Flat, satin or semi-gloss? Brush up on paint types

Flat, satin or semi-gloss? Brush up on paint types

Ready to refresh your home’s interior walls with a new coat of paint, but aren’t sure what type to use for each room? Or do you have other items around the house that need to be spruced up?

If painting is on your to-do list, whether it’s by hiring a highly rated professional to tackle the task or rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself, here are the best paint options to consider for each project.

Which paint do I pick for the interior?

You can find color inspiration anywhere – a flower garden, a fancy cocktail, even a pair of blue suede shoes. Paint stores have the ability to match any color you bring them, so use your imagination and stick to these types of paints for the best results:

Kitchen: Use a satin or semi-gloss paint, which are easier to wipe down.

Bathroom: Use a satin or eggshell sheen to help ward off watermarks. A lot of people think the higher the sheen, the more washable it is. That’s not true. Don’t go with a semi-gloss; it’s way too shiny. The higher the sheen, the easier it is to see the imperfections. Don’t use anything higher than an eggshell or satin, and pay a little bit more for quality paints – they’re more durable.

Hallways: High traffic areas need a satin finish to resist the dreaded marks left by bumps and rubs when people walk down the hall. If you have a flat finish, you’ll see finger prints. Satin also stays cleaner, as the dirt doesn’t grip to the slick surface as much as a flat finish.

Trim/baseboards: Use a semi-gloss, which offers a bit of sheen and is easy to clean.

Living room or bedroom: A satin or eggshell paint flatters these areas.

Ceiling: Use flat paint to reduce light glare and hide imperfections.

Can you paint…?


If your kitchen cabinets are in good condition, they can be painted to suit your style or upgrade a dated finish. This is an area of expertise for us, and we have very specific processes for painting cabinetry.

Homeowners who want to tackle the job should scrub and lightly sand the cabinets, apply a primer, and then finish with enamel paint.

A bedroom door

You want to use a semi-gloss paint that will hold up to the constant handling and can be washed. Homeowners can use a 4-inch-wide roller to apply the paint, and then go back over it with a brush to remove any roller marks.

Over wallpaper

To save money, sometimes builders won’t paint a wall if they know wallpaper is going up. The paper is on there so well and tight, it becomes part of the drywall. It just doesn’t strip off. The damage you do to the drywall isn’t worth it.

Homeowners can apply primer over the paper, smooth out any joints and then paint. It looks good.

And no matter what paint you go with, our experts agree: Steer clear of the cheapest choices. A key element to success is to use premium quality primer and paint products.

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