After flipping through numerous fan decks, comparing strips of paint chips, and applying test swatch after test swatch, you’ve finally decided on the perfect paint colour.
But before you grab the drop cloths, painter's tape, and rollers, hold up. The decisions don’t stop there—you’ll also need to consider the paint finish. We know, you forgot until just now. But finding the right paint finish is just as important as finding the right colour.
Finishes may go by different names depending on the paint brand, but there are basically three standard types: Flat/matte, eggshell/satin, and semigloss/high-gloss, which is sometimes referred to as pearl.
Each finish has a different level of shine and reflects light differently. You might be tempted to grab some eggshell and call it a day, but choosing the correct finish can make a big difference in the look of your space and, maybe more important, how easy it is to clean. Some finishes are also better suited for certain high-traffic areas or rooms frequented by youngsters, such as entryways, hallways, family rooms, and kids' bedrooms. There are also finishes that are more labour-intensive, such as high- and semigloss, which require multiple coats to achieve their ultra-shiny look.
There are pros and cons to each option, but considering all of them before picking up a brush will help save you time and money in the long run. To help you find the perfect finish for every space, we turned to two industry experts to break them down for us: interior designer Emily Henderson and the Home Depot’s divisional merchandising manager for paint, Kate Moran. Here’s what they had to say.
Flat and matte
Providing a simple smooth appearance, flat paint is Henderson’s go-to. “Because it doesn’t reflect light directly, imperfections in walls and ceilings are much less noticeable,” Moran says. Flat paint works best in low-traffic areas, such as the master bedroom, a study, or a formal living room. “Be careful if you are someone like me who is constantly moving furniture around or has children with particularly grubby fingers—flat doesn’t clean up quite as easily,” Henderson says.
Eggshell and satin
“Eggshell, or low-lustre, finishes are so named because the slight sheen they provide is similar in appearance to the surface of an egg,” Moran says.
Unlike flat paint, eggshell bounces light around the room while resisting the inevitable stains and scuffs of everyday life. Select a satin finish for a slightly more reflective look. Satin also offers more durability, making it a great finish for family rooms, hallways, and kids' spaces.
Semigloss and high-gloss
“For those of you needing a bit of glam in your life, high-gloss could be for you,” Henderson says.
Bright and shiny, these finishes are super chic, but they do reveal any and every errant brushstroke or flaw on your walls. Henderson recommends hiring a pro for this reason, and if you’re not ready to commit to a whole space, Moran suggests using these finishes to highlight smaller details, such as trim, railings, shutters, and mouldings.
These glossy hues are also great for giving wood furniture a new lease on life. Resistant to mildew, dirt, and stains, semigloss is also an ideal choice for busy baths and kitchens.
Featured Image: Anete Lusina, Pexels