Painting your home’s walls and trim is an easy way to transform the look of a space, but picking the right paint color isn’t the only consideration. Durability and cleanability are also important.
Flat and matte paints don’t reflect light, allowing them to hide imperfections but aren’t as durable. Eggshell is a good middle-ground with a slight sheen and moderate durability.
Finding the perfect paint color is a daunting task. It requires flipping through sample after sample until your eyes are blurry. Then there is the question of which sheen to use. Sheen levels determine how durable the paint is and how much it reflects light.
Flat and matte paints have little to no sheen and offer a soft finish that looks beautiful on walls and ceilings. This paint can show up dirt and smudges, but it is easy to clean.
Eggshell and satin paint have a slight sheen and reflect light, but not as much as gloss paints do. They are durable and can withstand wear and tear better than flat or matte finishes. Eggshell is a good choice for rooms that see a lot of activity, like family rooms and kids’ rooms.
Once you’ve selected the right color for your space, it’s time to choose a paint finish. And while the sheen may seem like a minor detail, it can have an impact on how easily your walls clean up and how much light is reflected in the space.
Flat and matte paints hide wall imperfections well, and their low-reflectivity means they won’t show stains or other wear. They’re best for ceilings and low-traffic rooms, like a home office or study.
Eggshell and satin are scrubbable and don’t draw as much attention to scuff marks, making them a good choice for bedrooms and ancillary spaces. If you want a little more sheen, consider using semi-gloss or high-gloss in your bedroom. This will make it easier to wipe away splatters and spills.
Bathrooms are often hotbeds of mildew and mold due to constant exposure to moisture, so you want a paint that is resistant. According to Consumer Reports, bathroom walls and ceilings should be coated with a satin or semi-gloss finish because they are easy to clean and offer more protection against humidity than flat or eggshell finishes.
A satin finish reflects less light than a sheen, but it still adds durability and washability to the bathroom. You may also want to consider using a moisture-resistant primer before you apply your bathroom paint to prevent peeling.
The walls in your kitchen need to be durable enough to withstand food splatters and oily fingerprints. This is why it’s best to opt for a semi-gloss or satin finish.
While matte emulsion paint creates a nice soft look, it isn’t the most moisture-resistant and can show up marks easily, especially in areas that are subject to high traffic.
Eggshell is a great choice for kitchens as it has a slight sheen and hides imperfections well but still wipes clean. Satin is slightly more durable than eggshell and gives a smooth, velvet shine to walls. It also hides imperfections and stains better than matte. These finishes are durable enough for a busy family room and can stand up to spills, scuff marks and more.
The right paint finish is not as simple as picking the right color. Paint sheen has a huge impact on both durability and appearance.
Flat or matte paint adds richness to color, and can hide imperfections in a wall’s texture. But it’s not the best choice for areas with heavy traffic or dirt build up, and can be difficult to clean if walls get dirty.
A satin or eggshell sheen works well here. It’s a bit more durable than matte and offers a light sheen that doesn’t reflect too much sunlight. It’s also easier to clean and withstands normal wear-and-tear better than low-gloss or high-gloss paints. However, it’s still prone to showing brush strokes and other flaws, so you’ll need to be careful when applying.