Dulux Visualiser

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Decorating Glossary

Don't know your matt from your masonry paint? Check our our A-Z of all things painting and decorating.


Don’t know your matt from your masonry paint? Not familiar with a fitch? Well you’re not alone – the world of design and decorating is full of jargon and unnecessarily confusing terms. We’re here to demystify these for good, so you can spend less time deciphering instructions and get on with transforming your space for the better as speedily and as easily as possible.




Accent colour

A small colourful detail with a big impact – often in a contrasting colour. This can refer to accessories and furniture in a room, or a small area of colour on the wall.

Be inspired to use accent colour in your space with these four one-day projects


The moulding thats frame a window or door. It can also describe the coving around the top of a room that bridges the ceiling and wall. See also: Coving.

Authentic Origins

A hand selected range of beautiful authentic colours inspired by nature with a thick and creamy consistency that dries with a wonderfully flat finish.

Find out more about Authentic Origins and discover the colour range here

Angled brush

A paint brush with angled bristles designed to give greater accuracy when painting corners and edges. The idea is that it makes the fiddly jobs easier and quicker – once you try it you’ll wonder how you ever did without it!

Find out more about Dulux’s angled paint brushes here


A recess or niche; sometimes flanked by columns.

Advancing colour

A colour which appears to come towards you and ‘stands out’. Advancing colours are the darker, more light absorbing shades such as black, dark blue and rich red. Use an advancing colour when you want to draw attention to something, or create a scheme with wow-factor.




Bathroom+ Soft Sheen

Dulux Bathroom+ Soft Sheen is an exceptionally tough moisture and steam resistant paint. It contains a special formulation called MouldTec, which independent laboratory testing has proved to protect the paint against mould for five years, keeping your bathroom looking great for longer.

Find out more about Dulux Bathroom+ Soft Sheen and see all the available colours in the range here.

Banister / Baluster

Banisters are the posts supporting a handrail on a staircase. If turned in the form of ornamental columns they are more correctly termed 'balusters'.





Chroma is the measurement of the intensity or purity of a colour. It derives from the greek word chroma, meaning colour. The higher a colour’s chroma value, the more intense and saturated it is.

See also: Saturated.


Chromalock is a paint formulation created by Dulux and can only be found in our paints. It’s made from a resin that creates an invisible protective barrier around the colour on your walls, protecting them from the wear and tear of everyday life, meaning your colour will look beautiful for much longer. You can find it in our Endurance+ Matt, Kitchen+ MattFeature Wall Matt, and Bathroom+ Soft Sheen paint ranges.

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Confetti effect

The confetti effect is a fun and playful polka dot paint technique achieved by painting spots of your wall. Imagine how confetti looks when you throw it and you’re pretty much there! You can place your dots in a random pattern or line them up across the wall, and make your spots as big or small as you like.

Watch our how to video to see how easy it is to create this look at home

Colour of the Year

Every year, we pick a colour that we believe captures the mood of the moment – this is our Colour of the Year. Our global colour team speak to designers, trend forecasters and architects from across the globe to find out what trends are appearing, then come up with beautiful colour schemes and a colour to reflect these.

Find out how to use 2016’s Colour of the Year, Cherished Gold in your home

Cutting in

Cutting in refers to painting hard to reach or fiddly areas that rollers can’t get to with a brush (for example; edges of walls or around light switches and plug sockets). This is usually done before painting with a roller.

Also see: Angled Brush

Cupboard Paint

Dulux Cupboard Paint is specially designed to give your cupboards a new lease of life. It’s 10 times tougher than our conventional water-based satin paints, which means it’s hard wearing enough to stand up to everything that daily life throws at it! It’s a self-undercoating and water-based paint, which means it’s quicker and easier to apply with no need for a primer, and will dry quickly – so you can get on with cooking up a storm.

Find out more about our Cupboard Paint

Complementary colours

Colours which work together in a scheme and bring out the qualities of one another.

Cornice / Coving

An ornamental molding around the wall of a room, just below the ceiling.


Colours that lie opposite each other on the colour wheel. For example green and pink, or yellow and violet.




