June 26

Interior Paint Finishes: A Comprehensive Guide


When embarking on the journey of painting your home, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll face is choosing interior paint finishes. With various options like flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss, understanding which finish best suits your needs can be overwhelming. At Ron Rice Painting, we’re here to simplify the process and help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Interior Paint Finishes

In the paint business, interior paint finishes are often referred to by their sheen level. A 0 sheen represents a dead flat finish, while a 20 sheen indicates eggshell, and a 50 sheen corresponds to semi-gloss, with many variations in between. Each finish has its unique pros and cons, and understanding these can help you choose the best one for your project.

Flat Finish


  • Excellent for touching up, maintaining its look for years.
  • Hides imperfections in drywall or plaster walls better than other finishes.


  • Easily scuffed and marked, especially with dark colors or deep base paints.
  • Can diminish the richness of a color, making it appear less vibrant.

Flat interior paint finishes are ideal for ceilings and walls but are not recommended for doors or trim due to its lack of durability. They tend to be the most affordable option, so they are commonly used for ceilings and low-traffic areas where touch-ups should not be needed frequently. Because flat paint is less durable, you might need to repaint sooner, potentially increasing long-term costs.

Eggshell Finish


  • Offers more protection than flat finishes, resisting scuffs and marks better.
  • Provides a good balance between touch-up ability and durability.


  • Doesn’t clean well and may become difficult to touch up after a few years.

Eggshell is primarily used for walls and has become a popular choice for trim and wet areas like bathrooms, thanks to its moisture-repellent properties. Designers increasingly favor eggshell interior paint finishes for their versatility and balanced appearance.

Eggshell finishes are slightly more expensive than flat paints due to their added durability and moisture resistance. This finish strikes a balance between cost and performance, making it a popular choice. The slight price increase is often justified by its enhanced durability and aesthetic appeal.

Semi-Gloss Finish


  • Extremely durable and resistant to scuffs and marks.
  • Creates a striking contrast when used alongside other finishes, adding depth to a room.


  • Highlights imperfections in walls and trim.
  • Difficult to touch up effectively.

Semi-gloss is a favorite for trim and wet areas due to its durability and sheen. While trends are leaning towards eggshell and satin for interior trim and cabinets, the durability of semi-gloss makes it a preferred choice for commercial high-traffic areas and lower-end rental units.

Semi-gloss interior paint finishes are typically more expensive than satin. They are highly durable and resistant to scuffs and marks, making them ideal for trim, doors, and wet areas. While the initial investment is higher, the durability of semi-gloss paint can lead to cost savings over time by reducing the need for frequent touch-ups and repaints.

Exploring Other Finishes

Matte Finish

Matte interior paint finishes offer a low-sheen alternative to flat finishes, providing a soft, velvety look while still being relatively easy to clean. They are suitable for living rooms, bedrooms, and other low-traffic areas.

Satin Finish

Satin interior paint finishes offer a subtle sheen and are more durable than eggshell finishes. They are a popular choice for high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms, where a balance of durability and aesthetic appeal is needed.

Satin finishes come at a higher price point compared to flat and eggshell finishes. The added cost is balanced by their longer lifespan and ease of maintenance, reducing the frequency of repainting.

Gloss Finish

Gloss interior paint finishes are the shiniest of all, offering a high sheen and exceptional durability. They are best suited for doors, trim, and cabinetry, where a durable and easy-to-clean surface is essential. However, they can be challenging to apply evenly and may highlight surface imperfections. 

Gloss finishes are the most expensive due to their high sheen and durability. The cost of gloss paint is justified by its superior performance and longevity, making it a worthwhile investment for surfaces that demand a high level of durability and shine.

Choosing the Right Finish for Your Project

With so many options available, selecting the right interior paint finishes for your project can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you decide:

  1. Consider the Room’s Function: High-traffic areas like hallways and kitchens benefit from more durable finishes like satin or semi-gloss, while low-traffic areas can use flat or matte finishes.
  2. Think About the Desired Look: Flat and matte finishes offer a more subdued, elegant look, while satin and gloss finishes provide a brighter, more reflective surface.
  3. Evaluate Maintenance Needs: If easy maintenance is a priority, choose finishes that are easy to clean and touch up, such as eggshell or satin.
  4. Cost Considerations: Balancing the cost and maintenance differences between various paint finishes is essential, as each finish has a unique price point that can significantly impact your overall project budget.
  5. Consult with Professionals: Working with a contractor or designer can help you navigate the various options and select the finish that best meets your needs.

A Note on Overall Project Budgets

Your choice of interior paint finishes can significantly influence the overall budget of a painting project. While lower-cost finishes like flat paint may seem appealing initially, they might require more frequent maintenance and repainting. In contrast, investing in higher-cost finishes like satin or gloss can offer long-term savings by reducing the need for frequent touch-ups and repaints. When planning your budget, consider not only the upfront cost of the paint but also the long-term maintenance and durability of the chosen finish.


Choosing the right interior paint finishes are crucial for achieving the desired look and durability in your home. Whether you prefer the subtle elegance of flat finishes or the durability of semi-gloss, understanding the pros and cons of each option will help you make an informed decision.

At Ron Rice Painting, we are always here to assist you in selecting the perfect finish for your project. Our team of experts is ready to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.

Call Us Today

Ready to transform your home with the perfect interior paint finishes? Contact Ron Rice Painting today for a consultation. Our experienced team will help you choose the ideal finish to bring your vision to life. Contact us now and let’s start creating beautiful spaces together!

You can also click on our gallery to view our past projects.


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