Whether you’re planning to hire interior house painters or embarking on a DIY project, you might be wondering if it’s ever okay to use exterior paint inside your home. After all, interior and exterior paints are formulated differently, each with its own set of characteristics.

In this article, we’ll answer the above question by exploring the differences between exterior and interior paints and discussing scenarios where exterior paint might be considered. Then, we’ll provide practical insights to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s begin!

Should You Use Exterior Paint Inside Your Home?

Exterior Paint vs Interior Paint: How Are They Different?

First, let’s be clear about the differences between exterior and interior paints. Exterior paints are specially designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, UV rays, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. They protect the surfaces they cover, ensuring longevity and durability. On the other hand, interior paint prioritizes good looks. It comes in many different finishes, colors, and textures to enhance the look of your indoor spaces.

Where You Can Use Exterior Paint Inside Your House

  • High-Humidity Areas: For areas that are often damp, like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, using outdoor paint can be helpful. Outdoor paint doesn’t let moisture in easily, which can stop mold and mildew growth.
  • High-Traffic Zones: Exterior paint can withstand the wear and tear from daily use. Thus, it may be suitable for areas that experience heavy foot traffic, like hallways and entryways.
  • Specialized Surfaces: Certain surfaces, such as trim, doors, and window frames, are subject to more exposure and need extra protection. You can consider using exterior paint for these areas.

Factors to Keep in Mind

Before deciding to use exterior paint inside your home, here are some important factors to consider:

  • VOC Content: Exterior paints often contain higher levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) due to their weather-resistant additives. Be sure to choose low-VOC or VOC-free exterior paint options for interior use, as high VOC levels can affect indoor air quality.
  • Odor: Exterior paints may have a stronger odor than interior paints. It’s important to have good ventilation when you use exterior paint inside your home to help get rid of any smells that might linger.
  • Finish: Exterior paints typically have a flat, satin, or semi-gloss finish. Consider whether the chosen finish matches how you want your interior spaces to look.
  • Color and Aesthetics: While exterior paints offer more colors to choose from, they may not provide the same range of finishes as interior paints. Make sure that your exterior paint choice matches your interior design vision.

The Importance of Proper Preparation

Whether you choose interior or exterior paint, thorough surface preparation is key. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Surface Cleaning: Ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free from dust, dirt, and grease. Clean surfaces provide better adhesion for paint.
  2. Priming: Use a high-quality primer appropriate for the surface type. Primer enhances paint adhesion and promotes a uniform finish.
  3. Testing: Before applying exterior paint indoors, test the paint in a hidden area to assess how it looks and how long it dries.

Incorporating Exterior Paint Creatively

Should you decide to use exterior paint inside your home, consider it as a creative tool to achieve unique effects. Here are a few ways to use the paint creatively:

  • Faux Finishes: You can create faux finishes like stone or brick, adding character to your interior spaces.
  • Statement Walls: Make a bold statement by using exterior paint on an accent wall, creating a striking focal point in your room.
  • Reviving Old Furniture: Transform old furniture pieces with exterior paint to give them a new lease on life. Ensure proper surface preparation for a lasting finish.


The question of whether to use exterior paint inside your home hinges on your specific needs and preferences. While you can consider exterior paint for certain purposes, you should be mindful of factors like VOC content, odor, and finish. Proper surface preparation and testing are essential steps for a successful outcome.

In the end, your choice should match how you want your home to look and how long you want the paint to last. If you’re not sure, talking to a professional painter can help because they can give advice that fits your needs.

Elite NJ Painting – Your Trusted Interior House Painters

At Elite NJ Painting, we understand the importance of making the right choices when it comes to your home’s interior. As professional interior house painters, we’ve seen the difference that the right paint can make in enhancing your living spaces. Our expertise goes beyond the traditional, and we’re here to address your unique needs.

Our team is ready to provide expert guidance and transform your living spaces into works of art. Make the right choice for your home’s interior! Contact us today at 908-869-8799 for a free consultation and let us bring your vision to life. Your home deserves nothing but the best.