Dado rail

A decorative waist-high moulding round the wall of a room, which also protects the wall from damage.

Diamond Tough

Diamond Tough is the formulation that makes our paint 20 times more durable than our standard emulsion. It means you can wash and wipe your walls without the colour fading, so your home will stay looking beautiful for longer. Find it in our Endurance+, Kitchen+ and Bathroom+ Soft Sheen ranges.

Decorator’s masking tape

A low-tack masking tape which can be easily peeled of of surfaces without leaving any glue residue.

Drying time

The time it takes for a single coat of paint to dry fully.


Durability refers to the ability a paint has to withstand damage and wear and tear. For example, our Endurance+ range is 20 times more durable than our standard Matt emulsion. Durable products are particularly useful for high-traffic areas of the home such as hallways, kitchens, children’s bedrooms and bathrooms.





Eggshell has less of a sheen than silk or satin and it does look like the surface of an eggshell (the clue's in the name). It sits somewhere between matt and a silk finish and gives a beautiful classic look to woodwork – and can also be used on walls when you want a heritage style look with a tough finish. We have two products with Eggshell finishes; Dulux Quick Dry Eggshell, available in five beautiful colours, and Dulux Paint Mixing Eggshell, available to mix in any of our colours at MixLab stockists.


Endurance+ paint gives interior walls and ceilings a durable and washable finish making it really easy to remove stubborn, troublesome marks without damaging the paint or the colour. Specially formulated with Diamond Technology, it’s 20 times tougher than our conventional Matt paint. So your home stays looking good for longer – without the need for elbow grease. Endurance+ can also be mixed to any colour you like at our MixLab stockists. Find out more about Endurance+ Matt.

Earth colours

Earth colours refer to the colours of natural pigments such as ochres, browns, golds, clay and rust reds.





A fitch brush is a useful little brush for touching up small areas and getting into awkward nooks and crannies (like behind pipework and plus sockets). They can be flat or round.


In decorating, a facade refers to the front exterior of your home.

Frog tape

Another name for decorator’s tape. It’s a low-tack masking tape which can be easily peeled off surfaces without leaving a residue.





Gloss is a shiny finish designed for woodwork and it reflects lots of light – so is perfect for paler colours. You have to have a great surface to make it look its best, but it is hugely practical and adds a lovely contrast to walls that are painted in a matt.

Greyed / Greyed-off

Muted colours that have grey added to them.





Harmonising colours are colours that lie next to each other in the colour spectrum and on the colour wheel, such as green and blue, or red and orange.





The side posts or vertical columns either side of a door, window, arch or any other opening.




Kitchen+ Matt

Kitchen+ Matt is our exceptionally tough grease and stain resistance paint. It protects your walls against everyday cooking stains and thanks to its Chromalock technology, you can wash your walls without worrying about the colour fading. So even the busiest of kitchens will stay looking great for longer. Go to the Kitchen+ Matt page to see the whole range of colours.


As a paint term this refers to the slight roughness of a surface from sanding which enables a coat of paint to take to the surface. For example, you’d want to create a key if you were repainting woodwork.




Light + Space

Dulux Light + Space is a range of paint designed to make any room feel brighter and more spacious. It contains a patented LumiTec formulation, which works by using light-reflective particles to reflect up to twice as much light back into your room (compared to our conventional emulsion paint). It’s great for smaller spaces, or spaces with little natural light such as hallways, box rooms and basement rooms. It comes in a matt finish as well as Satinwood finish for woodwork. Find out more about the product and check out the colour range here.

LumiTec A special patented formulation found in our Light + Space paints (see above), which reflect up to twice as much light back into a room (compared to our standard emulsion paints).

Less Mess Matt/Silk

Accident prone decorators should make a bee-line for our Less Mess paints. Made with a special formulation which means they drip, splatter and fleck less than our normal paints, these products were designed for tackling ceilings as they allow the paint to be spread straight from the tray with little spatter or mess. Neat in more ways than one. Find out more here

Low-tack tape

A low-tack masking tape which can be easily peeled off surfaces without leaving a residue. Also sometimes called Frog Tape.

