What paint finish do I choose?

At Paint the Town Green we consult on colour every day. But what seems to cause some confusion amongst our clients is picking the perfect paint finish. Should different paint finishes be used in different rooms, like in a bedroom or a kitchen? The short answer is yes, and we’ll explain why. To help you, we’ve put together a practical guide of tips about three main paint finishes (matt, wipeable and eggshell), their benefits, and how to use them to achieve the best results.

Let’s start with matt paint. This type of finish has no shine, so it will soak up light rather than reflect it. This is great for covering any imperfections on your walls, as the light won’t bounce off them making them more visible. Matt gives a velvet (or chalky) look finish to a room, and it’s a great paint finish for the upstairs areas, creating a cosy atmosphere – ideal for bedrooms or the study. As it’s more difficult to clean, avoid using it in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, or children's bedroom where any fingerprints will be harder to get rid of.

Wipeable paint has a slight sheen to it (although this is only really noticeable when it is under the direct glare of a spot light). It will however reflect the light a little more. It’s a great paint finish for downstairs areas such as your kitchen, bathroom and hallways – any areas which get quite a bit of through traffic as it’s easy to clean. With a clean, damp, cloth you can just wipe off those scuff marks, sticky paw prints and the mucky residues from when the family hound has had a good shake after a particularly muddy walk! Our customers love Wipeable as it achieves the same look as matt but it’s practical too. It’s a durable paint so it really does offer the best of both worlds. If you’re bold enough too, a little sheen can create a glamorous feel when used on walls, or even furniture. For a small study dark blue walls with a subtle sheen will create an inviting space that doesn’t feel claustrophobic because the reflection of light will create a sense of space.

Remember, matt paint pulls you in, creating a cosy feel, while gloss gives the optical illusion of opening up a room. Wipeable sits neatly somewhere in between.

Last but not least is eggshell, also known as a satin finish. Eggshell finishes vary quite a bit from brand to brand - from ‘dead flat’ to ‘high gloss’. Eggshell is best used on woodwork and furniture, as it’s durable, can be easily cleaned, and it’s the perfect compromise when you don’t want a flat colour, and a gloss finish is too much.

Picking the right shine level for every room is just as important as picking the right colour. How a colour is perceived can change based on how matt or shiny it is, and especially when interacting with natural light. For instance, grey can look much whiter than you’d expect in a light sheen – light room context, whereas darker colours contain more pigment, so they will always have more lustre.


  • Hallway: high-traffic area, usually darker than other rooms in the house – we suggest wipeable
  • Kitchen / bathroom: high-traffic areas, prone to stains, needs easy to clean paint – we suggest wipeable
  • Living room / bedroom: low-traffic areas, needs smooth looking walls and a cosy feel – we suggest matt, but if you’re looking for a more vibrant look go for wipeable

We hope this will answer some of your questions. If you need to talk in more detail about your own project, we would love to meet you in our showroom, have a cuppa, and chat about how we can help you achieve the perfect colour and finish harmony.

Our Creative Consultant would love to hear from you about any colour and finish questions you may have.