January 6

Choosing a Paint Finish for Your Home

Choosing a paint finish for your home is almost as important as your color selections. Understanding the different types of paint and finishes is essential for making the right choices for your next project. Selecting the wrong type of paint or finish can be disastrous and require an expensive do-over to correct.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint

The surface to be painted needs to be considered, as some paints are better suited to certain surfaces than others. Environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can also influence the type of paint that should be used. Each type of paint has advantages and disadvantages and should be chosen based on the project.

Two Primary Types of Paint

The terminology used for paint types refers to the solvent used to keep the paint in liquid form. Interior house paints are either water or oil-based. Each has different characteristics and uses. If you are repainting a surface, you want to make sure you are using the same type of paint to ensure the best results.

Latex paint is the most common type and is often used for interior walls, trim, and ceilings. It is water-based, meaning that it is composed of a mixture of pigments, binders, and water. Because latex paint uses a water base, it emits low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), the toxic gasses released from paint and building materials. It is an environmentally-friendly option and suitable to use indoors around pets and children.

Oil-based paint is also known as solvent-based or enamel paint. It is composed of pigments suspended in natural oil such as linseed oil. When thoroughly dried, it forms a hard finish that is durable and longer-lasting. It takes longer to dry between coats, requiring more time to complete a project. Oil-based paints emit higher levels of VOCs. Oil-based paints are often chosen for exterior painting projects because of their durability.

Paint Finishes

Choosing the correct finish is essential for interior painting projects. The paint finish impacts how the color looks as well as the durability of your paint job. Finishes range from flat (no gloss) to high-gloss options.


A flat finish does not reflect light, resulting in no sheen. This lack of reflection allows more paint pigment to come through and is more forgiving of surface imperfections. Stains are harder to remove from low-sheen paints. Constant rubbing or cleaning can result in the paint coming off along with the dirt. It’s ideal for low-traffic areas where durability is not a significant concern.


A matte finish provides a low-sheen, velvety look that creates a sense of warmth and coziness in a room. Matte paints are easier to touch up and are less likely to show imperfections, making them a good choice for walls and ceilings. A matte finish helps hide blemishes or uneven surfaces. Like a flat finish, matte does not hold up well to constant cleaning.


An eggshell paint finish is a popular choice for most interior spaces. It has a soft luster that resists dirt and grime. Eggshell covers imperfections well and offers good durability. An eggshell finish is often used in bedrooms, living rooms, and dining areas.


A satin finish has a higher gloss than eggshell. It has a soft pearl-like appearance and is easy to clean. Satin works well in most interior spaces. It’s a good choice for high-traffic areas or areas with frequent moisture exposure, such as bathrooms and kitchens.


More shine and higher durability make semi-gloss finishes a popular choice. Semi-gloss is ideal for rooms with high moisture or that experience high traffic. While it is easy to clean, semi-gloss will show most blemishes on walls and ceilings.


If you want a glass-like appearance, consider a high-gloss finish. Most stains and dirt are easily wiped off. High gloss is an excellent choice for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens. One of the significant downsides to a high-gloss finish is nearly every imperfection will be highlighted by the sheen. It also takes considerable skill to apply high-gloss paints.

Hire a Professional Painting Company

Choosing a paint finish for your project is just the first step. Color selection, repairs, and cleaning are just a few things you’ll need to do before applying your new paint. If you’d prefer to leave the job to professionals, Walla Painting is a locally-owned business specializing in residential painting. Our fully insured, bonded, and skilled painters can handle any project. We are proud to have received Angie’s List Super Service Award 10 years in a row for our customer service and detailed workmanship.

Walla Painting serves the greater Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville, Fishers, McCordsville, Lawrence, Broad Ripple, and Meridian Hills. We offer residential interior and exterior painting and cabinet and trim painting. Contact us online or at (317) 505-0894 for a free estimate.


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