How To Select The Right Paint Finish For Each Room

Based off the popularity of past paint color posts, and on the number of questions which follow them, today I thought I’d discuss several tips on how to select the right paint finish.

A foyer staircase which illustrates different options on How to Select the right paint finish.

How To Select The Right Paint Finish For Each Room

A fresh coat of paint can transform any room and breathe new life into your home.

Most people consider painting to be the ultimate do-it-yourself project.

If you’re doing this yourself, it’s important that you do your research on the right paint sheen for each particular project.

Choosing the right interior paint finish is just as important as picking the perfect paint color.

For example, most people look for an entirely different mood in a formal living room than in their family rooms or dining rooms.

In addition, there are also other factors to consider – from the lighting to the floor color, but one of the biggest factors is the finish of the paint.

Different paint types will result in a completely different look.

By following these tips you’ll have everything you need to choose the right finish for your project and make whatever room your working on sensational.

The Right Paint Finish For Each Room - flat or eggshellour family room – more info on this space here

Depending on the area of your home and the look you’re going for, you’ll need to make a decision about the type of finish that you want the paint to have.

There are several options for paint finishes and each of them results in a completely different look:

A Flat Finish

Flat paint finishes come from low-sheen paint.

Its non-reflective finish means you’ll be able to touch up the walls and hide imperfections.

Because of this, flat finishes are a great option for low traffic areas of your home as well as for your ceilings.

home office with Balboa Mist greige paint on wallsWall color here is Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist.


A Matte Finish

A matte paint finish is a good choice for a low-traffic areas in your home.

Matte finishes are easy to maintain and durable.

As a result, even occasional wear and tear on matte sheen walls won’t require the need to completely repaint the room.

My daughter’s bedroom-wall paint color here is Benjamin Moore Decorators White.


Eggshell Enamel

An eggshell sheen has a soft, luxurious finish that looks great in living rooms or hallways.

Eggshell covers wall imperfections – making this one of my favorite finishes and probably the most popular choice.

This is what makes eggshell finishes a great choice for high traffic areas.

Eggshell paint tends to clean up pretty easily with just a damp cloth.

For these reasons, it’s also my personal preference for most interior walls.

Satin Enamel

The satin enamel finish is soft and almost pearl-like.

Satin finishes are a good option for high-moisture areas like kitchens or bathrooms.


Our kitchen wall paint color is Farrow and Ball Elephant’s Breath.


Semi-Gloss Enamel

Semi-gloss paint is always a great choice for accents and trim work.

A semi-gloss finish does very well in high-traffic areas and high moisture areas.

Semi-gloss sheen is so perfect for cabinets in either the kitchen or the bathroom.

More info on the best paint finish to use in your bathroom.


Hi-Gloss Enamel

And, finally there’s high-gloss paint – a glossy finish tends to be the trickiest paint type.
This is the highest gloss you can possibly get.
A high gloss paint finish can work beautifully for high use surfaces in your home, like staircase banisters.

Our antelope stair runner – more info on this here.

High-gloss finishes are also gaining popularity as a real statement maker in smaller rooms with saturated colors.

It creates a “jewel box ”effect.

However the higher gloss finishes require a lot of painting experience.

Brush strokes and application flaws tend to show up the most with high-gloss sheens.

Because glossier finishes are harder to apply, you might want to consider professional painters for this job.

See our blue butler’s pantry below for an example of this.

Our high gloss butler’s pantry.



There are a number of factors that go into choosing the best paint finish for your project.

The lighting of the room, the purpose of the room, and how much traffic the area gets will definitely affect the type of paint finish which will work best and have the longest-lasting results.

Before you choose the paint you want to go with, it’s a good idea to discuss the project and your vision for the results with the professionals at a paint store or wherever you buy your paint.

If you’re planning on testing out paint samples (and you absolutely should not skip this important step) make sure to get the correct finish in the sample as well.

They’ll be able to help you make the most informed decision and get the beautiful home upgrade you’re looking for.

Hopefully this post will help you make the right paint choice when it comes to your paint finish.

Regardless of your sense of style or your home setup, a fresh coat of paint can have a beautiful effect on your home and after all is said and done, you’ll absolutely love the way your home expresses your personal taste.

patterned fabric on window valanceMy home office – wall color here is Benjamin Moore Lavender Ice.


Finally, for even more simple tips and great home design features, be sure to check out these posts by clicking each title below:

The best white exterior paint colors for your home.

Paint Review of Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee.

Benjamin Moore Linen White Paint Review

Our Master Bedroom Sitting Room Before and After.

A Paint Review of Benjamin Moore Morning Sky Blue

Favorite Gray and Greige Wall Paint Colors

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Paint Review of Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan

How to Paint Over Cultured Marble

Paint Review of Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

The 10 best paint colors for your kitchen cabinets.


Additional Thoughts on Interior Design

Design lovers! Have you joined our fun and VERY helpful design Facebook group?

In this group – members share photos with their design questions and dilemmas from their own home.

We all chime in with our best advice!

There’s both professional interior designers and non professional design enthusiasts in this smart group.

It’s also great for sourcing hard to find items and and home decor pieces.


free design cheat sheet for home decor

Lastly, to help you even further with your home projects, download my FREE DESIGN CHEAT SHEET, because it’s loaded with all sorts of home decorating quick tips and handy measurements.

Sign up below to grab that because it will be super helpful!

And, this way you’ll be subscribed to this blog, so you’ll get some great house tours and even more helpful style advice.

Leave a Comment


  1. Cheryl wrote:

    I have an 8 foot ceiling , can I use satin for the ceiling to make it look taller?

    Published on 10.2.21 · Reply
    • Sue De Chiara wrote:


      Published on 10.4.21 · Reply
  2. Kim wrote:

    How would you compare Elephants Breath w BM’s s Manchester Tan. It’s a color I’ve used in several homes and loved

    Published on 11.18.20 · Reply
    • Sue De Chiara wrote:

      Elephants Breath is a lot more gray with hints of magenta/lilac undertones. Manchester Tan, while beige, seems to have more of yellow undertone.
      Both are beautiful.

      Published on 11.18.20 · Reply