OID’s Guide To Paint Finishes

February 25, 2021

You’ve picked out your hue (maybe even using my list of all-time favorite neutral paint colors right here) but now you have to figure out the paint finish… feeling a bit lost again? Don’t fret, let me help! 

It’s not as confusing as it may seem at first, I promise! The key fact to keep in mind when it comes to paint finishes is that the higher the sheen, the higher the shine. And while, of course, you can choose your paint finish to achieve the look you’re striving for, I always recommend considering the functionality of the space you’re painting THEN consider the style. With this in mind, low traffic areas are ideal for flat or eggshell finishes, while high traffic areas are best suited for a satin or semi-gloss (high traffic usually means more mess and handprints, and “shinier” finishes are easier to clean!).

Feel free to send any questions my way!


This is a non-reflective, high pigmented finish. It’s perfect for older homes as it hides imperfections on the wall… but it’s also the hardest to clean. Considering this, I always recommend the highest quality versions of this finish. 

  • Best suited for: ceilings, low traffic areas
  • Durability: Low


Not shiny, but also not a matte, an eggshell finish is right in the middle, the best of both worlds. I typically recommend this for living rooms and bedrooms, always keeping in mind the lifestyle of the client though.

  • Best suited for: dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms
  • Durability: Medium


A satin finish is easier to clean than the eggshell and has a bit of shine to it, so it’s great for spaces with a bit of natural light, as well as bathrooms.

  • Best suited for: family rooms, hallways, bathrooms, entryways, stair walls (aka to deal with kids’ hand prints!), kids’ rooms and playrooms
  • Durability: Medium-high


A semi-gloss finish has a bit more shine than the satin, and does not hide imperfections well; keep this in mind! However, it’s pretty easy to clean and maintains it’s finish and shine long term.

  • Best suited for: kitchens, trims, doors
  • Durability: High


Many families love a high gloss finish since it’s super easy to clean, even if it shows any and all imperfections. I personally love to use this finish for new built-ins. 

  • Best suited for: cabinets, stand out walls/millwork, doors
  • Durability: Very high

Don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions regarding paint finishes – or anything paint related!

And for more paint and interior ideas, head to my Pinterest page for endless inspiration 🙂