The Many Finishes Of Paint

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Grand Finishes Blog
  • Flat (Or Matte) Finish does not reflect light because it has no sheen. A flat finish generally is used on ceilings and walls. This finish is not very scrubbable because of its porousness.
  • Eggshell Finish has a slight sheen and reflects light a bit. It works nicely on walls, and is washable and scrubbable.
  • Satin Finish has a higher sheen than an eggshell finish. It works well on any wall where you’re seeking light reflection. It also works well on trim and on bathroom and kitchen walls if you want a subtler look than you get with the more traditional semi-gloss finish in these areas. A satin finish won’t absorb dirt, so it’s very washable and very scrubbable.
  • Semi-Gloss Finish is traditionally used for trim, woodwork, and bathroom and kitchen walls-any areas that will see a good amount of traffic. Highly washable/scrubbable.
  • Gloss Finish is also good for trim. It has a higher sheen than a semi-gloss. Highly washable/scrubbable.
  • High-Gloss Finish is just what it says-even shinier than a gloss finish. It provides the greatest reflection of light. On a smooth surface, it can look like glass. Highly washable/scrubbable.

Another factor to keep in mind, the more reflective a paint surface is the more likely it is to show imperfections. Unless your walls are flawless, you may want to avoid an eggshell shell finish and stick with a flat finish.

Nikitas, Matthew (1994). Grand Finishes For Walls & Floors: Interior House Painting, Wallpapering, And Wood Floor Refinishing (pp. 11). Saybrook, CT: The Globe Pequot Press


Cabinet and casework are a semi-gloss finish, while the walls are egg-shell.


Elegant matte finish on walls.