Understanding Different Paint Finishes

When embarking on the daunting task of decorating your home it is important to understand the difference between paint finishes. Choosing the right sheen level can help to transform the look of your walls so that you can make the most out of your space. Here is a little guide to help you along the way.


Matte/Flat Finish


· A matte paint finish is non-reflective which allows imperfections in walls and ceilings to be concealed more than other paint finishes. It also means that colours look as similar as possible in different light conditions. A matte finish is great in low traffic areas of the household such as bedrooms and interior walls, and is particularly effective on deeper shades of colour.


· It is important to keep in mind matte (flat) paint finishes are harder to keep clean than other paint finishes and so are not recommended for high level traffic areas in the household such as the kitchen or family room.

Eggshell and Satin

The clue is in the name as the eggshell finish looks like the surface of an egg.


· Unlike a matte finish, eggshell bounces light around the room but also resists the scuffs and strains of everyday living making it a better choice for heavy traffic areas than matte. An eggshell finish can also give a beautiful classic look to woodwork. Satin is similar, albeit with a slightly higher sheen than eggshell.



· Although you are able to clean eggshell it still can be quite difficult and therefore higher sheen paint finishes are better used where you are using a space frequently.

Semi-Gloss and Gloss

Unlike lower-gloss sheens, semi-gloss and glossy sheens create a bright, shiny look. They are both durable and aesthetically pleasing.


· Semi-gloss and gloss finishes are the best finishes for high traffic areas such as hallways, children's rooms and kitchens. These are areas of the household where walls are more likely to become scuffed and need cleaning. Semi-gloss and gloss finishes are the easiest paint finishes to clean. If your paint colour is dark and rich but you don't want a super shiny effect, step down at least one level on the sheen scale. This is because darker paint colours have more colorant in, which boosts sheen.


· Bright and shiny, these finishes are beautiful, but they do reveal any and every errant brushstroke or flaw on your walls. This therefore requires much more preparation work than other finishes require, which increases overall expense. Gloss paints themselves are pricier than those lower down the sheen spectrum. If you're not ready to commit to using gloss in a large area, we recommend using these finishes to highlight smaller details, such as trim, railings, shutters, and mouldings.

As you can see, different paint finishes are best used in the different areas of the house for different purposes. We hope this helps you to understand what finish is best for you. Have a look at the table below which further helps you to understand what paint finish is best where.


If you have any questions relating to this article, why not ask our Build team?

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