Interior paint has come a long way in the 32,000 years since we started slapping it up against the sides of cave walls. That primitive mix of crushed charcoal, clay, and animal marrow has evolved into a sophisticated cocktail of pigments and resins able to resist scrubbing, stains, and mildew. Today, paint ranks among the most DIY-friendly—and thrifty—home-improvement materials, easy to brush or roll on and quick to transform the look and feel of a room with just a couple of gallons.
Paint companies continue to update their formulas, making them "green" by stripping out chemicals that are unhealthy for our families and the environment, boosting colorants for more vivid hues, and adding high-tech ingredients to provide greater durability. The problem is, paint aisles are now crowded with so many choices that it's hard to decide what to buy. And unless you know what you need and where to find it, each can looks pretty much the same.