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Paint Finishes: Eggshell, Satin, and More

  • Low sheen finishes cover imperfections however are exhausting to scrub. Use them in low-traffic areas.
  • Shiny sheens are straightforward to scrub however spotlight imperfections. Use them for high-traffic areas and trim.
  • When unsure, eggshell has a delicate shine with added sturdiness.
  • Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.

There’s extra to selecting the best paint than simply selecting the right colour. The kind of sheen you employ could make or break your paint challenge.

Some sheens are shiny and mirror mild, which might be unhealthy if you happen to’re portray a tough or in any other case imperfect space. Then again, paint with no sheen could make your space look too uninteresting, and can be exhausting to scrub.

We requested Krystal Mindeck, senior product supervisor at HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, and Hannah Yeo, colour advertising and marketing and improvement supervisor at Benjamin Moore to clarify the what, when, and why of paint finishes.

At a look

Flat paint

A close up of a gloved hand holding a paint roller painting a ceiling

Paint ceilings with flat paint.

aronaze/Getty Photographs


Flat paint (often known as matte paint) is an efficient selection in a number of situations — particularly if you happen to’re working with tough surfaces which have cracks, nail holes, and so on. “Flat paint has just about no gloss and is great for hiding floor imperfections and underlying colours,” says Mindeck. “It additionally does an amazing job of firming down daring and brilliant colours, so that they really feel extra livable — particularly in areas with low lighting.”

Nonetheless, Mindeck warns that flat paint has minimal washability and sturdiness. In different phrases, it is tough to scrub because the paint has a porous texture that tends to really entice filth. And if you happen to attempt to scrub it or use cleansers, you might find yourself damaging the paint since it isn’t as resilient as glossier finishes.

When must you use flat paint? “It is best to be used for low site visitors areas comparable to ceilings, eating rooms, and bedrooms,” Mindeck says.

Eggshell paint

When it comes to sheen, eggshell paint is a slight step up from flat paint. Its identify is derived from the truth that the sheen is much like an egg’s shell.  “An eggshell end has a delicate sheen or gloss look,” says Mindeck. And, it is extra washable and sturdy than a flat end. “Eggshell is a pleasant center floor of sturdiness and low-luster, which suggests it is an all-around paint that can be utilized for many rooms in your house.”

Since eggshell resists stains higher than flat paint, Mindeck recommends it in medium-traffic areas, comparable to hallways, children’ bedrooms, dwelling rooms, and laundry rooms. However remember the fact that whereas it is simpler to scrub than flat paint, that does not imply that it is straightforward to scrub.

“When unsure of what paint end to pick out, eggshell end is an all-around an amazing selection because it supplies an all-around delicate shine look with added sturdiness,” Mindeck advises. 

Satin paint

A gloved hang wiping purple cleaning spray off the wall with a sponge

Satin paint holds up properly to scrubbing.

Catherine Douma / EyeEm/Getty Photographs


A satin end is true within the center on the shine/gloss spectrum. “Satin finishes are straightforward to wipe down, as they provide general wonderful washability, scrub resistance, and sturdiness — greater than an eggshell end,” says Mindeck.

The sort of sheen is good for these busier areas in your house. “I like to recommend utilizing a satin end in medium to excessive site visitors areas such kitchens, loos, laundry rooms, dwelling rooms and hallways,” she says.

Remember that whereas it isn’t too shiny, it is simply shiny sufficient to indicate imperfections.

Semi-gloss paint

If you need a high-sheen end, semi-gloss is definitely an excellent choice. “A semi-gloss end creates a luminous look that cures to a easy, furniture-like end,” says Yeo. It is not advisable to make use of on surfaces with imperfections since she says the sunshine reflectance will intensify these flaws. 

“It’s nice for highlighting architectural particulars and creating dimension in an area, and is often used to color trim, doorways, and millwork, and likewise cupboards or furnishings,” says Yeo. And because it cures to a furniture-like end, semi-gloss is taken into account one of the crucial sturdy sheens.

Excessive-gloss paint

A hand holding a paintbrush and painting the baseboards

Portray trims and moldings with a shiny end helps add contract and depth.

JodiJacobson/Getty Photographs


As its identify implies, high-gloss end has essentially the most shine of the 5 finishes. “In comparison with all different paint finishes, it displays essentially the most mild and may add a mirror-like end with beautiful, elegant shine,” Yeo says.

As well as, it is extraordinarily sturdy and simple to scrub. “Just like a semi-gloss, excessive gloss finishes are generally utilized in high-traffic areas comparable to trim, doorways and millwork, cupboards and furnishings, wainscoting, and so on,” she says.

It can be used so as to add dimension and curiosity to an area.  “Many designers use this mirror-like end to characteristic a wall or to create a novel environment,” she says. “For instance, create a luxe accent by utilizing the identical colour as on the partitions, however in a better sheen on the ceiling.” As well as, high-gloss paint is used to create a lacquer-like end in accent furnishings or kitchen cupboards. 

As with semi-gloss paint, you should not apply it to an space that isn’t utterly easy, because it displays a lot mild it’ll spotlight any flaws.

Insider’s takeaway

Choosing paint colours is simply half of the puzzle. The fitting sheen could make or break your paint challenge. Flat and eggshell paint may also help you cover imperfections however could also be problematic if you happen to anticipate the painted space to get soiled. Then again, shiny paint is way simpler to scrub, however would not do an excellent job of hiding imperfections.

https://www.insider.com/paint-finishes | Paint Finishes: Eggshell, Satin, and Extra

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