Interior Design

Wait, There’s Such a Thing as Anti-Bacterial Paint?

Plus, 6 other special-ingredient paint trends we've been hearing about.

January 25, 2021
Photo by Vintage Revivals / Sherwin Williams

I spend a great deal of time thinking about interior paint—flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, high-gloss—and have amassed quite a collection of half-used cans myself. I also grew up in a house of cabinet-makers and DIYers, and have learned a heck of a lot of home finishing info along the way. So when a new paint invention comes along—or I’ve just heard of it—you best believe I’m listening up.

Below are some of the paint trends we’ve been hearing all about lately, from sanitizing to highly textured—and you’re going to want to add them to your arsenal.

Sanitizing Paint

I am not a scientist, and therefore have no business explaining the intricacies of how wall paint actually kills germs, but as part of their Living Well collection, Sherwin Williams has developed a paint that claims to do just that. This paint keeps walls sanitized 24/7, killing 99% of bacteria (just like your fave hand sanitizer!), and remains effective for up to four years. I mean… my kitchen and bathroom needs to get repainted in this stuff like, yesterday.

Air-Purifying Paint

Speaking of Sherwin Williams’ Living Well collection, it also includes paint that *purifies the air*. I read about this and said, hang on, isn’t paint notorious for clogging up the air we breathe? Well, apparently we don’t have to be breathing in noxious fumes while redecorating, who woulda thunk. This paint claims to reduce harmful VOCs and breakdown odors from sources like carpets, cabinets, and fabrics.

Portola Roman Clay

You know how your Airbnb in Paris had gorgeously textured walls with organic shades and shadows—connoting a time long-before you arrived to scarf down pain au chocolat? So dreamy. Well, you actually can get this kind of finish on your new-build drywall, and you don’t have to be an expert Roman plasterer to do it. Portola’s Roman Clay finish is pre-tinted and pre-mixed, requiring just two to three coats applied with a putty knife. The fun part (besides that it’s hard to mess up) is that you can control how much or how little texture you want, it all depends on how much pressure you use.

Portola Limewash

Similar to their Roman Clay formulation, Portola’s lime wash provides a lot of visual interest, but this time with color variation instead of physical texture. While traditional limewash paints only work on raw plaster, stucco, or cement, this one can be applied right on existing drywall. The secret is the undercoat, that once dried, reacts with the lime paint brushed on top to create a delightfully weathered look.

Vermont Natural Coatings

If you’re concerned about VOC-emissions and are looking towards a safer paint alternative, one of our community members highly recommends eco-conscious brand Vermont Natural Coatings. Their formulas use “plant-based binder technology with polymerized whey proteins,” in place of the more toxic ingredients found in commercial paints. They’re super low-VOC and have a neutral odor, so you can breathe easier while overhauling your kitchen.

Speckled Spray Paint

I bet you’ve seen the stone-effect speckled spray paint in the hardware store before and wondered if they actually work—well yes, they do. Adding a coat of this stuff to any smaller project makes it look as if it came out of a kiln, and I’m willing to bet a layer on a wall would have a similarly cool effect.

Acrylic Paint + Baking Soda

Okay, so this one isn’t a pre-existing paint, but it’s ridiculously easy to mix yourself. The past year or so has been dominated with at-home DIYers trying their hand with the super gritty and textured mix of paint and baking soda—on upcycled glass bottles, terracotta pots, wall art, you name it. If you so desired, you could absolutely transfer this finish trend onto your walls, mixing 1:1 batches as you go. The resulting effect will be something like stone or plaster, but much, much less expensive.

What's your go-to interior paint? Tell us below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate and Skimlinks affiliate, Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.