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Design ideas
How to Choose a Paint Finish
Choosing a paint color for your room redo seems hard enough when you’re considering bold versus soothing, light versus dark. However, once you’ve narrowed down your color, you still have to figure out if you want shiny or matte. Fear not, choosing the right paint finish is simple if you consider these basic guidelines:
Written by Jickie Torres
  • Use flat paint for bedrooms, living rooms and anywhere you want a soft look. Also called matte, this finish is also great for hiding wall imperfections such as cracks, bumps or patches. It’s ideal for older homes and rooms which have been redone often. Flat paint isn’t easy to wipe clean, so be sure to keep extra paint on hand for touchups.
  • Eggshell paint has a slight sheen and is relatively easy to clean, making it ideal for kids’ rooms, family areas and hallways.
  • Satin finish paint has a smoother, more velvety appearance than eggshell. It’s a great choice for kitchens, trim or ceilings. It can also be cleaned with a light scrubbing.
  • Semi-gloss paint resists moisture and provides a durable shine that can be wiped clean. It’s great for bathrooms, kitchens and moldings.
  • High-gloss paints are the most lustrous finish with an almost reflective shine. It can be wiped down easily, often making it a good choice for window frames, doors, cabinets, and some furniture. High gloss paints tend to highlight imperfections, however, so keep this in mind when you prep your surfaces.

DIY TIP: Choosing the right paint finish will affect the look of your DIY projects. For vintage and rustic looks, use flat paint for its subtle, more traditional look. Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are great if you are looking for an enamel or plastic effect. High-gloss paints can also help you achieve a lacquered look great for modern interiors.