5 Types of Paint Finish [Guide] – Interior and Exterior

different interior paint finish types beautiful navy hallway

One of the first conversations we love having with our customers when they first choose us to start painting their home’s interior rooms; is what type of paint to use. Not only will the type of paint offer specific durability, but it can determine the best look and often have helpful color options to help narrow down the choices.

Most of the time, we suggest that our customers go to their local hardware store to take a look at the large variety of color options. Not only to pick their favorite colors but also the type of paint they’d like us to use. We prefer to use Sherwin-Williams paint, and we offer a great color visualizer to help our customers.

“Every paint out there will have a sample.” says paint expert Sarabeth Asaff South.

“Get as many samples as you can, and get some poster board. Play around with those samples…”  Asaff South says.

Every paint out there will have a sample,” says paint expert Sarabeth Asaff South.

But, it can be overwhelming, we know. Also, knowing which room you’d like to paint can make this process much smoother.

We’ve put together a helpful guide (below) on the different types of paints to use, based on the rooms you are interested in being painted.

Different Types of Paint Finishes

Flat – Ceilings, dining rooms, adult bedrooms, Least reflective, best for low traffic
Satin – Home Office, kids rooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, Indoor & outdoor, Pearl-like matte w/hint of sheen, most popular, resists mildew
Eggshell – Hallways, living rooms, entryways, Mid-traffic areas, Balance of matte and gloss, easy to clean w/damp cloth
Semi-Gloss – Bathrooms, Kitchens, higher traffic & higher moist rooms
High-Gloss – Cabinets, Trim & molding, Most reflective, more decorate and easiest to clean

Different Types of Sheen

different types of paint finish interior exterior

Paints that are without a sheen are referred to as flat or matte. They absorb more light, making them non-reflective or non-shiny.

Paint finishes with a semi-gloss or a glossier sheen reflect light, giving it a shiny appearance.

Paints that have somewhat in between sheen do just that, they have a low to mid visible gloss absorbing a little light, reflecting a little light.

Different Types of Paint Finish

different types of paint finish interior exterior rooms


The flat finish provides a non-reflective, smooth appearance that is best for low traffic areas and walls, most often used on ceilings, dining rooms, but can be used on low traffic walls in the living rooms and adult or spare bedrooms.
The matte paint uses fewer coats than the higher gloss paints and is easy to touch up and clean up by using a warm damp cloth.


Pearl-like matte with a hint of sheen, the satin finish is the commonly chosen option due to its versatility, durability, and ability to resist mildew and fading, great for indoor and outdoor use. Often ideal for busy indoor areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, kid’s rooms, play-rooms, and home offices. Easier to clean than lower-gloss finishes, allowing the use of gentle cleaners in moderation.


The eggshell finish provides a more elegant, yet low sheet look, a smooth and softer finish that is perfect for low to mid traffic touched walls, such as hallways, entryways, and living rooms. It has a balance of matte and gloss, easiest to clean with a damp cloth.


The semi-gloss finish, as much more reflective with a smoother sheen giving a room a shiny, sleek appearance on the walls. Often the semi-gloss is chosen for higher traffic rooms and they offer high resistance to moisture, working great in higher humidity rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, doors, and utility rooms. One of the easier finishes to clean by using multi-cleaning options.

Our Painting Expert Tip: We often use white and off-white paints in a semi-gloss to give rooms a brighter, more vibrant appearance than any other type of finish.


High-gloss finishes are the highest-sheen option, almost glass-like finish providing the highest level of reflection. High-gloss finish is ideal for cabinets, doors, molding, trim as well as outdoor sots like shutters and window casings. The high-gloss is both decorative and easiest to clean.

Choosing the right interior paint finish should be determined by the use of the room and most definitely will affect the final look of your room. With so many types of paint finish to choose from, we hope this guide has helped and we look forward to working with you!

Contact us today to set up a free estimate:


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6 thoughts on “5 Types of Paint Finish [Guide] – Interior and Exterior

  1. Frank Latham Reply

    CC’s just finished painting my chimney prior to my residing work next week. Dave and Kirk did a fantastic job, and were professional and communicative through the process. I have had several interior rooms painted by CC’s and as far as I am concerned I will only use this service.

  2. Painter in Edmonton Reply

    This is a really great article! Consumers are often confused as to the different types of paint available. This is a very good source for them to take a look at. You have definitely provided great insights into each finish!

  3. Andrew Reply

    Found this post while doing research for my business and found it very useful, particularly the specific uses for the different kinds of paint. Thanks for writing the article

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