Best Paint Shops


Photograph courtesy Flickr/wsilver

Just because your plans for that second wing are on hold doesn’t mean you have to snuff out your decorating impulses entirely. A few gallons of paint can transform your home, and paying for those dazzling coats won’t require a second mortgage. Whether you’re on the hunt for environmentally sound paints or the perfect color match, here are four independent stores that won’t give you the brush-off.

First Blush 
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Jill’s Paint has been a neighborhood fixture for decades instead of several years—the vintage ephemera adorning the walls and the familial manner of manager-brothers Sam and Bob Villarroel have that effect. A full range of Benjamin Moore products is offered, along with hard-to-find brands like Mythic (one of five options that are free of smelly volatile organic compounds—aka VOCs—available). “Jill of all Trades” Peggy McCloud—the owner and “Jill” of the store’s name—is also an oenophile who opens her private cellar for complimentary tastings each afternoon. » 3534 Larga Ave., Atwater Village, 323-664-9067.

Down to Earth 
An outsize fire-engine-red door marks the entrance to Par Paint. The shop stocks everything from the more affordable varieties of Pratt & Lambert ($17 to $39 a gallon) to the costlier Fine Paints of Europe ($39 a quart). The extensive inventory includes the LEED-approved AFM Safecoat line as well as nontoxic supplies like caulk, cleaners, and tools made of recycled materials. DIY-ers, take note: The place closes at 2:30 on Saturdays (and like most paint stores is closed Sundays). With three staff members on hand at all times, there isn’t usually a wait, no matter when you go. » 1634 W. Temple St., Echo Park, 213-413-4950.

Perfect Cover 
We were feeling slightly dazed in the presence of the poster-size swatches and samples at Mann Brothers Specialty Paints & Supplies, but the guys behind the counter were quick to volunteer guidance. Don’t mistake the zeal for obsequiousness; the staff is not afraid to steer you clear of disastrous aesthetic choices. The store also carries what may be the world’s fanciest painter’s caps, embellished with rhinestone spiders. » 758 N. La Brea Ave., L.A., 323-936-5168.

Palette Cleanser 
At Cox Paint, you can bring in just about any object for color matching (and we mean any—the shop once replicated the hue of an eggplant). The store’s team uses technology and artistry to create each shade. The smaller Santa Monica location caters to an upscale clientele and features a spacious consultation area complete with a color specialist who can help navigate the vast collection of wall coverings and paints from such high-end brands as Farrow & Ball. » 11153 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-838-2284 and 1130 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-393-7208.