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When & Where You Should Use Different Paint Finishes

When & Where You Should Use Different Paint Finishes

The Different Paint Finishes

The general rule of thumb for paint finishes is the higher the gloss, the more durable the surface. However, you don’t want to jump ahead and start painting everything full gloss, because the other side effect of a high sheen finish is a shinier look. Glossier finishes also tend to be slightly more expensive. However, not every part of your home needs the benefits of a full gloss paint. Here are the different paint finishes and where they are more commonly used around the home.

Full Gloss

Full gloss paint is the most durable of the different paint finishes and the easiest to wipe and clean. However, it’s also the shiniest, which means it can easily show any imperfections on your wall. It’s best used in places that are prone to collect dirt and oil, such as doors or cabinets. It can also be used for trim or woodwork.


Semi-gloss is wipeable and durable for cleaning, although not as shiny as full gloss paint. This type of paint finish is great for interiors that are susceptible to moisture or grease splashes, such as your kitchen or bathroom.


Satin offers the least amount of shine of generally durable paint finishes and resists stains better than the lower-sheen finishes. It is sometimes referred to as a “velvet” finish. You can find this type of finish commonly used in foyers, family rooms, or any other high-traffic areas in the home.


Eggshell paints offer smooth, clean walls with medium durability. It is ideally used in rooms where the walls are less likely to need wiping. It is often used in the living room, dining room, or other medium-traffic gathering areas in your house.

Ceramic Matte

Our Ceramic Matte finish contains ceramic microspheres to give you a stain resistant matte finish like no other. Finger prints, soil, grease and many other stains wash off your walls with a mild soap and water without harming the paint. Ceramic Matte gives you a true flat finish without compromising durability. It has a sheen comparable to any flat (3-5% at an 85 degree angle).


Areas that are painted with flat are difficult to clean without taking some of the paint off. However, it’s the best type of paint to hide wall imperfections, like bumps and scuffs, because it will soak up light rather than reflect it. It’s also high pigment, meaning more coverage for less money. Flat type paints are great for interior areas where there’s not a lot of action on the walls, such as adult bedrooms, home offices, ceilings, and hallways. For exterior purposes, many people choose a flat finish for fences, stucco & aluminum siding.

Special Considerations for Paint Finishes


If you already have kids, you probably know that they can be rough on the walls! If you want to prepare ahead for possibly messy walls, consider choosing a sheen above what is normally common for each room. For example, if you foresee yourself needing to be able to clean the walls in your child’s bedroom, choose an eggshell or satin finish, instead of flat.

Dark Colors

Dark colors tend to have more of a shine than lighter colors. We always recommend testing a sample of any paint color before beginning your project. If you find that the paint finish of a color has too much of a sheen, try using a level below on the finish scale.

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