Choosing the Best Paint Finishes for Each Room in Your Home

Finding the ideal paint color can be one of the most fun and challenging parts of a home improvement project, but once you have an idea in mind for hue, another important decision lies ahead: choosing a finish.

Flat and matte finishes conceal surface blemishes well, but may be difficult to keep clean. In contrast, eggshell and satin offer soft sheen finishes that make wiping clean easier while providing durable coverage.


Typically, satin or semi-gloss finishes make an excellent choice for kitchen walls as they resist moisture while withstanding washing and scrubbing better than flat paint finishes. Furthermore, satin paint hides stains and scratches better.

Matte or flat paints don’t reflect light like shiny finishes do and can help hide wall texture irregularities more effectively, however they are less durable and harder to keep clean.

Eggshell paint lies between satin and flat on the sheen scale, drawing its name from its similarity to chicken eggshell. While offering minimal sheen and luster, eggshell is more robust than flat or matte paint types.

Gloss and high-gloss are at the highest end of the sheen scale, offering easy cleaning while adding a beautiful sheen to woodwork and cabinets. Gloss finishes can also add an elegant sheen that makes furniture stand out, and are great for high traffic areas that see regular wear and tear, although their intense sheen might reveal flaws in surfaces – so high gloss should only be applied on surfaces capable of withstanding frequent washing.

Living Room

One of the easiest and fastest ways to update a living room is with new wall paint. However, it’s essential that when choosing your finish it both enhances the color as well as endures high traffic levels and cleaning needs.

Flat (or matte) paints offer low light reflectance levels, making them the ideal solution for hiding wall imperfections and making cleaning simpler in high traffic areas. They’re also easy to maintain.

Eggshell and satin finishes provide an upgrade from matte or flat paints but have less sheen than semi-gloss, making them suitable for most living room spaces. Their slightly shimmery surface provides some added luster while being easier to maintain than flat paint while covering minor to moderate imperfections effectively.

High-gloss paint offers the strongest sheen, but can become overwhelming for living rooms and emphasize surface imperfections. To find a balance, eggshell or satin paints may be more suitable options to cover both walls and ceiling in your living space.


A fresh coat of paint can bring new life to your interior design, but choosing a color alone may not do the trick – the other half lies in choosing your paint finish or sheen, which affects how light reflects off of it and can alter how you view the hues you have selected.

Flat paint is a popular choice for bedrooms as it softens lighting and covers wall imperfections effectively, while also being highly durable – ideal for high traffic rooms.

Satin and eggshell finishes offer slightly shinier options that still hide minor surface flaws while providing regular maintenance cleaning convenience. Satin and eggshell finishes make an excellent choice for bathrooms and living rooms, and hold up well against regular cleaning. Semi-gloss is another versatile paint choice which works well on trim, doors and cabinets, and holds up well against frequent scrubbing – especially useful when applied to kitchen cabinetry.


Bathrooms can be damp environments where condensation forms on surfaces such as walls and ceilings, without proper ventilation; this moisture can then lead to mold growth which needs to be addressed quickly or it could spread and lead to mildew growth, so when choosing bathroom paint it must resist moisture and mold growth.

Flat or eggshell finishes are not appropriate for bathrooms, even if labeled “mildew-resistant.” These paints absorb more moisture than others and may lead to mildew growth over time. In lieu of these options, satin or sheen finishes that are durable yet easy to maintain would be more suitable – sheen paints reflect light more effectively while being more resistant than flat finishes; sheen finishes also make an excellent choice in bathrooms not used as frequently.

If you prefer something more stylish than sheen, matte finishes offer an easy solution that is also washable. There are both latex and oil-based variants of these products, with low or no VOC emissions. Or consider investing in bathroom paint that contains antimicrobial additives to kill existing mold growth while helping prevent future outbreaks of it.

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