Flat, eggshell, satin or gloss? Choosing the right paint finish can make or break your room.
Put gloss on walls with shoddy drywall and you’ve got a major eyesore, but paint walls, trim and ceiling in a flat finish and you’ve sucked the life out of your room. So which finish should you choose? Here are the basics:
Flat or Matte
This paint has no shine to it at all. It’s great for disguising dents, bad patch jobs and other wall imperfections but doesn’t hold up so well to being cleaned. You’ll have to touch up matte paint more often than other finishes. Flat paint is a good choice for ceilings as, of course, they rarely need cleaning and the odds of the paint getting scratched are slim.
Eggshell has a bit more shine than a flat paint. It’s exactly as it sounds: the finish is like an eggshell. This paint finish is easier to clean but not shiny. Eggshell on walls is often combined with semi-gloss or gloss paint on trim. While it’s a good choice for living and dining rooms, a shinier paint is better for kitchens, bathrooms and even kids rooms.
Satin paint isn’t offered by all manufacturers. It has a bit of shine with smooth, velvety finish. It’s easier to clean than eggshell but not as shiny as semi-gloss. It’s a nice finish for woodwork, dining rooms and hallways, but won’t stand up to tough scrubbing, so it’s not a great option for kitchens or entryways.
Semi-gloss paint is easy to clean and has a nice sheen to it without being all-out reflective. As mentioned above, semi-gloss is often used for trim with a more matte finish like eggshell on the walls. It’s the perfect finish for kitchens, bathrooms and other spaces that are likely to get bumped, scratched or scribbled on, as the paint finish is long lasting and will stand up to scrubbing.
Gloss paints are the longest wearing and can be scrubbed without damaging or dulling the finish but the higher the shine, the more obvious the imperfections become. High gloss is great for bringing out architectural details in woodwork and moulding, and shine tends to enhance colour because of the way it interacts with light. Also, a gloss finish can help make small rooms look larger by bouncing light around the space.