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How to Choose the Perfect Interior Paint Finish

Once you have figured out the¬†correct variety of interior paint for your project you must now take the next leap down the rabbit hole: selecting a finish. Who knew that there were so many shades of grey when it comes to paint (excuse the pun)! If you are like most people you can’t distinguish between an eggshell finish and an order of eggs Benedict. Luckily, Capstone Painting would like to share some of the insights we have picked up over the course of hundreds of interior painting jobs while working with every finish under the sun (there are about five give or take).


If eggshell finish were an Australian cricket player they would call it an “all-a rounder” because it can do a little bit of everything for your walls. Eggshell is one of the best finishes for hiding imperfections while providing that modest sheen (like an eggshell) that you may want for your walls. If your walls are in decent shape and you don’t have to worry too much about kids, pets or impaired buddies dirtying up your paint eggshell is a great choice. It resists dirt and moisture better than flat finish and touches up moderately well. More times than not if you select eggshell finish you won’t end up with egg on your face.


Oh, trusty old flat, the manila envelope of paint finishes, just because flat doesn’t have the sensual sheen of a satin finish doesn’t mean it is without utility. Oh contraire, flat is the workhorse of the finish stable. Flat is outstanding at hiding imperfections on the wall surface, which is great if you are a resident in an older or more experienced home. Flat finish provides any room a calm and cool feel due to its lack of sheen. The finish is a great choice wherever you may have televisions or intense lighting. Yet, you must consider that flat paint resists moisture poorly, gets dirty easily and is difficult to clean without residual effects. The saving grace being that it is the Rolls-Royce of touch up finishes and can easily cover blemishes.


Gloss finish, you know, looks glossy. People who like shiny will be happy with gloss. This extremely high sheen finish resists dirt and moisture the best while being the most washable/cleanable of all finishes. The finish reflects light and can feel like you are walking in a room of mirrors (some people might be into this). If you have imperfections in your wall steer clear of gloss because the blemishes will be exaggerated. Gloss is best suited for moist areas like bathrooms or in well used kitchens where food may tend to splatter onto the walls. The finish is also popular for use on trim and cabinets.


Made famous by the Moody Blues (Nights in White Satin), satin finish trends toward the mean of paint finish characteristics. The finish has slightly more sheen than eggshell, yet less so than semi-gloss. It resists dirt more than eggshell but less than semi-gloss. It is not a good touch up finish, but it does clean decent and resist moisture well. It is also poor at hiding imperfections in your walls. If you have few imperfections in your walls, little reason to fear them and a predilection toward a finish with a little more sheen, then satin finish is for you.


Semi-gloss is like semi-chocolate. It’s not as rich as the original, but it can still provide some of the desired effects. As aforementioned with gloss, semi-gloss cleans well, resists moisture well and reflects light. This mid-to-high sheen finish touches up poorly. It is best suited for use in children’s bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

The Final Word on Paint Finish

When choosing the perfect paint finish you must consider the context of your project. Do you have a messy spouse or kids? What is the room you are painting used for? Do you like shiny things? Another important thought to consider: here at Capstone Painting we feel that is more important to have a finish that touches up well rather than a finish that washes well. No matter how gentle you are, washing paint will eventually take a toll leading to inevitable touch ups. Yet, there is a time and place for every finish. Just make sure you can identify when and where.


Please call us or fill out our online form to schedule your appointment for a free consultation with one of our Reno painting experts.