Choosing the Right Paint Finish: Matte, Satin, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss, and More

Posted by Tommy Ekstrand on 20th Sep 2023

When it comes to selecting the perfect paint finish for your project, understanding the different sheens available is essential. Each sheen has its own set of characteristics that make it suitable for specific areas while less ideal for others. In this guide, we'll delve into five common paint finishes—Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, and Semi-Gloss—and help you determine where to use them and where to avoid them.

The Paint Finishes Breakdown:

Finish Recommended Areas Not Recommended Areas
  • Ceilings - Low-traffic areas
  • Formal dining rooms
  • Imperfections on walls
  • High-traffic areas
  • Kitchens and bathrooms
  • Children's rooms
  • Areas prone to moisture and stains
  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Walls with imperfections
  • High-traffic hallways and entryways
  • Kitchens and bathrooms
  • Areas requiring frequent cleaning
  • High-moisture environments
  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Hallways
  • Dining rooms
  • High-traffic kitchens and bathrooms
  • Children's play areas
  • Areas requiring heavy-duty cleaning
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Children's rooms
  • Trim and molding
  • Ceilings
  • Low-traffic areas
  • Areas with wall imperfections
  • Formal dining rooms
  • Kitchens (cabinets)
  • Bathrooms (cabinets, trim)
  • Doors and windows (exterior)
  • High-traffic areas (e.g., hallways)
  • Areas prone to moisture (e.g., kitchens, bathrooms)
  • Bedrooms
  • Living rooms
  • Ceilings

Flat Finish: When to Use and When to Avoid

Flat paint is known for its velvety, non-reflective surface, making it ideal for ceilings, formal dining rooms, and walls with minor imperfections. However, it's not recommended for high-traffic areas, kitchens, bathrooms, or places prone to moisture and stains.

Matte Finish: Finding the Right Balance

Matte paint strikes a balance between flat and eggshell. It's suitable for living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways, especially when walls have imperfections. Avoid using it in high-traffic areas and high-moisture environments.

Eggshell Finish: Versatile and Subtle

Eggshell is versatile and works well in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and dining rooms. It provides a subtle sheen while hiding minor imperfections. However, it's not the best choice for high-traffic areas or places that require heavy-duty cleaning.

Satin Finish: For a Slight Shine

Satin is perfect for kitchens, bathrooms, children's rooms, and trim or molding. Its slight shine is easy to clean, but it's less suitable for ceilings and areas with wall imperfections.

Semi-Gloss Finish: Durability and Shine

Semi-gloss is highly durable and great for kitchens, bathrooms (cabinets and trim), doors, windows (exterior), and high-traffic areas. Avoid using it in bedrooms, living rooms, and on ceilings.

Choosing the right paint finish ensures your project looks great and lasts longer. Consider the specific requirements of your space to make the perfect choice.

Remember, paint finishes play a vital role in both aesthetics and functionality. Make an informed decision to achieve the desired results for your next painting project.