Lining paper

Lining paper is a plain wallpaper that’s used to cover minor imperfections in the wall surface and provide a better surface for hanging decorative wallpaper. It can also be used to even out a surface before applying paint.





Matt emulsion is a smooth and velvety paint that helps to hide imperfections as it doesn’t reflect light. The finish is the opposite of glossy and looks similar to paper. Matt finishes work well in any style of room, but work particularly well if you’re trying to achieve a classic or period look and feel. We have several matt paints, from hardwearing Endurance+ Matt, to simple Matt emulsion, and can make any colour that takes your fancy in a matt finish with our Paint Mixing Flat Matt range. Go to our product page to find out more.

Magic White Matt

Never miss a bit ever again with our Magic White Matt paint. It goes onto the wall pink, and an hour later; hey presto! It’s faded to white! It means you see where you’ve already painted and where you haven’t, so patchy finishes will be a thing of the past. Find out more on the Magic White Matt page.


Masonry is the brick or stone on the exterior of your home. We have lots of options for treating your masonry in the Weathershield range. Find out more here.

Mask Off

Masking off is simply using masking tape or paper to separate an area off for painting.


This is our special formulation that wards off nasty mould from walls. Independent laboratory testing has shown that the MouldTec formulation protects the paint against mould for five years, keeping your bathroom looking great for longer (no matter how much you make a splash)! You can find MouldTec in our Weathershield exterior products and in our Bathroom+ Soft Sheen paint.


MixLab is our fantastic colour in-store mixing tool that allows you to colour match any shade with Dulux paint. You can also tailor your finish so that it not only looks great, but works beautifully too. Find out more about MixLab in the video here.

Medium pile roller

A medium pile roller is a really versatile painting tool and is a must for your painting kit! It will give you superb coverage on smooth or lightly textured walls. The Dulux Perfect Cover Medium Pile Roller has a comfy handle to make painting a pleasure, as well as a built-in squeegee to help you get every last drop of paint off of the roller before washing.


Refers to black, white and tones of grey, so a monochrome colour scheme would use predominantly these shades.




Non Drip Gloss

Dulux Non Drip Gloss is a beautiful gloss paint that provides long-lasting protection and is easy to use thanks to its Non Drip formulation. It is self-undercoating, hardwearing, wipeable and suitable for use on interior and exterior wood and metal, including radiators. Find out more about Non Drip Gloss.

Natural Hints

Dulux Natural Hints is a range of subtle shades, inspired by nature and designed to bring a touch of subtle colour to your room. It comes in both Matt and Silk finishes and in a edited palette of 12 beautiful shades to help you narrow down your colour choice. See the whole colour range and find out more about Natural Hints here


Earthy colours inspired by natural elements like stone, sand and wood which work with everything! At Dulux, our neutrals are divided into Warm Neutrals and Cool Neutrals. The warm shades are great for bringing a welcoming, cosy feel to a space – they’d be just the ticket for north facing rooms which have a bluer light. Cool neutrals however, provide a gentle balance for rooms which are flooded with light or need opening out a little. Search our whole range of neutrals on our colour page.




Ombre effect

The ombre effect is a gentle colour gradient, where one colour gradually fades to another. It brings a lovely calm and serene feeling into a space. Find out how to recreate this look in our how-to video below


Opacity is the measure of how transparent something is. The higher the opacity, the less transparent it is and vice-versa. In decorating terms, this could refer to how well a paint covers a surface. For example, Dulux Once is a paint that’s specially formulated to be very opaque, so that it only needs one coat on your wall. Find out more about Dulux Once





A primer is a special type of paint that is used as a base coat (or undercoat) to help your paint stick to the surface you’re covering. Primers are most used on wood or metal, but sometimes walls need priming as well, especially if you’re painting on bare plaster or brickwork. Dulux Primer Undercoat for Multi Surfaces is a one pot wonder and is a great place to start if you’re not sure.


