This article is all about how to choose a paint finish and why. I hope it helps you on your next painting project. Many times clients choose my DIY design package so that they have a design plan to follow and can then put it together themselves at their own pace.

This design service makes it easier by having examples of what to look for when buying furniture, art, and accessories. Not only do I give you a list of which furniture to buy, but I also include paint colors for the walls, ceiling, and trim plus which paint finish to use for each.


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Taking your preferences and style into consideration, I design your space and then you put it together yourself. You can either copy it exactly the way I have it, or find things that are similar to get the look. This is one way to work with an interior designer and still save money. You only pay for the design phase.

It can help by taking the guess-work out of how to choose which furniture, flooring, lighting, paint color, art, and accessories out of the overwhelming amount of choices out there. We make it easier to focus on what you need to get the look and feeling you want. My clients love that. So…


How to Choose a paint finish for your walls


For the walls, I suggest flat, or matte, paint. The reason for that is if there’s any imperfections in the drywall you won’t notice it as much. Flat paint will blend them in more because the light doesn’t bounce off of that finish and you won’t notice as much.

The more shiny the paint, the more light bounces off of it and the more you’re going to see any imperfections on the wall surface. If you feel uncomfortable with flat, I give you permission to use eggshell. If you choose anything else, it’s not going to look the same.

I’ll give you an example. I was at my client’s house, and we had chosen a black paint for her walls. It’s great with her light-colored floors. She had painted the walls but she said it looked weird. She said she didn’t understand why it didn’t look the way I said it would.

So we’re looking at the walls and I noticed that they were very glossy. I asked her which paint finish she chose because I always say either flat or eggshell. She had chosen semi-gloss. You could see every patch and imperfection highlighted.


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I picked up the paint card from Behr, (I love that they have the large cards) and I showed her how it had a tiny bit of a sheen to it. The cards are usually eggshell or satin. I held it up to the wall so she could see the difference.

The color on the card was a deeper, darker black than the walls. Same paint color, different finish. Looked totally different. You would not have known it was the same paint color. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh! That is the color that I was expecting to be on the walls!” So she said she was going to go out and get the right paint finish.

Sometimes you have to see to believe. So there is a reason. I’m not just saying it to be annoying. 😉 A lot of times people don’t want to buy flat paint because they think they can’t wipe it down. But there are many new formulations of matte or flat paint that you can actually scrub and it won’t leave that mark.


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I was at another client’s house and they did a similar thing. It wasn’t a DIY, but a full design project. We had the walls sanded to a smooth finish. I recommended a flat paint finish, but the homeowner bought satin. They had it painted and it looked nice. Then something happened on one of the walls and they had to make a patch. He had different guy come in to patch and sand, but they didn’t sand it as well and then used the same paint. The patch stood out.

The next time I was at their house he said, “Now I get it. I get why you say flat. Because you can see that patch.” It ended up being behind their TV console so it won’t be noticeable unless they rearrange the furniture. That is the reason that any designer is going to tell you to use flat paint on your walls. Because it truly does make the imperfections less noticeable.


How to choose a paint finish for other areas


There are times you would use satin, semi-gloss, or even high gloss paint. For kitchen or bathroom cabinets, I prefer satin or semi-gloss. It is a more durable finish for a high wear spot. If you want a lacquered look, use high gloss on your cabinets. The semi-gloss is also good on the trim.

If you are going to use high gloss paint, understand that you are going to paint many coats. You have to sand between each coat. That way you get the smooth, shiny finish. If you don’t sand between each coat, you will see every brush or roller mark.

That is how to choose a paint finish. Listen to what I say and it’ll look really good. 😉 If you want to know more about choosing paint color you can go to my videos tab on my FB page and look up How to be a Rebel When Choosing Paint Color for Your Home. I made a series of videos on that. Or you can look under the Color category here on my blog.

Get a head start on decorating for Fall. If you would like help coming up with a theme or want someone to do it for you, my Holiday Decorating Service is perfect for you! Click on the link to book an appointment now. If your home needs a Fall Refresh before company starts arriving for the holidays, book my Fall Refresh Service today. The cut off for ordering furniture that will arrive before Christmas is October 13th! It’s the same every year and after that date you won’t see your new things until after December. Or if you need help on how to choose a paint finish or color in your own house, Why not book a paint color consult?

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