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Choosing the Right Paint Finish

choosing paint finish

Choosing the right color of paint can be a tough choice. There are so many different colors to choose from and it can be easy to second guess yourself. To make matters even more complicated, you have to consider the type of finish the paint has as well. The same color of paint can look much different depending on its finish. To help simplify things for you, we have compiled some tips for choosing the right paint finish.

Things to Consider

  • Finishes differ due to the difference in sheen (how much light is reflected)
  • The higher the sheen, the more vibrant the color is and the easier it is to clean
  • How confident you are in your painting skills
  • How much foot traffic the area receives 
  • What kind of texture you are painting on

Types of Finishes


Flat or Matte

bedroom painted red

These finishes offer no shine and can be challenging to clean. However, they will cover up any imperfections the surface may have. Because they absorb light, they are generally truer to color than other finishes. Flat and matte finishes usually require fewer coats and are easier to make touch-ups to making them the most cost-effective. Painters use paint with a flat or matte finish on ceilings and bedroom walls without kids. 

Eggshell and Satin

sherwin williams Main Entry Area Yellow View 2


These finishes are the middle ground when it comes to paint. Eggshell gets its name from the eggshell like texture you see when viewed at an angle in the light. They are more durable than flat finishes and are suitable in just about any room. Satin is the next level up in sheen from eggshell. Like eggshell, it is a versatile finish that can be used in most areas and is relatively easy to clean. For most people, their best bet is choosing one of these finishes.

Semi-Gloss and High-Gloss

high-gloss frame

If you want the most pop from your color, paint with a semi or high-gloss finish is the best option. These high sheen finishes are also the most durable making them great for heavy traffic areas. They can be cleaned easily and are resistant to water and stains. However, they will expose every imperfection the surface has. That includes both the surface itself and your brushing skills. If you didn’t do too good of a job painting, a high sheen finish will highlight what you did wrong. They are best used to showcase smaller components like cabinets, trims, moldings, and even doors.

If you are still confused about the differences and are unsure of what finish you should choose for your home, schedule a free appointment with one of our experts today!

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