Which Paint Finish Should You Use?

Choosing a paint color isn’t enough, you then have to decide which finish you would like for that color. The average person may not be knowledgeable about the various paint finishes, nor should they be. They just want their home painted and done nicely.


People tend to choose the most basic finish, which is a flat finish. This has no shine, no gloss and will look good on any wall. A flat finish is also referred to as matte, the two are practically interchangeable. A flat/matte finish is used for ceilings and walls. If a wall has some imperfections, a flat finish will not show it, which is one reason why this type of finish is used most of the time.

Moving up on the “shiny” spectrum is the eggshell finish. This finish has a little sheen/glow to it. Eggshell finish is typically used in living rooms and bedrooms.


Next up is a satin finish, which is one step glossier than eggshell. A satin finish is typically used in kids’ rooms, family rooms, and kitchens. As we move up in glossy finishes, the walls become easier to clean, which is good to keep in mind for parents of young children, especially messy ones. If your kids are always touching the walls and leaving fingerprints, you may want to go with a satin finish. I mean, how annoying is it when you just cleaned the walls and two minutes later, their hands are all over them. No matter how cute your kids are, the dirty spots on the wall aren’t as adorable. A satin finish can also be used in a bathroom, as long as there is good ventilation.


The next one up is a semi-gloss finish. This is typically used for trims, doors and door frames, and crown molding.

When asked what type of finish you would like your paint in, remember these guidelines and you can’t go wrong.