If you’re new to the whole wide world of paints finishes, you’re likely to either feel like a kid in a candy store while wandering the colour aisle or like you are drowning in a sea of options. Colour is not your only choice—it gets even more complicated. That’s right, we’re talking paint finishes. A single paint colour can look completely different based on the finish, from matte to glossy and every sheen in between. This added layer of possibility means all the more options for getting the perfect paint for your space.

 

 

Read on to learn about the different types of finishes, what they’re good for, and how they make a small but transformative difference in the resulting paint colour and texture before you start painting your walls.

 

 

Flat

 

With more pig­ment than any other finish, it’s the concealer of paints. The nonreflective, a flat finish will soak up light and hide any bumps or scratches in the surface of the wall. We suggest you use it for low-traffic rooms with lots of light, like an office or a formal sitting room.

 

 

Eggshell

 

This popular finish is not shiny but not totally matte, and easier to clean than flat. Though not as tough as semi-gloss, eggshell hides imperfections better, and it’s easier to clean than flat finishes. We suggest you use it for everyday spaces, like living rooms and bedrooms.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: House Beautiful

 

 

Satin

 

Perhaps the best all-around player when it comes to durability. It hides imperfections like bumpy walls reasonably well, and it’s easy to clean. We suggest you use it for humid spaces like bathrooms or dark rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light, like basements.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Behr

 

 

Semi-Gloss

 

Sleek and easy to live with, semi-gloss is a happy middle ground. If you need something durable, and you’re OK with shine, semi-gloss is your match. However, due to its heightened sheen, you’ll be able to see existing imperfections more easily. It is great in high-moisture, high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, or on crown mouldings and trims to make them pop.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: The Kitchen Depot

 

 

High Gloss

 

Super light-reflective and statement-making, it’s also the most durable. It does show imperfections, but it’s also extremely easy to clean. That being said, high gloss is the trickiest to apply. Barr suggests using a quarter-inch roller or a high-density foam roller for smaller spots. It is best for accents that you really want to stand out, like furniture, doors, or cabinets.