5 Types of Paint Finishes & How to Choose The Right One

When it comes to painting, most people focus on their preferred colour and give it no more thought. But, did you know that the paint you choose for your interior walls also comes with different finishes? From matte to glossy, the type of paint finish you choose can add a lot to your favourite colour.

Painting walls or furniture can add a lot to your house, transforming the entire feeling of a room. Before you start your next painting adventure, it is a good idea to understand the different paint finishes and how they will look in your space.

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Paint finishes can completely transform the final look of a specific colour, and it is up to you to make the right choice to give your house the look that you want. There are also some things to consider when making a choice regarding your final paint finish, such as the traffic in the room or the surface you are painting on.

Read on to find out more about the different paint finishes and how you can choose the right finish to complement your space.

Common Types of Paint Finishes

1) Matte paint finishes

Flat paint, or matte paint, has a lot more pigment than the other types of finishes. It has very little sheen and delivers a velvety texture. It does not reflect any light and is great for covering imperfections on your walls, like cracks. Because it has a lot of pigment, it offers excellent coverage.

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Chalk paint is a very popular paint with a matte finish, which does not show the brush strokes.

The only downside of matte paints is that they are difficult to clean and can attract dust.

2) Eggshell paint finishes

Eggshell paint is soft with a very dull sheen. It is called “eggshell” because it resembles the texture and shine of the shell of an egg.

Eggshell covers wall imperfections and is easier to clean than flat paint. It is most often used on window frames and window sills because of its smooth appearance.

Eggshell paints also have a low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content, meaning they are safe to use indoors and are great for walls and ceilings.

3) Satin paint and silk finish

A satin paint finish has the same kind of shine as a pearl. It is excellent to use on wood or trims in the home. This type of finish also works well in kitchens and bathrooms because of its resistance to water damage, as it is easier to clean than eggshell and matte finishes.

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This type of paint finish is not great at covering imperfections on the walls, and if you have to touch it up, the marks will be clearly visible. It is a great paint for high-traffic areas because it is so easy to clean.

4) Semi-gloss paint finish

Semi-gloss paint has a glossy finish that reflects a lot of light. It is great to brighten up a dark wall as it allows light to travel.

It is resistant to moisture, making it a great paint for bathrooms, and it is also incredibly easy to clean.

The unfortunate part of semi-gloss finishes is that they clearly show any imperfections and are very difficult to apply.

5) High-gloss paint finish

High-gloss and supper gloss paints have a glossier finish than any of the other paints. They have the ability to almost completely reflect light, brightening up a dark room.

This type of finish is very popular on feature walls, and it is even used in commercial kitchens because it is so durable and easy to clean.

What Paint Finish is Right For Me?

There are several factors you need to consider when deciding which of the five paint finishes is perfect for you.

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Level of traffic in the room

The paint finish you apply needs to consider how much traffic will be moving through that room. Flat paint does not handle traffic well, making it a great paint for ceilings in a room that is not frequently used.

High-traffic areas, like hallways or kids’ rooms, will require a more durable paint finish, like semi-gloss or satin.

How much shine do you want?

Different types of paint finishes are classified in accordance with their level of shine. Therefore, when picking a finish, you should think about how much shine you want in your room or the surface you plan on painting.

Paint with a higher sheen will show more surface imperfections, while matte paint is great at covering cracks and chips. In rooms where there is not a lot of natural light, high-gloss paints are a better option to brighten the room.

Wall imperfections and surface type

The number of surface imperfections will play a role in determining the type of finish you choose.

If you plan on painting a brick wall in your rustic kitchen, you may want to consider a glossier paint that will highlight the imperfections. On the other hand, if you want your walls to have a smooth appearance, then interior paint with a lower sheen would be preferred.

Should it be kid-friendly?

If you are planning on using the paint in an area where toddler fingers can reach, then it is best to use a paint that is easy to clean, such as semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes.

Best Paint Finishes to Use in Different Rooms and Surfaces

Below are our tips on the best types of paint finishes to use in different rooms

Best for walls

You can go wild with the type of finish you want to use on your walls. The type of finish you use will also depend on the traffic in the room as well as what room it is. Generally, semi-gloss and gloss are good for kitchen and bathroom walls, while matt or satin finishes are great for ceilings.

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Best for ceilings

Since ceilings very rarely get dirty or touched, a flat finish is an affordable option.

Best for cabinets and trims

Semi-gloss or satin finishes will work best on cabinets and trims. These finishes are durable, resistant to moisture, and also easy to clean.

Best for bedrooms

The paint finish will have to be determined based on who’s bedroom it is. A master bedroom or guest bedroom can be painted with an eggshell or matte finish. A children’s room will probably get dirtier, and it would be best to use a higher-gloss paint that cleans easier.

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Best for living rooms

An eggshell finish is highly recommended for living rooms as it has the perfect amount of sheen to cover any imperfections but is also fairly durable if the room sees a lot of traffic.

Best for kitchens

Semi-gloss paint will work well in the kitchen (especially as a backsplash behind the sink or stove) as it is easy to clean and also moisture resistant.

Best for bathrooms

A higher paint sheen will be the best paint finish for your bathroom. Semi-gloss and high-gloss paint is durable, resists moisture, and is easy to clean.

Final Thoughts

Understanding more about the different paint finishes will help you to find the perfect paint to use in different areas of your house. Our guide above will help you select the ideal finish to get your desired look.

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