Color isn’t the only thing to consider when painting a room. Finishes can completely change the look of the color you’ve chosen as well as the space you’re putting it in!
With so many combinations to choose from, the paint aisle can be overwhelming and confusing. This guide will familiarize you with different finishes, how they look, and in which rooms they do best.
Flat and Matte
Starting with no-sheen finishes, we have matte and flat. These are non-reflective and have a smooth finish that makes them perfect for hiding any imperfections in your walls like nail holes and scratches.
They are not as stain-resistant, and if wiped down often, the paint will wear quickly. However, they are easy to touch up!
Choose these in low traffic areas like adult bedrooms and on ceilings.
One small step higher on the sheen-scale is eggshell with just a bit of shine to it. That extra shine makes it a lot easier to clean and more scrape and scuff resistant. It is perfect for medium traffic rooms like hallways and dining rooms.
Eggshell is one of the most popular finishes amongst professionals and amateurs and very softly reflects the color, giving the room it’s in a beautiful glow.
While it is in the name, this finish isn’t limited to the classic off-white color. Instead, any color added will have a mid-range, pearly sheen that reflects light gently.
It is easy to clean, and because of this, it is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. The downside? It can show painting mistakes very easily, so be sure to follow the best painting practices with a pearly finish!
Up next is one of the most versatile and widely used finishes, satin. Often confused with eggshell, satin is a bit more glossy and reflective. Moisture resistant, it holds up extremely well in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
It is the toughest finish we’ve talked about so far and would also suit playrooms and children’s bedrooms.
When prepping, be sure to completely remove any peeling paint, fill in and sand down any imperfections, as they are not well hidden under satin.
This one will give you the brightest whites and the sleekest rooms. One more step up on the reflective scale, semi-gloss is very easy to clean and resists moisture you would find in a kitchen or bathroom. It is also a great, durable choice for doors and kitchen cabinets that get used roughly every day.
Like satin, though, semi-gloss will shine a light on all wall imperfections, so make sure they’re as smooth as possible before rolling on paint.
At the top of the reflection pyramid is high-gloss. Aptly named, this finish will give your walls a luxurious, almost wet look. High-gloss is an adventurous choice for an accent wall and will show off architectural elements like trim and molding. It is also a popular choice for shutters and window casing to add head-turning curb appeal.
Semi and high-gloss often take more coats when painting than the lower sheen finished, so again, you must make sure you’re painting on a clean, smooth surface!
As you’re taking all of this information in, try to remember that choosing paint colors and finishes should be fun!
Just keep these few things in mind:
- Quality - the higher quality, the better the paint pigment, and the fewer applications needed.
- Cleanliness - choose the right finish for the amount of cleaning you think that room will need.
- Family/Kid-Friendly - based on your lifestyle, decide the level of durability you’d like your walls to have!