How to Choose the Best Paint Finishes for Your Home

While there are thousands of paint colors, there are only five different finishes that you will have to consider for your home. Even though different paint companies may refer to them by varying names, you’ll have a choice of flat, semi-gloss, satin/eggshell and high-gloss. While these differences are based on pigmentation and resin levels, the real issue is how each reacts with different surfaces and their suitability for different areas. Here you will discover what you need to consider when choosing the finish for the new paint in your home. 



If a paint is listed as flat, it means that the finish is one that is matte or chalky. This type of paint doesn’t reflect much light, and that makes it a great option for areas that have cracks, bumps or other imperfections. Another benefit of flat paint is that is covers rough or textured surfaces a bit easier than some of the other finishes. You will, however, want to avoid using flat paint in areas like the kitchen and bathroom, as they are harder to clean and tend to show stains easily.


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An eggshell finish has a bit more luster than the flat finishes, but not enough that your walls will appear shiny after using it. This option resists stains better than flat, and it is much easier to wipe down with a rag – some flat paints will transfer color if you try to clean them. If you are looking for the right finish for your kitchen, bathroom, entryway or kid’s room, an eggshell option just might make it so you don’t have to repaint any time soon.


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Satin finishes are fairly similar to eggshell, but their luster is warm and they have a glow that is resembles pearl. These colors resist stains and dirt better, and allow you to scrub them a bit more to make sure they remain looking great for years to come. If you know there are areas in your home that will be subjected to more wear and tear, a satin finish may be the better option over the eggshell since you won’t have to worry about mold or mildew.


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If the walls you are painting have few to no imperfections, semi-gloss could be a good choice. This finish reflects considerably more light than the previous two, which means even slight bumps will show up more easily. However, semi-gloss is tougher, and can handle scrubbing. If you have a room with plenty of windows that you want to appear warm and glowing, semi-gloss is sure to appeal to you. It also works well with darker colors to give the space a hint of brightness that can really make rich, vibrant colors pop. 


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High-gloss finishes are perfect if you are using bright, vivid, or jewel-toned colors. The finish gives these colors a richer depth that makes them appear even more beautiful. If you want to ensure the finish is perfect, you’ll have to make sure the surface you’re painting is free from any imperfections. Small bumps and other blemishes will stand out even more with the glossy finish. Most people will use high-gloss for the trim around windows and doors, unless they’re going for a glammed up look. It is also a great choice for furniture, as the shine will stand up to the use without losing any luster. 


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Now that you know the difference between the finishes, you’ll be able to choose the one that is right for different areas of your home. Just make sure you keep in mind that the reflection of light will also alter the color, so make sure you check to see what it will look like in the proper light sources.

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