What’s the Difference Between Interior Paint and Exterior Paint?

Whether Indoor or Outdoor, isn’t Paint Just Paint?

Since the success of your project can depend on choosing the perfect paints for interior and exterior walls, the first step is learning the differences between the paints themselves.

What’s the Difference Between Interior Paint and Exterior Paint?

Paints for different purposes will have different properties. Their individual formulations are designed according to their primary protective abilities.

For example, interior paint is made to be scrubbed, resist staining, and allow for easy cleaning. Exterior paints are made to combat against the elements, fading and mildew.

When selecting paints for both the interior and exterior of a house, homeowners may find themselves frustrated by these options.

Interior Paint

When considering the interior paint, lots of questions may arise, like whether or not you can use exterior paint inside the house, interior paint on the exterior, or paint exterior paint on top of interior paint.

Interior paint selection should take into consideration the décor of the entire house, while the external paint should match the surroundings.

It is essential to select a basic colour for interior painting, putting into consideration the various rooms. For useful colour choices for the interior painting consider the following:

  • Natural Lighting
  • Room size
  • Colour of furniture and other elements of décor in the house

Your choice of colours for the interior paint should reflect the natural lighting in your house, match the size of the space in each of your rooms, and agree with the colours of the furniture and other décor .

Unlike exterior paint, interior paint may incorporate and take into consideration other painting designs and elements, like murals and decorative art for different rooms.

Murals are scenes painted on either a portion of, or the entire wall. These scenes can be derived from nature, artistic impressions or any other suitable category. Choose colours that suit the theme and look you want after considering all the above.

Exterior Paint

Homeowners must understand that the colour of their house is important, and will tell a lot about your home at first glance. They should also understand that the exterior colour selection is just as important as that of the interior. As mentioned above, we are often asked,

“Can I use interior paint on the exterior?”

The short answer is yes, but you should be aware of the potential shortcomings due the paint’s formulation. For example, will it weather properly?

The difference between interior and exterior paint is also distinct in that for exterior walls, you can opt for exceptionally bright and neutral colours. Also, remember the colour scheme of your house exterior includes consideration of the following:

  • Accent
  • Trim
  • Field

Accents are features like windows, doors, and shutters; trim includes frames, fascia, gutters, etc. Fields are large surfaces that need to be painted, like walls.

The difference between interior paint and exterior paint is that the primary colour in exterior paint is used for fields and other matching colours can be utilized for the trims and accents.


Coming up with the best finish for both the exterior and interior of your house is a demanding assignment, and depends on using a quality product to begin with, such as those offered by Benjamin Moore.

Since there are distinct differences between interior paint and exterior paint, the key is to identify the primary colours first. Homeowners should also know the size of the house, quality and cost of the paint.