Finding the Best Interior Paint Finishes for Different Surfaces Around Your Home

calander Oct 5 , 2023 user-iconAnderson Painting

Finishes are just as important as color when choosing which paint to use inside your home. To help you make the best choices, we'll explore various interior paint finishes and the ideal surfaces they work on. We’ll also discuss some tips for finding the best finish for your property.

What You Need to Know About Paint Finishes

If you’re new to the world of paint, you may feel lost and overwhelmed by so many options. Paints come not just in different colors but in different types as well. There are primers, finish coats, paints specifically formulated for outdoor application, and those you can use inside your home. They can be latex, oil-based, water-based, and the list goes on.

There are numerous types and functions for paint, but we’ll focus on paint finishes in this post.

Paint finish refers to the amount of light that paint reflects from the surface. In simple terms, the finish measures how shiny the paint is. Generally speaking, there are six types of finishes: flat, matte, eggshell, semi-gloss, high-gloss, and satin paint finish. We will discuss each one below.

Understanding Different Types of Paint Finishes and Their Pros and Cons

Here are the different types of paint finishes and their advantages:

Flat and Matte Finish

We'll discuss flat and matte finish together because the difference between them is so minute, which is probably why most people use these terms interchangeably.

So, what is the difference? Well, a flat finish has a slightly lower gloss appearance than a matte finish. Matte also forms a slight film as it dries. Both are non-reflective and will soak up light.

You can think of a flat finish as the concealer of paints because it can hide any scratches and bumps. You also do not have to worry about roller marks, a feature that makes this paint application a breeze. However, flat and matte are the least durable of all paint finishes and do not stand up to scrubbing and washing very well. Therefore, these finishes aren’t ideal for high-traffic areas in your home.

Eggshell Finish

An eggshell paint finish has a little bit of luster with a subtle sheen, like a chicken eggshell's surface. It is slightly velvety and emits the softest glimmer when light hits it.

An eggshell finish is not the most durable of all paint finishes, but it holds up better to cleaning than flat paint finishes. You can wipe it with a wet rag. Also, this finish can hide imperfections, although not as effectively as a flat finish. If an inexperienced painter applies this finish, you may notice roller or brush marks.

Satin Finish

Satin finish paint reflects more light than its eggshell counterparts, so you will likely see imperfections if you do not prepare the surface. That said, the higher sheen also has benefits, yielding higher durability. This finish is also easy to clean, but you need to be careful when scrubbing since the paint can easily lose its sheen.

Semi-Gloss Finish

Semi-gloss is a favorite among homeowners because it is fairly reflective, easy to clean, and incredibly durable. It doesn’t easily wear down from cleaning. Aside from that, it pairs well with other paint finishes when used as an accent.

But because this finish reflects more light when dry, imperfections like scratches and bumps in the wall or other surfaces tend to stand out. You can easily solve this issue by not skimping on surface preparation.

High-Gloss Finish

High-gloss is not the most popular option for interior painting because it is the shiniest and most light-reflecting of all. However, it is also the most durable and easiest to clean. These days, interior designers consider it a specialty finish because of its glamorous glass-like effect.

Like semi-gloss paint, high-gloss paint cannot hide imperfections on surfaces. It will show every bump and roll, so thorough surface preparation is vital.

For typical walls, most homeowners opt for eggshell and satin finishes. But since you can only choose one type of paint per surface, should interior walls be eggshell or satin? The answer will generally boil down to your preferences. Let’s dig a bit deeper, though, so you can make the most informed decision for your interior project.

The Best Paint for Different Surfaces Around Your Home

Since the best paint for your home’s surfaces will depend on your preferences, you may still be overwhelmed by all the choices. So, if you are looking for a guide, below are a few recommendations:


Ceilings don’t suffer from abrasions other surfaces experience but gradually become dull because of pollution, smoke, and other foreign materials. So, this surface requires something that hides imperfections perfectly, making flat or semi-gloss finishes good options. But make sure that the paint is formulated specifically for ceilings to prevent yellowing and staining.


What type of paint finish is best for interior walls? As discussed earlier, flat finishes excel at hiding flaws, but their inferior durability makes them a poor choice for demanding locations like a child’s room, kitchen, laundry, hallway, or bath. In areas with high traffic, satin and semi-gloss are usually a better choice. You can also use an eggshell finish.


Paint in the bathroom will be constantly exposed to moisture, so it is best to choose something that can hold up over time. The most durable finish among these options is high-gloss. If high-gloss is too gaudy for your tastes, consider a semi-gloss paint instead.


If cabinets are installed in demanding locations, you’ll need a durable and easy-to-clean finish. Semi-gloss is a popular option, but you can also go for high-gloss if you want a more dramatic look.


Trim, including window frames, door frames, and baseboards, see more physical contact than other parts of your home. This means they will need a higher sheen. Satin and semi-gloss paints work well here.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paint Finish

Are you ready to choose a paint finish for your home? Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

The Surface

Different areas of your home have unique requirements when it comes to paint finishes. So think about where you will apply the paint finish when shopping for one.


If you don’t want to redo your paintwork constantly, consider durability when choosing a paint finish. It’s actually quite easy to assess a finish's durability. Just remember that the shinier it is, the more durable the paint. However, nobody wants walls in high-traffic rooms to look ultra-shiny. In this case, semi-gloss and satin are good options.


You may also want to pay attention to this variable, especially if the paint is for high-traffic spots like kitchens, porches, hallways, and trim. Generally, paint with a higher sheen is easier to clean.


Consider coverage if you will apply the paint over dark colors or flaws. Good coverage eliminates the need for multiple paint applications, allowing you to maximize your paint and achieve a professional-looking finish.

If you are unsure what paint finish works best for your home’s interior, you can consult a professional painter.

Tips for Choosing Colors

You can select from thousands of paint colors. If you’re struggling to choose a paint color for your interior, consider these tips:

  • Familiarize yourself with color psychology. It will help you determine which color will create the mood you want to establish.

  • Create a color scheme that matches existing objects or furniture inside your home.

  • White paints come in a staggering variety, so take some time to research to determine which will work for your space.

  • If you want a small room to feel bigger and more open, choose a crisp white color or any light hue.

  • Do not get boxed in by a single color.

Request a Free Estimate Today

If you are searching for reliable and professional painters to beautify your home’s interior in Raleigh, NC, Wilmington, NC, and the Greater Triangle Area, look no further than Anderson Painting. The company offers interior and exterior painting services for residential and commercial clients. Our team also has other expertise, including carpentry, siding replacement, and concrete floor coating.

For more details on interior paint finishes, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. Anderson Painting offers free estimates if you are ready to start your painting project.

If you enjoyed this content, browse our other articles:

Five Ways to Customize Your Concrete Flooring for the Perfect Look

Beyond its durability and versatility, a concrete floor offers a blank canvas for customization. Learn five ways to cust...

Choosing the Right Colors for Commercial Spaces: Psychology and Branding

The paint colors you choose for your commercial space can make or break your business. Make sure to pick a color that wi...

Hiring Professional Painters for Winter Interior Projects: What to Look For

Avoid botched painting jobs and get the best bang for your buck. Learn several variables to consider when searching for ...