Tips For Choosing A Paint Finish

After you select paint colors for the rooms in your home, the next step is to choose the best paint finish. Interior paint finishes typically come in flat, eggshell, satin, enamel, semi-gloss, gloss, high gloss and matte. Selecting a paint finish is easy, but there's a few things to keep in mind before spending money on paint.

Flat Paint Finish:  

Flat interior paints usually cost less per gallon than eggshell, satin and semi-gloss paints. A flat interior paint finish is usually dull and non-shiny, but not all flat paints are truly flat in appearance. Not every flat paint can be cleaned without leaving marks on the wall. This is usually the case with cheap flat paints. The dull and chalky surface of flat paint is usually horrible for cleaning purposes.

Flat paint is great for hiding imperfections on walls and ceilings, because it absorbs light instead of reflecting light. Ugly drywall seams, or old plaster walls, can be hidden pretty well using a flat paint finish.

Flat paint appears dull after drying, but the finish looks really nice when painted on walls next to semi-gloss-painted trim and doors. Flat wall paints do not react well to moisture in most cases, so it's a bad choice for bathrooms, kitchens, or a back splash. Flat paints are usually good for touch-up. If you have kids or pets, touch-ups will be necessary eventually.

Eggshell & Satin Paint Finish: 

Eggshell and satin paints cost more per gallon than flat paint. Eggshell and satin paint finishes share a similar sheen, but some satin paints are slightly more shiny than eggshell. Both finishes are best painted on walls, but some people use either one for painting trim. 

Eggshell and satin wall paints provide a finish less shiny than semi-gloss and gloss. Walls coated with a quality eggshell or satin paint usually tolerate cleaning without leaving marks. You get what you pay for. Several paint brands also formulate their eggshell and satin paints for mildew protection, which is great for steamy bathrooms.

Eggshell and satin increase the visibility of drywall seams, pits and other wall and ceiling imperfections. Keep that in mind if your walls are plaster or beat up badly. The reflective nature of these paints also makes a room feel more spacious. Eggshell and satin wall paints are perfect for bathroom walls, ceilings, kitchens, kids room and high-traffic areas that accumulate dirt and need cleaning.  

 Semi-Gloss & Gloss Paint Finish:

Semi-gloss and gloss paints cost the most per gallon. Semi-gloss is commonly used for painting trim and doors. You can paint walls in semi-gloss too, but the extreme sheen is a little overwhelming, espeically when painted on a large wall. Painting walls in semi-gloss is also more likely to show marks from a brush and paint roller.

Gloss paint isn't a very popular paint finish, but it does provide a beautiful look when painted on doors and kitchen cabinets. Semi-gloss and gloss are very durable and super smooth, which is great for cleaning purposes. If you really want to make your trim, doors and molding pop in a room, choose a flat paint for the walls and either semi-gloss, or gloss paint, for the molding and doors.

Schedule Your Free Estimate!  


"I called Advantage Painting for an estimate on removing wall paper in my home. Matt the owner was on time for the estimate and was very friendly. He was very professional and did the job in less than a week! I was amazed with how clean and great of a job he did! I felt very comfortable with him being in my home and he is defintely is someone you can trust! I highly recommend you give him a call, you will not be dissapointed!"

--Jacqui Majesky

Island Lake, IL

" I would absolutely recommend Matt and anyone from his team at Advantage Painting Services. Great job, great price and flexible around my tight timeline."

-- Brad Miller

Crystal Lake, IL