By Janet Myers | December 17, 2017

How Do You Choose a Paint Finish for Your Home?

You’ve flipped through dozens of paint color samples to find the right tone for your home. You just have one more decision to make: Which paint finish is the best fit for you? 

Why Paint Finish Matters

Choosing a paint finish is almost just as important as choosing the paint color. Each finish varies in durability, maintenance and texture. Because light is reflected differently depending on the type of finish, your choice can affect how the color looks on your wall. You should always design with light in mind. 

There are a few different paint finishes to choose from, ranging from matte to high-gloss. The right finish may vary from room to room or based on your family’s lifestyle. Consider a few these pros and cons to help you decide.

Matte/Flat Paint Finish


Matte finishes do not reflect as much light, giving your walls a rich, saturated look. If you have minor imperfections, like uneven textures or patches, choosing a matte or flat finish will help you disguise any flaws. The best places to use a matte or flat paint finish is on ceilings or accents walls.


A major con of a matte paint finish is it’s more difficult to clean. Because the finish is not as durable, any scrubbing could wear down the sheen and leave a mark. If you decide to go with a matte finish, it’s best to choose low-traffic areas of your home.

Eggshell or Satin Paint Finish


For a delicate approach, you can’t beat eggshell or satin for a paint finish. Eggshell paint finish is known for its soft sheen, which is somewhat like the surface of an egg, hence the name. For all of the low-sheen qualities you love in a flat finish, but with more durability, eggshell or satin finishes are your best option.


While this finish doesn’t mark as easily as flat paint, it is not as easy to clean as semi- or high-gloss. Avoid using an eggshell finish on decorative trim around your home’s windows and doors. As with matte/flat plain, this is not the best option for kids’ rooms or play areas.

Semi-Gloss Paint Finish


Semi-gloss finish is by definition a less reflective paint finish when compared to a high-gloss finish. It’s a great compromise when you want the easy-to-clean benefits, but don’t want anything too reflective. We recommend using this finish in areas where messes are more likely to occur, such as your children’s bedrooms or a playroom. It’s also ideal for trim, doors, bathrooms and kitchens.


If you’re wanting to emphasize an area in your home, this less-reflective finish could be a drawback. You also want to make sure your walls are in great shape as this paint finish will reveal any imperfections. Apply semi-gloss paint very carefully as each brush stroke will show up on your wall.

High-Gloss Paint Finish


With -highgloss, you get the highest level of sheen and reflectivity.  Because it’s the easiest finish to clean, consider using high gloss in heavier trafficked areas that may get smudged, such as hallways or kids’ spaces. Another benefit of high-gloss finish is it really helps make trim stand out.


High-gloss paint finish is best for cases where your walls are absolutely pristine and have no problematic brushstrokes you are trying to minimize. There is also a greater risk for this finish to peel than other finishes. Choosing high-gloss can also prove to be more expensive when done well.

Start Your Next Paint Project

Selecting the colors and paint finishes can be intimidating. Your walls tell the world a bit about family’s personality and even your sense of style.  

Need help deciding what works best for your home? David Gray Design Studio can help you get it right the first time. During the remodel process, our team of professional color experts will guide you in selecting the perfect paint color and finish! Connect with us today to schedule a consultation for your kitchen or bathroom remodel.

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