A plumb line is a handy little device that you can use to create straight lines. Essentially it’s made up of a weight, a piece of string, and a piece of masking tape. The idea is that you tie the weight to the end of the string, tape the other end to the top of the wall you want to paint, and let the string drop. Once it’s stopped swinging, the string will be straight, so you can use this as your guide for marking lines onto your wall. Easy!

Paint Mixing

Paint Mixing is our range of made-to-order colours, available online or at MixLab stockists. It means you can create your exact shade in whichever finish you need. Find your nearest stockist by clicking on the ‘Stockists’ tab at the top of the page.

Professional Liquid Gloss

Dulux Professional Liquid Gloss is a traditional gloss for use over Dulux Professional Undercoat. Its creamy consistency gives a perfect mirror-like finish. It can be applied on interior or exterior wood and metal surfaces to give long-lasting protection. Find out more about Professional Liquid Gloss

Perfect Colour Promise

Choosing a colour isn’t always plain sailing. But now with the Perfect Colour Promise if you don’t get your colour right the first time, you can get another one for free. If you’ve changed your mind about that colour, simply tell us why it isn’t right and we will send you a voucher for a replacement can. Find out more here


Pigment is the colouring found in natural materials that were originally used to make paints and dyes. When we refer to pigment nowadays, we’re simply talking about the substance added to the paint to create the colour itself.


Patchiness on walls can occur for a number of reasons. The main cause of a patchy wall is the surface of the wall not being prepared properly, so always make sure you read the instructions on the label.




Quick Dry

Our Quick Dry paints are water-based, which means they dry much quicker than traditional solvent-based paints. They also have the added benefit of having a low odour, so you can enjoy your freshly painted space almost immediately. Find out more about Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood and Dulux Quick Dry Gloss.





A reveal or return is a small recess of wall. For example, the area between a window and a wall, or an alcove. It also provides lots of opportunities to get really creative with your colour scheme!


Cool colours such as greens and blues are sometimes described as ‘receding’ colours. They appear further away to the eye than warm colours (such as reds or yellows), so they can work wonders in small spaces.





Removing the top layer of a surface with sandpaper in order to prime it ready for painting. Sanding a surface will help a coating adhere to it and provide a better finish.


A paint finish which reflects a little light. See Satin and Silk (below).

Satin and Silk

Satin and Silk are 'mid-sheen' finishes, which means they look like a slightly polished surface and reflect a bit of light. Silk is a finish associated with walls and satin for woodwork. You can wipe silk wall finishes easily which makes them very practical but if you have less-than-perfect walls, all the lumps and bumps may show up a bit more. A satin finish on woodwork helps to hide imperfections and gives colour a softer appearance.


Dulux Satinwood is designed to be used on woodwork such as skirting boards, window frames, doors and any other wooden surface. You can use it to customise wooden furniture too. Go to our Satinwood page to find out more and pick your colour.


A skirting board is the strip of wood that joins the walls and the floors.

Synthetic brush Synthetic brushes are perfect for all water-based interior finishes. The smooth texture and springiness of the bristles make it easier to achieve an even finish and make ‘cutting in’ (creating the straight lines between different surfaces) really easy. They are especially good for painting woodwork and furniture in water-based satin, eggshell and gloss finishes. Go to our brush page to find out more and to buy synthetic brushes.

Stiff bristle brush

A brush that’s used for cleaning, scrubbing and sweeping rather than for applying paint.


A cut out template that’s used for applying a pattern or design onto the wall using a brush or roller.


A type of plaster used for coating wall surfaces or moulding into architectural decorations. It’s often used for a building’s exterior.


A variation of colour.





In decorating terms, trim refers to the woodwork or smaller surfaces in a room (other than the walls or ceiling). This could include window frames, skirting boards and doors.

Travels in Colour

Dulux Travels in Colour is a range of paint colours inspired by beautiful places. 
Our experts at Dulux have selected a series of three coordinated colour palettes consisting of colours and neutrals that reflect the mood of the destination; Day at the Beach, Country Retreat and City Getaway. Any combination of colours from each palette work perfectly together to make it easy to create beautiful, contemporary colour schemes with the confidence of a great result every time. View our Travels in Colour range.

