5 Tips for Selecting the Right Paint Finish for Your Next Painting Project

Posted on February 21, 2019

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Paint Finish for Your Next Painting Project
  • While there are a lot fewer paint finishes than there are paint colors, selecting the right one for your space can feel complicated.
  • The painting experts at CertaPro Painters® can make recommendations on how to choose paint finishes to fit the design and function of your space.
  • Budget, aesthetic and cleanability are some of the main considerations when selecting the perfect paint finish.

Have you been spending weeks deciding between multiple paint swatches pinned for your walls? Choosing the right color for your interior walls can feel daunting when you’re faced with the task of picking from a seemingly limitless selection of colors. Even if you’ve narrowed it down to just one color, who had any idea there were just so many shades of that color to pull from?

When the color selection process is finalized, you may feel like you’re finally able to wash your hands of having to make any more decisions. Before you power down, there’s one more decision to make: paint finishes.

Don’t worry, there are a lot fewer options of paint finishes than there are paint colors. While the finish you choose will partly be a decorative choice that will change how shiny your painting pro appears, there are also practical factors for choosing the right paint sheen for your space.

The professionals at CertaPro Painters® can help you with deciding on the perfect finish for your interior painting project––and can certainly help with everything that comes before and after that decision too.

In the meantime, here are the basics you should be thinking about when it comes to painting finishes:

Think About Your Desired Aesthetic

There are typically only a handful of paint finishes to choose from. Depending on what brand of paint you select, they may have slightly different names.

Let’s start with the basics: sheen refers to the amount of gloss or shine a paint film contains or how much light it reflects.

  • Flat or matte paint finishes have very little sheen and create a non-reflective appearance. These finishes will create a smooth and subtle look.
  • Eggshell paint and satin finishes provide a soft sheen, which appropriately mirrors the appearance of their namesakes.
  • Semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes––sometimes called pearl––are the most reflective and provide a bright sheen to create a glamorous aesthetic.

Think About the Traffic

Wearability is one of the biggest considerations you should consider when selecting a paint finish. Walls in high-traffic spaces need to be able to be easily cleaned.

Entryways, hallways and family rooms where shoes and jackets find temporary homes and little hands may be making contact with painted surfaces need a finish that is washable.

Eggshells and semi-glosses are more common in these areas because they’re easier to clean than flat or matte finishes, which are more suitable for private areas like bedrooms and dining rooms. The higher the sheen, the easier the clean.

Think About the Imperfections

If the surfaces you’re interested in painting are older and blemished, you’re going to want to select a matte or flat paint finish that is better at hiding imperfections. These finishes are less reflective, so they do a good job of not drawing attention to minor nicks or scuffs, or uneven lumps and bumps.

They’ll provide a simple and smooth appearance, even if that’s not the reality of what’s underneath. Higher sheen finishes reflect imperfections in the surface or application. That’s why it’s helpful to let the experts at CertaPro Painters® handle the application, especially for higher sheen finishes. You don’t want to have visible roller or brush strokes when the paint has dried.

Think About the Moisture

A paint project in a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom may run the risk of having moisture and/or condensation along the walls. You’re going to want to select a paint finish that is less porous to avoid water leaking into the surface and leaving behind unsightly water stains.

The higher the sheen, the less porous the paint. Flat or matte finishes are more likely to absorb oils, dirt and moisture from their environment. Stick to higher sheens for the aforementioned rooms to keep surfaces dry and free of mildew.

“Satin paint finishes are especially useful in bathrooms because they can resist mold or mildew, dirt and other stains that are more prone to occur in these rooms,”says Don Lenehan, owner of CertaPro Painters® of Richardson, TX

Here is a check list for you to go through to help determine your perfect finish:

  • Non-reflective- Smooth= Flat or Matte
  • Softer Shine-soft appearance (little shine)= Eggshell and Satin
  • Mirror of highly reflective (shines)= Semi-gloss and High-gloss

Think About Your Project Budget

The cost of your painting finish will vary based on the brand you choose but in general, higher costs are associated with higher sheens. Because high-gloss is the most durable of all the paint sheens, you’ll likely be saving on touch up costs in the long run. With a free estimate by CertaPro Painters® you’ll be able to know what kind of finish will work for your project and you’ll get an idea of costs associated with each selection available.

Let’s Get Painting

Our team at CertaPro Painters® is trained to help walk you through the process, from color to finish. Schedule your estimate here, or by calling us at 1-800-689-7271 to speak with a painting professional about the perfect sheen that fits the goals of your space and your budget.


  • Tags:
  • interior painting
  • paint finishes
  • painting