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The Pros and Cons of Different Paint Finishes

Choosing the right paint finish is important as it can make your room brighter and more vibrant. Different areas of your home will require different sheen levels depending on their usage and moisture tolerance.

Gloss is the highest sheen and most durable; it is a great choice for trim, doors, and cabinets as it can be easily scrubbed and cleaned. It can, however, show imperfections in surfaces so thorough surface preparation is crucial.

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Gloss is a shiny finish that can withstand a lot of wear and tear while looking sleek and modern. It’s a great choice for bold hues that create a vibrant atmosphere as well as classic neutrals that foster a cozy, calming space.

It’s highly moisture resistant and easy to clean. It also reflects light, so it’s perfect for doors and trim. It can highlight any imperfections on walls though, especially if there are bumps or texture variations. Touch-ups may be more challenging because it can highlight a new coat of paint with a different sheen level.

However, glossy finishes show dirt and dust easily, so they are not a good choice for high-traffic areas. This is why it’s important to consider a room’s purpose and how often it will be used before choosing a sheen level.


Satin paints fall right in the middle on the sheen scale between semi-gloss and flat. They are durable, and offer a slightly reflective sheen which brightens up the color. Like other gloss paints, satin can be wiped down and is more resistant to moisture than a flat or eggshell finish.

However, it’s not as forgiving as a low-sheen paint and will show up any imperfections on the walls. It is best used for interior walls where it will not be subject to frequent scrubbing but needs to be able to withstand the occasional spill or smudge.

It’s also a good choice for doors, trim, baseboards, and stair railings. It’s not ideal for high-moisture areas of the home such as bathrooms but can be used in the rest of the house if it will be well maintained.


On the sheen spectrum, eggshell sits between satin and flat paints. That’s one reason many painters use this finish. Like satin, eggshell is easy to clean and offers a nice soft glow. However, it has a bit more color reflectivity than flat or matte paints, and that extra bit of sheen helps to hide flaws in your wall surface.

Eggshell paint is great for rooms like living rooms, hallways, or bedrooms. However, since it does have a little bit of sheen, it’s not ideal for high-traffic areas like kitchens or bathrooms. These spaces are more likely to have grease splatters or water spots, so a satin or semi-gloss may be a better choice for those surfaces.

Also, like satin, eggshell isn’t as forgiving of painting errors as flat or matte finishes are. That added sheen highlights imperfections in your walls, so you’ll want to be very careful with your brush and roller strokes if you select this finish.


When you opt for a matte finish, your paint will be completely flat with very little shine. This type of paint does not reflect light so it hides imperfections on the surface, making it a good option for walls in bedrooms and living rooms where there is less foot traffic. It also works well on bumpier surfaces like exterior siding that has been repainted many times or even in older homes with layers of paint.

However, one of the main disadvantages of matte finishes is that they are harder to clean. This is because they tend to attract dust and dirt. You will need to use a mild cleaner and soft cloth or sponge when cleaning if you go with this type of finish.

The right paint sheen can make your interior painting project look amazing. It’s important to choose a sheen that fits your home style and meets the needs of the room that you are painting.

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