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Five Types of Paint Finishes and How to Choose the Best One

When most people think of painting, the paint color comes to mind. You’ve finally chosen the right neutral paint color after browsing several samples. But there’s one more thing left to think about: the finish. Did you know that the paint finish is equally as crucial as the color, if not more so?

Each sheen has a distinct appearance and durability based on what you’re painting and the look you’re hoping for. If you choose a matte finish instead of a high-gloss finish, the lovely paint color you’ve chosen will seem different. Some finishes are simple to clean, while others can expose every flaw on your wall, so knowing what finish and sheen to apply, when, and where is vital.

These are the five finish and sheen options to pick from: flat or matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Don’t be confused though. Triangle Pro Painting is here to help! We at Triangle Pro Painting have consulted with our professionals to learn how to select the best paint finish.

What’s a Paint Finish?

Before we go deeper into the finishes, let’s define a finish. A finish is the texture of the paint after it sets and the amount of light it shines off the wall. Both of these factors can influence how you see color and can expose or hide defects in the finish.

Different Paint Finishes

If you’re trying to decide on a paint finish, understanding all of your alternatives might be useful. The following are the five paint finishes:

Flat (Matte) Finish

Flat paint finishes create a uniformly smooth appearance on your walls. They are non-reflective and should be used in low-traffic places in our homes. Flat paint conceals defective sections of the wall, such as nail holes, patches, or nail pops, as well as places that are not messed up frequently since it is difficult to clean.

This finish is likely not the best for you if you have small kids or are constantly moving things around in your house. You won’t be able to wipe the wall with a moist cloth or sponge. The only thing you can do is repaint the whole wall to make it look clean again.

Formal dining rooms, living rooms, ceilings, and formal offices are ideal venues for a matte or flat paint finish.

Eggshell Finish

This low-luster sheen has the appearance of slightly soft and smooth appearance, comparable to the actual surface of an eggshell. It’s an excellent choice for practically any area. The low gloss coat is more reflective than flat paint. It’s also simpler to maintain and more lasting than flat due to its slightly higher gloss.

It somewhat bounces light across the room and may withstand stains and dirt better than a matte. It’s suitable for guest rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and entryways.

Satin Finish

Satin finishes are by far the most often applied. It has a pearlescent shine and is somewhat more reflective than an eggshell finish. Because it’s more reflective, it’s also more resilient against dirt and grime, making it simpler to clean.

It’s ideal for high-traffic rooms such as living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, children’s rooms, and interior doors.

Semigloss Finish

Semigloss is more reflective than satin and gives rooms a somewhat polished appearance. This may brighten up gloomy interiors, especially when applied with light colors like white, cream, and other neutrals.

While a glossy surface displays more defects, it is ideal for high-humidity environments such as bathrooms because of its moisture resistance. Semigloss is a fantastic choice for trim and doors as it is easy to clean.

High-Gloss Finish

The most popular of the group is the gloss finish, which has the maximum amount of reflection. Gloss, which is most typically used on cabinets, molding, and doors, takes more layers than its matte counterparts, but it also cleans up the easiest.

If you plan on painting your rooms with a glossy paint finish, you should consider hiring a painting contractor because this paint will end up highlighting every single flaw in your wall. Rather than going all in on the walls, you might use this high gloss finish to emphasize your molding & millwork, or as a ceiling accent.

Glossy finishes are best for high-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms because they are simple to clean and resistant to stains, dirt, and mold.

What to Look For When Selecting a Paint Finish

Before you go to the store and choose a finish, keep the following points into consideration to help you discover the correct paint finish:


The traffic in your space is the most decisive factor when selecting a paint finish. Busy areas such as kitchens and playrooms can flourish from more lasting finishes such as satin and semigloss, but quieter areas such as dining rooms can go well with eggshell finish or flat paint finishes.

Sheen of Paint

Paint finishes are classified according to their luster, ranging from no-shine flat to highly bright high-gloss. The light that each finish reflects into the area is affected by its glossiness, so if you want to attempt to brighten a dull room, a slightly glossier finish will do well than a flat paint finish.

Surface Flaws

The more reflective a paint finish, the more surface defects are visible. If you wish to paint a wall with several nail holes or patches, less glossy paint may help cover such defects and keep the room looking plain.

Triangle Pro Painting – Your Expert Painters in the Raleigh-Cary Area

Triangle Pro Painting is the painting business you can rely on for all your painting demands. We are interior and exterior painting professionals. Furthermore, we only use high-quality paints and products, so you can be confident that your new paint job will last. Contact us today for a free estimate!


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