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  • Lewis Mitten

Confused about what type of paint finish to have in your home? Here is a simple guide to help you.

Updated: Dec 22, 2021


Matt emulsion is commonly used on walls and ceilings. It is a flat finish with a sheen level of less than 10%, therefore non-reflective in appearance.

Less washable than its glossier counterparts, matt can be subject to scuff marks when used in deep tones and high traffic areas such as halls. There are however durable matt options available in most ranges which are designed to resist marking.

Flat matt emulsion is even more velvety and because matt surfaces don't reflect light, they make all colours look as similar as they can be in very different light conditions. Flat matt works wonders on deeper colours too.

Satin and Silk are 'mid-sheen' finishes, which means they look like a slightly polished surface and reflect a bit of light. Silk is a finish associated with walls and satin for woodwork. You can wipe silk wall finishes easily which makes them very practical but if you have less-than-perfect walls, all the lumps and bumps may show up a bit more. A satin finish on woodwork helps to hide imperfections and gives colour a softer appearance.

soft sheen finishes are traditional finishes used for kitchens and bathrooms due to their shinier and therefore more wipeable properties and a greater resistance to steam. It is worth noting when choosing a wall finish that those with higher sheen levels can highlight imperfections in the walls.

Gloss is available for both interior and exterior decorating. The sheen level is high at approximately 90% making it highly reflective and washable. Water-based and acrylic glosses will usually have a less sheen than solvent-based.

Commonly used on trim, gloss (when applied well) will give a beautiful mirrored effect.

Masonry paints are available in two key finishes; smooth and textured. Weather durability is a key factor when choosing masonry paint.


This finish is usually matt and smooth to the touch and fairly easy to keep clean.


The aggregate encased within this paint gives a lightly textured finish, ideal for covering imperfections on exterior walls. Weightier versions are available which are heavy bodied to give a much deeper texture. These are suited to walls with larger flaws to cover or where a deep texture is required aesthetically. Walls coated with a textured finish are likely to need cleaning more often.

You can also get self cleaning masonry paint too that uses a special in paint technology to use rain water to clean the paint.

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