How to Choose a Flat or Matte Finish for Your Walls

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Though we specialize in picking out the paint color, we understand that paint finish is almost as important! There’s more than just color choice that goes into painting a room, and the finish you choose is a big decision. From matte to high gloss, there are a few considerations you should consider when choosing your paint finish.


With little-added light reflection, flat paint gives you the truest to life color and the greatest pigmentation, and the light absorbing properties mean they disguise any unevenness in the walls.

Their high pigmentation density means a little goes a long way, so in terms of bang for your buck, flat finishes are a great option. Because their lack of reflectiveness adds to a feeling of height, flat finishes work well for painting ceilings.

That said, flat paint is difficult to clean. The lack of glossiness means scrubbing the walls can take the paint off, so matte finishes are better for rooms that don’t get heavy traffic. Some flat paints these days are washable, but even so, expect this finish to be just a little harder to maintain.

Matte paint finish


Eggshell finishes are just a step up in shininess from flat finishes. With just a hint of gloss, it’s a more durable option for walls and won’t scratch as easily, but it still has good color saturation. You can wipe down eggshell paint without worrying you’re going to take the color off with it. It’s still not the most durable or scratch-resistant finish you can get, but it’s absolutely a step up from flat and a good all-purpose paint.


This finish is smooth and velvety, and it’s commonly used on windows, doors, and trim. It works well in rooms where there’s high traffic and the paint needs to be durable. Kids bedrooms are well suited for a satin finish because the glossiness makes it easy to wipe down and resistant to scratching. They also work great in bathrooms and other rooms that have high humidity levels. You’ll need a paint roller because the glossy finish shows brush strokes more than other finishes, but it isn’t so fussy that you should hire a pro.

Semi-gloss to high gloss painted wall


Semi-gloss ramps up the shininess and you typically see this finish on doors, trim, and cabinets, and it’s less commonly used as wall paint. Because you can easily wipe it down, it does work well in kitchens and other high traffic areas that are prone to stains. This finish highlight any imperfections in the surface, so avoid gloss if there’s a lot of irregularities in what you’re painting.

High Gloss

The most reflective finish of all, high-gloss paint looks like enamel or plastic. The dramatic finish makes it suitable for spaces that need a dramatic, shiny wall. Sanding your surface is really important with high gloss paint because any imperfections will be very obvious. If you’re coating a large area, you should probably hire a pro, because high-gloss paint is the least forgiving of all paint finishes, and be sure you’ve vacuumed everything beforehand, because flecks of dust can be noticeable if they end up painted into the wall.


Try out some colors on your walls today!