gloss vs matte vs satin paintHow To Decide Between Matte, Satin, and Gloss Paint Finishes

When painting the interior rooms of your home, once you have made a decision on the colors, you will need to decide which finishes you want–matte, satin, or gloss. The room color has an important role in the look and feel of your home, so you should give the finish of the paint the due it deserves. The finish is an integral part in the decision because it makes a difference in the way the walls of the room appear. Don’t neglect to consider the functionality and purpose of the room when deciding on the appropriate paint finish.

Different finishes reflect light in different ways. The less light that is reflected in the paint, the less durable the finish is. However, less light shows fewer imperfections in the wall surface. A matte finish reflects little to no light, satin has a pearl sheen, and semi-gloss and gloss finishes reflect the most light.

At Osborne Painting, we are experts at all things regarding paints. We can advise you on the variety of finishes and how each might look in a specific room. In this article, we will review the pros and cons of each in detail.

Matte and Flat

A matte and flat finish delivers a smooth, subtle look to the room. It shows no sheen when dry because this finish absorbs light. 


Matte and flat finishes are easy to touch up and are good for covering imperfections in surfaces. The durability of matte paint is medium to low, making these finishes appropriate for adults’ bedrooms and other rooms that won’t be scuffed up by children. These are also good choices for low traffic areas and ceilings. 


Matte and flat finishes hold dirt and are difficult to clean. Cleaning this type of paint can remove the finish. Don’t use matte finish in bathrooms, the kitchen, or a child’s room.


A satin finish has a pearlized, silky, or velvety appearance. It reflects more light than a matte finish and it stands up well to cleaning. 


The durability of a satin finish and the fact that it is easy to clean are pluses for rooms that get a lot of use such as high-traffic areas like bathrooms, the kitchen, and a child’s room. It is also well suited for trim and molding throughout the house.


Satin finish does not hide imperfections in the wall surface or in the application. Brush or roller strokes are highly visible. Touch-ups stand out with this finish.

Semi-Gloss and Gloss

Semi-gloss and gloss paint finishes reflect the most light when dry, so they appear with a bright sheen.


Semi-gloss and gloss finishes are very durable. They resist moisture, drips, and grease stains, making them appropriate in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as for trim and chair rails. High gloss is especially good for cabinets and doors where lots of hands and fingers touch. It is easy to clean.


High gloss is too much shine for interior walls and it shows every bump and imperfection, requiring a lot of prep work before painting. Touch-ups are highly visible. 

Contact Osborne Painting for Painting the Interior of Your Home

Osborne Painting is your go-to painting company in the Raleigh area. We are experienced with painting the interior of homes so we can give you great advice on the types of paint finishes that work best for your needs. Call us at 919-878-6611 or complete the easy-to-use form below.