The Hurst guide to paint finishes

The Hurst guide to paint finishes

When it comes to choosing which paint finish you’re going to use, there’s sometimes confusion over which is the best choice for you. You’ve got the following options to choose from:

  • Matt
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Gloss
  • Emulsion

Which paint finish you choose depends on a variety of factors including what material the paint is being applied to, the quality of the surface and the desired appearance when finished.

We’ve put together this handy guide to help you decide which paint finish is the best one for the job.


A matt finish will reflect very little light and has a smooth appearance when dry. Matt paint is also good at hiding blemishes such as small nail holes and scratches.

Be wary though, matt paint is more prone to scuffing and can be difficult to clean.

Matt paint is most commonly used on areas where contact with the surface will be limited such as ceilings and adult bedrooms.


Eggshell paint is one of the more popular choices of finishes because it provides a relatively smooth finish (similar to a matt paint), while being slightly more washable than a true matt finish. Eggshell paint is also less likely to be easily scuffed or marked.

Because of the increased durability, eggshell paint is safe to use in areas such as hallways, living and dining rooms.


Satin paint is generally considered the most versatile finish for use inside the home. It’s easy to clean, difficult to scuff and is a nice middle-ground between gloss and eggshell finishes.

A satin finish is perfect for high-traffic areas in your home where frequent contact with the walls is guaranteed such as a child’s bedroom, busy hallways and storage rooms.

One thing to note however is that satin paint can sometimes leave application marks such as brush strokes.


Gloss paint is the shiniest finish and is also highly reflective. Gloss paint is perfect for giving the appearance of more light in a room, especially white or off-white colours.

Highly durable, gloss paint is suitable for use on wooden surfaces such as doors, cupboards and the walls of a child’s bedroom or play area.

Gloss paint also offers high resistance to moisture, making this finish perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

Silk Emulsion:

Silk emulsion is another type of paint that is suitable for use in rooms where moisture might be present. Shinier than a matt finish, not but as much as a gloss.

Silk emulsion paints generally have a slow drying time.

Other paint types:

Metal paint: for use on metallic surfaces, or any surface which will repeatedly be exposed to heat such as radiators and ovens.

Masonry paint: mainly used on outdoor surfaces, masonry paint is highly weather-resistant and bonds well with rough and uneven surfaces.

Anti-climb paint: widely used on lamp posts, drainage pipes and roofs. Can be used on virtually any surface and is extremely durable.

To view our full range of paints and decorating supplies, click here.

Please note that paints and certain other liquids are only available for Isle of Wight delivery and click and collect.

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