Two-tone effect

The two-tone wall effect is super easy to do, but looks really striking and contemporary. The bottom half of the wall is painted in a different shade to the top, so with the right colour combo you can create the illusion of a loftier ceiling.

Touch in

‘Touching in’ with paint means filling in small gaps or covering up small areas of damage with paint using a paint brush.

Tile Paint

Tiling is a tedious (and pricey) job, so if you’re looking for an update without the grout, tile paint could be your answer. Dulux Tile Paint is 10 times tougher and 10 times more shower resistant than our conventional water based satin paints which means that it won't peel off in areas continually soaked with water. It‘s also self-undercoating and quick drying. Find out more here.


A lighter or darker shade of a colour. Dulux show different tones of the same colour on colour mixing stripe cards.


Simply a hint of a colour. For example, you might say that Blueberry White has a blue ‘tint’ to it.





Upcycling is the toast of the interiors world right now, and for good reason. To upcycle something is to give something old a new lease of life, be it a piece of furniture, an accessory or a piece of clothing. Giving treasured things a lick of paint is the easiest and most impactful way of all to upcycle your belongings and make them truly original. Cheap, good for the environment and fun – what’s not to love? Here’s five things to upcycle to get you started.


The undercoat is essentially the layer of paint underneath the top coat, just like a primer. It help the top layer look smooth and professionally finished. Many Dulux products are self-undercoating, saving time and money.

Ultra White

Dulux Ultra White is an exceptionally tough, light reflective paint. Dulux Ultra White Matt is formulated to make any room brighter and is an extra tough emulsion paint. The patented LumiTec formulation in Ultra White works with light-reflective particles to reflect up to twice as much light back into your room and the Diamond Tough formulation makes it 20 times tougher, when compared to our standard emulsion paints. It makes any room feel brighter and more spacious and helps your walls withstand the rough and tumble of family life. Find out more here


UPVC is a type of plastic used to make double glazed windows and front doors. Previously, it was tricky to decorate as paint wouldn’t adhere to its surface. Now, however, paints have been developed to cover it, so you needn’t stick with white if you don’t want to. Weathershield Multisurface Quickdry Satin is a weatherproof formula that can be used on metal, wood and uPVC, and is guarented to last for six years.




Visualizer app

The Visualizer app is a handy little (free) tool that’s designed to help you see what our colours look like in your space, so you can narrow down the choice and get those testers ordered. Pick any colour and see it in your space in real time at the touch of a screen, then save your visualisations and share with friends and family to get a second opinion. It can also help you find colour palettes that complement your chosen shade, and find a colour to match the things you already own, like sofa upholstery, carpets or favourite artworks. Find out more and download it here


VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. These can be man-made or naturally occurring and are present in many products we use everyday, including paint. Dulux paints are almost all water-based, which means they contain a much smaller amount of VOCs than traditional solvent-based paints. It also means they have less odour, as VOCs are the substances that cause that paint smell, so you can get on and enjoy your freshly painted spaces as soon as your walls have dried!





Nearly all of our paints are water-based. Not only is it kinder to the environment, but it means much easier and quicker cleaning of equipment. And if you have a little paint spillage? No problem – our water-based products can be washed off in no time. Finally, water-based paints dry super fast, meaning less waiting around in between coats – so you can enjoy your new-look space almost straight away.


Dulux Woodsheen gives beautiful, long lasting colour and durable protection to wood surfaces inside and outside of your home. Its special formulation stains and varnishes in one, locking colour into the wood. The surface is sealed and hardened to protect it from everyday wear and tear. Dulux Woodsheen is suitable for doors, windows, skirting, furniture, porches, cladding, facias and shelving. Find out more here





Yellowing refers to the discolouration of gloss solvent-based paints over time. This is due to the VOCs (Volatile Organics Compounds) in the paint formulation – it’s a common problem faced by decorators and homeowners alike, but there is a solution! Dulux water-based paints are a great alternative and have many benefits over traditional solvent-based paints, one of which is that the paint won’t yellow. Find out more about Dulux Quickdry Gloss.

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