great coverage, it does so without being hard to apply, drippy or prone to running. It also boasts a decent drying time of six to 12 hours, which is even better when you consider that once that first coat is dry, you’re ready to go.

For such a great paint, it’s disappointing that it doesn’t come in any colours other than the standard pure brilliant white. But the elegant, soft mid-sheen and almost velvety-looking finish make it perfect for any home. It’s oil-based, so brushes will need to be cleaned with brush cleaner, and as with all oil-based paints, you should also make sure you keep the area well ventilated while painting and drying. After it’s fully dry, any future scuff marks or stains can be cleaned off without damaging the paint, making it perfect for high-traffic areas.

Key SpecsPaint base: Oil; Approx. coverage: 12m2 per litre; Touch-dry time: 6 hours; Recoat time: N/A, but fully dry in 16 hours; Other colours available: No

2. Johnstone’s Aqua Satin: The best satinwood paint for colour choice

Price: From £24 for 2.5L | Buy now from The Paint ShedThis innovative and unique paint from Johnstone’s is hugely popular among professional decorators, but can easily be used by anyone at home. While labelled by Johnstone’s as water-based, it is also mixed with a small amount of oil, resulting in very clever satinwood paint with all the benefits of both oil- and water-based paints, with very few of the downsides. The solid coverage, smooth application and low odour make it a pleasure to paint with, and its quick dry and recoat time of four to six hours is a huge added bonus.

Perhaps the best feature of the Aqua Satin range, though, is the incredibly wide variety of colours. While there’s an impressive range of neutrals and pastels, you can also find this satinwood paint in everything from rich, dark reds to bold, bright blues, making it perfect for those looking to create a unique and vibrant space.

Aqua Satin should be applied over Johnstone’s Aqua-based Primer, which will add to the cost, but it still remains an affordable option. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not quite as easy as standard water-based paint to clean from your brushes. While soap and water will get rid of most of the paint, a quick dunk in white spirit will get at any remaining paint and keep your brushes in good shape.

Key SpecsPaint base: Oil and water hybrid; Approx. coverage: 10-12m2 per litre; Touch-dry time: 1-2 hours; Recoat time: 4-6 hours; Other colours available: Yes

Buy now from The Paint Shed

3. Leyland Trade Satinwood: The best cheap satinwood paint

Price: £15 for 2.5L | Buy now from Amazon

This satinwood paint from Leyland is an excellent all-rounder. Suitable for almost all projects, it’s easy to use, long-lasting and durable. While it will need two coats to get the fullest coverage, a little goes a very long way, and as you don’t need to use primer, it’s great for those on a budget.

It can be applied with either a paint brush or a foam roller, and getting a smooth surface with no streaks or drips is easy, even for beginners. Although it should always be applied in a well-ventilated area, it has a much weaker odour than other oil-based satinwood paints.

One downside is that it does take quite a while to fully dry, so isn’t the best choice for a job you need done quickly. But once applied, it should look as good as new for a long time. It only comes in white, but it’s such a useful paint that it’s definitely worth keeping a tin in the shed for use all around the house.

Key SpecsPaint base: Oil; Approx. coverage: 20m2 per litre; Touch-dry time: 4 hours; Recoat time: 16-24 hours; Other colours available: No

4. Dulux Quick-Dry Satinwood Paint: The best quick-dry satinwood paint

Price: £24 for 2.5L | Buy now from B&Q

While rushing a paint job is never a good idea, if you’re short on time or keen to get everything back to normal as soon as possible, a quick-dry satinwood paint is definitely a smart investment. While other quick-dry brands can sacrifice quality for a speedy drying time, this range from Dulux feels more like high-quality paint that just happens to be touch-dry in only an hour or two.

This Dulux paint will usually only need one or two coats, and is ready to recoat after six hours, meaning you can easily complete a decent-sized painting project in under a day. Cleaning up is a cinch, too. Given the great sheen and decent coverage, you may be surprised to hear that this satinwood paint is actually water-based, meaning brushes and rollers can be cleaned with just soapy water.

Because it’s water-based, this paint will also never yellow with age, making it a perfect paint for any areas that might not get a lot of sunlight, such as skirting boards behind furniture and the inside of cupboards. It also comes in a great range of colours, although mostly pastel or neutral shades.

Key SpecsPaint base: Water; Approx. coverage: 16m2 per litre; Touch-dry time: 1-2 hours; Recoat time: 6 hours; Other colours available: Yes

Buy now from B&Q

5. Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood Paint: The best water-based satinwood paint

Price: From £47 for 2.5L | Buy now from The Paint Shed

The Diamond Satinwood from Dulux’s Trade range is a great example of a water-based paint that doesn’t sacrifice quality for any of the usual benefits. It’s low odour, quick to dry, easy to clean up after and won’t start yellowing with age. It even comes in a huge range of colours. While it’s a little more pricey than some other satinwood paints, its hard-wearing, durable finish and great coverage make it a perfect substitute for the more common oil-based versions.

You will need to make sure surfaces are clean, sanded and primed before applying, and be prepared to add two coats to get full coverage. You should make sure you apply this in a thin layer, and correct mistakes and catch drips as you go. But once you’ve got the knack of it, the lack of a strong odour and a fuss-free clean-up might well convert you to using only water-based satinwoods going forward.

Key Specs – Paint base: Water; Approx. coverage: 12m2 per litre; Touch-dry time: 2 hours; Recoat time: 6 hours; Other colours available: Yes, a wide range

Buy now from Wickes (white only)