Interior Paint Finishes: Where to Use Them In Your Home

Paint Blog

Paint is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to change up the look of your home. While you may be tempted to run out and grab one type of paint to use across your whole home, the different rooms and areas of your home form their own microclimates, therefore, needing a certain finish of paint.

Not sure which paint is the right fit for a particular room in your home? With the help of The Spruce and The Home Depot, we’ve got you covered. While there is no concrete, hard and fast rule here, it helps to go into any project considering all your options. 

Let’s start by breaking down the different finishes of interior paints: 

Matte Paints

  • Non-reflective and smooth
  • Requires fewer coats to cover, easy to touch up
  • Well suited for ceilings and low traffic areas 
  • Clean with a damp sponge — cleaning chemicals may damage matte paints

Eggshell Paint 

  • Low sheen, smooth finish (like an eggshell!) 
  • Great for low to mid traffic areas
  • Resistant to scratches and scuffing, easier to clean than matte paints

Satin Paint 

  • Highly versatile, soft sheen, pearl-like finish
  • Well suited for busy indoor areas and rooms more commonly exposed to moisture. 
  • Resists mildew and fading, easier to clean

Semi-Gloss Paint  

  • More reflective than satin, smooth sheen, more shiny and sleek
  • Works great in areas with higher humidity
  • Will show more blemishes than non-reflective paints
  • Light colors can appear brighter due to increased shine

High-Gloss Paint 

  • Offers highly reflective, high shine, glass-like in finish
  • Ideal for cabinets, doors, and trim 
  • Require more coats than non-reflective paints 
  • Works best on smooth and clean surfaces


  • Used for evening out a painting surface
  • Prevents a surface from soaking up more paint in some areas
  • Provides a better surface for paint to adhere to
  • Can be found in stain-killing and sealer versions to use on water stains
  • Latex primer is used on most interior surfaces, while alkyd primers are used on raw wood

Now that we’ve got a clear understanding of the different types of paints, let’s go room by room and match them up!

Kitchen Paint

The Kitchen

Both eggshell and satin paints are popular in the kitchen. Matte finishes will likely not be the best fit due to the fact that they are not as easy to wipe down. Semi-gloss is another choice for homeowners that are concerned about maintenance. 

Bathroom Paint


Given the increased humidity you’ll find in bathrooms, paints with a glossier finish are more resistant to moisture and easier to wipe down, making them a better fit than flatter paints.

Living Room Paint

Living Room, Dining Room, and Bedrooms

These are the rooms where the right paint is a matter of taste, both in terms of how the paint finish looks, as well as durability. Eggshell and satin are popular in these spaces as a happy medium. You can also use matte paint if you wish due to the relatively low impact in these areas. 

Playroom Paint

Playrooms, Home Offices, and Laundry Rooms (Your “busy” rooms)

Because of the high levels of traffic typically found in these areas, satin is a great choice. Highly versatile in nature, satin strikes a nice balance between looks and durability. If scratches and scuffs are a concern, eggshell, or even matte paints, may be an even better fit.

Cabinet Paint

Trim, Doors, and Cabinets

Glossier paints tend to work best for these areas, providing contrast to flatter wall surfaces while remaining easy to clean.

Ceiling Paint


Odds are your ceilings won’t be changing color quite as much as the walls in your home, but in the event that you are looking to make a change, flat white paint (also branded as ceiling paint) is the most common choice. White reflects light from the room and gives the illusion of making a space feel larger. 


And there you have it! We hope this quick breakdown helps you find the right paint for your next project. If you have a project you need a bit more help with, let us know and we would be happy to refer you to home professionals our clients have enjoyed working with! 


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