8 Different Types of Paint Finishes

Choosing the best paint finish for your home is more than colour. Different paint finishes are appropriate for different rooms. For instance, a kitchen needs durable and easy to clean paint. Meanwhile, a bedroom is a low-traffic area with lots of wall area to cover, necessitating a different type of paint.

The paint finish you ultimately choose has to perform well long-term. To get that right, it’s important to know the types of paint finishes. You should also know the pros and cons of each type.

You can shop for various finishes at paint stores, browsing through many different collections. Here are the eight different types of paint finishes and their characteristics:

Type #1: Flat Paint Finishes

A flat paint finish does not reflect light. It is almost no sheen to it. The lack of reflection allows pigments to come through more intensely, which can help cover flaws in the underlying paint. Flat finishes are often chosen when you want a uniform look and use a statement colour. Imperfections in flat finishes that occur over time are harder to remove. However, cleaning over time can cause damage. A flat paint finish is best used in low-traffic areas on walls and ceilings.

Type #2: Matte Paint Finishes

A matte paint finish is a major trend in interior design and home décor. A matte finish offers more depth than a flat finish and can hide imperfections in the underlying paint. Matte will stand up to frequent cleaning, so it’s great for high-traffic parts of a home, including hallways and family rooms. It can look very luxurious, so it’s popular among design and renovation experts. Matte’s velvet-like aesthetic is perfect for darker colours, softening them a bit for the home.

Type #3: Satin Paint Finishes

When you dig into satin paint, you start to see some sheen. It’s a durable paint type with stain resistance, perfect for trim, shutters, doors, floorboards and cabinets, and similar woodworking throughout a home. Satin is also one of the few types of paint finishes for a moisture-resistant bathroom that can handle the wear and tear of daily use. The glossier a satin finish, the more it will highlight the flaws and imperfections in your paint job underneath and bounce more light around the room.

Type #4: Eggshell Paint Finishes

For those that love eggshell paint finishes, love them. They have a little shine, are a little matte, and are very durable. Painters love using eggshell finishes because they can look matte or flat but are more heavy-duty and can be put into high-traffic areas that will need cleaning from time to time. Eggshell paint is not quite as durable as semi-gloss or gloss but is still a great choice. Many people use these types of of paint finishes for small bedrooms, kids’ rooms, hallways, kitchens, and interior entranceways.

Type #5: Semi-Gloss Finishes

A semi-gloss paint finish is what a lot of people are attracted to. It’s got a little shine, some softness, and is durable enough to be used in almost any environment, including kitchens and bathrooms. You will most likely see semi-gloss finishes used in these areas and doors, floorboards, and trims. Semi-gloss is the type of paint that works best in small quantities rather than decorating an entire wall. Try to avoid it for large uneven surface areas as it will draw attention to its negative features.

Type #6: High-Gloss Finishes

At one time, you’d never thought high-gloss to be an appropriate paint finish for an interior. Today though, high-gloss paint finishes are very fashionable and seen all over Instagram, TikTok, and in interior design publications. As you might assume by their name, they offer a high-gloss mirror-esque finish, perfect for an accent wall or ceiling. The big difference with high-gloss is that the technique to apply it is specific. It’s very easy to mess it up. Practice, practice, practice. Prime surfaces beforehand.

Type #7: Chalk Paint Finishes

A chalk paint finish looks a little imperfect, rustic, and doesn’t look overly neat. It doesn’t require sanding or much priming beforehand. You will see many chalk paint finishes in classic farmhouse interior design. In recent years, chalk paint has been mixed with more modern-contemporary looks. Anything chalk will be quite soft on the eyes and itself is a very dynamic paint finish. It isn’t for everyone, though, as chalk paint has a specific look. You can use it for painting furniture and walls.

Type #8: Limewash Paint Finishes

Limewash paint is similar to chalk in some of its characteristics but has a matte, cloud-like appearance that makes whatever’s been painted look more rustic and aged. Limewash paint adds a ton of texture to a room and is perfect for minimalist spaces. If you have bad walls or obvious damage that needs to be distracted from, the limewash can be applied in multiple coats to fashion the exact look you want. It is not used often, but limewash can be considered perhaps an alternative to more common types of paint finishes.