Interior Paint Finishes – Choosing the Best Finish For Your Painting Job

When choosing a paint color for a room, the selection does not just stop at the precise color; the finish also plays an integral role in the project. What many may not realize is that there’s 5-6 different paint finishes to choose from. Each finish has its own pros and cons which if not analyzed, could deter from the final outcome of the home painting project.

Here’s a breakdown of each individual finish:

Matte Finish

Whether called flat finish or wall paint, this type of interior paint has a matte surface. This paint finish is usually used on interior walls. It’s especially good if you have to camouflage small wall bumps, cracks, or other imperfections, as this finish does not reflect light. While some flat paints are advertised as washable today, you may need to touch up scratches or marks by covering with a bit more paint, so be sure you keep some on hand after you’ve finished painting.

Eggshell Finish

If you can picture the very low sheen of the shell of an egg, you have an idea of how an eggshell paint finish will appear. With only a slight hint of shine or gloss, it’s good for walls and holds up better with cleaning than a flat finish paint.

Satin Finish

Satin finish paint has a smooth, velvety look with a bit more gloss. It is most often used for windows, doors, trim, or ceilings, but can also be used as wall paint. This is particularly suitable for kids’ room walls, kitchens, or bathrooms, or in areas with a lot of traffic. Paint with a satin finish is formulated to hold up to cleaning and light scrubbing.

Flat Enamel

Flat enamel is paint with a durable flat, matte finish. It’s a good choice for powder rooms and halls, as it holds up to occasional light cleaning.


Gloss finishes tend to give off a shiny finish imitating the appearance of enamel or plastic. This finish is not recommended for use on interior walls. A gloss finish is often seen on furniture and has recently become somewhat of a trend as a finish on cabinets and trim. A gloss finish provides a dramatic finish but has its disadvantages. Something to keep in mind when choosing a gloss finish is the paint finish will not hide imperfections. If anything the finish will magnify surface imperfections, so thoroughly assess your project area for dings and deep imperfections. Another helpful tip is sanding before starting to paint is necessary.