A Guide to Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish

It is not uncommon for homeowners to decide to paint their home, choose a color, get to the hardware store, and then be stumped when the question arises: what finish would you like?

Choosing an interior paint finish is not something you want to take a guess on. It can have a huge effect on the outcome of the paint job, whether you are painting walls, trim, doors, windows, or furniture. It’s important to be well-informed about each option.

There are six common interior paint finishes. Each one not only looks different once it dries, but also has its own pros and cons regarding durability and ease of application. Here is a quick guide to get you acquainted with each finish and help you decide which one would work best for your space.

MATTE FINISH
A matte finish is the most popular type of paint for interiors. The biggest benefit to a matte finish is that it hides any imperfections in the wall, which is especially great for older homes. The downside is that it is much harder to clean off any stains or marks that accumulate over time. Some marks can be removed with a damp cloth or Magic Eraser, but many need to be repainted to be removed entirely.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: How to Decorate

FLAT ENAMEL
Flat enamel has a similar look to a matte finish, but is far more durable. It can hold up to frequent washes, making it a great choice for a bathroom or kitchen.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: Architectural Digest

SATIN FINISH
A satin finish is somewhere between a matte finish and gloss with a nice, soft sheen to it. It is most commonly used for trim work, doors, and windows, but can also be used on interior walls. It is very durable and can hold up to a lot of washing, so it’s also great for bathrooms, kitchens, or even a kids space. The downside is that any imperfections on the wall will be very noticeable.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: Better Homes & Gardens

EGGSHELL FINISH
Between a satin and a matte finish, eggshell has a very subtle sheen just like the shell of an egg. It will give you that slight shine without highlighting the imperfections in the wall as much as a satin finish would. It is also very easy to apply and usually covers in a single coat.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: Apartment Therapy

SEMI-GLOSS
Semi-gloss is a step up from a satin finish, producing more of a sheen but not quite as much as regular gloss. It is used on trim work more than anything else since it offers a hard finish, but is durable for walls that need to be cleaned a lot. Even just soap and water will clean heavy stains off a semi-gloss finish.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: Home Depot

GLOSS
High gloss paints have the most unique effect of all the finishes, creating a glamorous, reflective look that mimics the effect of enamel or plastic. This look has been picking up popularity in home interiors over the last few years. It has a very dramatic look that can create a stunning effect on cabinets, walls, doors, and even furniture. It does magnify any imperfections on a surface, so preparation beforehand is crucial.

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish | HomeandEventStyling.comSource: My Domaine

If you’re still unsure about what paint finish to choose, I recommend speaking to one of the professionals at the hardware or paint store of your choice. They are very knowledgeable and can help steer you in the right direction based on your and your space’s specific needs.

Warm regards,
Megan