Flat vs. Satin

Flat vs. Satin

Oh boy. What a tough decision. Flat or satin??

You may think choosing the paint color is the only decision to make but it’s really only half the battle. The sheen of the paint is important for overall look and function. So what sheen should you choose?

The answer is not always so simple and it usually comes down to your personal preference. Here’s why: A flat finish has virtually no sheen and is non-reflective. It leaves a smooth finish and is great for concealing blemishes in your walls and why it’s a great choice for ceilings. A satin, or similarly an eggshell finish, has a mild sheen and is more durable and washable than a flat finish. The downside is that it reflects light and will show more inconsistencies in the surface.

Caught up to speed? Here’s some helpful ideas in choosing the right sheen:

-Bathrooms and kitchens are ideal for a satin finish because of the abuse they take. A glossier finish will help resist most stains.

-Have kids? Pets? Go with a satin finish. I probably don’t need to tell you that they can reek havoc on your walls and in your home.

-A flat finish can be a good choice for formal dining rooms and master bedrooms. Rooms like those don’t get a lot of abuse and you may want the smoothest appearance possible.

-Ceilings should be done in a flat finish. I hate walking into a house with shiny ceilings. You really see all the blemishes. Contrary to that, trim and woodwork should typically be done in a gloss finish. This will accent all surfaces and it’s also very durable.
Good to go? Let me help confuse you…
There are “in-between” finishes that may be better options than just flat or satin. Picture this: You have an old home and there are tons of imperfections that can’t be so easily fixed with some spackle and sanding. You want to go with a flat finish because it will help even out those imperfections, but you have four children that love running their hands all over the walls. So what do you do??

There are actually a few options to choose from. Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint (our favorite SW paint) comes in a flat enamel and a low luster finish among others. Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint (our favorite paint ever) comes in a matte finish. All of these paints essentially infuse all the benefits of a flat and satin finish without most of the drawbacks. They are low-sheen so they hide imperfections well but are still durable and washable.

-Matt