How to select the right paint finish


Picking just the right color for painting the interior of your home can be an agonizing decision. But many who obsess over finding just the right color don’t give a second though to the paint finish. Choosing the right finish can be just as important as the paint color itself when it comes to the finished product so if you’ve already got the color you love, it’s time to think about the right finish to go with it. Choosing a paint finish doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Here are some tips.

Familiarize yourself with the options

Finishes are ranged from the flattest to the shiniest. Matte, or flat, are the terms you’ll usually hear for the paint finishes with the least shine. Eggshell or satin finishes come next and have more shine to them. Then there’s semi-gloss and finally high-gloss which is the shiniest of all.

Prep work

It’s important to keep in mind that the more reflective the surface, the more any flaws on that surface will stand out. That means that you’re going to have to do more prep work to get the wall perfect before applying a high-gloss or semi-gloss than you would if you were going to go with a matte or eggshell paint finish.


The extra work you put into preparing a wall for a shinier paint finish will pay dividends when it comes to keeping the surface clean. Shinier paint finishes are the easiest to clean while matte and eggshell finishes are more difficult. You can take a damp cloth to reflective paint finishes without damaging the paint job but you can’t do that with a matte finish. Consider using a matte finish in places that are less likely to get stained (so, not the kitchen) and use glossier finishes for the rest.


The glossier the surface, the more wow factor you’re going to get with that paint color. The reflectivity of the finish plays a large role in how your eyes process the color and react to it. Matte is ideal if you’re going for more of an understated look while a glossier finish is better for making a big impression and really emphasizing the color. If high drama is what you’re after and you’re proud of your daring choice of aqua for the walls in your bedroom, semi-gloss or high-gloss is what you want. It’s ideal for showrooms since it forces the eyes to dart and take everything in and be alert. But if, on the other hand, you want a more calming effect then go with a matte or eggshell finish.

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