Eggshell & Satin Paint Finishes Lend Subtle Sheen

It’s pretty typical for homeowners bleary-eyed from trying to pick the perfect color for their interior walls to feel snappish when they realize they must also choose a paint finish. Shine, durability and how it will affect the appearance and atmosphere of a room must also be considered.

Fortunately, satin and eggshell are two of the most universally attractive finishes you can find as they can work in nearly any space, with an appealing shimmer that brightens a room without overwhelming it.

Each offers distinct characteristics, so here’s a quick primer:


Not to be confused with the color, paint with an eggshell finish is less lustrous than satin and is similar to that of an actual eggshell. It’s not highly reflective so it can be used to tone down an overly bright space or can be brought to life with additional lighting.

It holds up pretty well to scuffs and scratches, though some people steer clear of using it in higher-traffic areas.

It’s a great choice for living and dining rooms because it doesn’t pick up dirt easily and stands up well to washing, with superior durability over flat and matte paint. Eggshell paint works to tone down bumps and other imperfections and is easy to apply — a good choice if you’re the one doing the painting.

It’s also the more affordable of the two finishes.


Satin paint is the next step up from eggshell on the sheen scale, affording more reflectivity and allowing the true color of your paint to leave its imprint on your home. It will put more of a spotlight on any imperfections on the wall, something to try to avoid unless it adds to the character or of the room.

It’s the shiniest paint many professionals will recommend for general use on interior walls, and is popular for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and easily scuffed surfaces like baseboards and doors.

It’s longer lasting than eggshell paint because of its chemical structure, and its higher sheen can add a more luxurious aura to your living spaces.

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