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Satin vs. Matte Paint Sheen: Pick the Ideal for You

Satin vs. Matte Paint Sheen: Pick the Ideal for You

As we said in a previous article about eggshell vs. semi-gloss paint sheen, choosing your color is the first challenge. Picking the ideal paint sheen for your room or surface is a vital decision you should not take lightly.

Since we want you to make an informed decision, today, we’ll compare satin vs. matte paint and the benefits & cons of each type of sheen.

Satin vs. Matte Paint: What’s the Ideal Paint Sheen for Your Project?

What Is Paint Sheen?

To make everything clear, we should define some terms.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sheen means: “a bright or shining condition.” In other words, paint sheen measures the light a painted surface reflects.

The paint finishes’ gloss range or sheen level is measured from 0 to 100. Thus, 0 is the dullest, and 100 is the brightest paint finish.

According to Wikipedia, the different types of paint sheens, from the dullest to the shiniest, are matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss paint.

When comparing satin vs. matte, you need to know that matte is a paint with a low sheen, perfect for indoors, providing a soft and cozy ambiance. But matte paint doesn’t hold against constant cleaning. On the other hand, satin paint is a popular choice for interior walls, high-traffic, and moisture rooms since it is more durable than matte.

Pros of Matte Paint Sheen: The Lowest Sheen for a Cozy Ambiance

Hides Surface Imperfections:

Matte or flat paint is the dullest of the paint sheen levels. The gloss range goes from 0 to 5. This type of paint has no shine, so it hides imperfections better than paint with a higher gloss texture. If you paint uneven surfaces, you can opt for matte paint.

Creates Subtle & Delicate Surfaces:

Flat paint is perfect for creating sophisticated, subtle, velvety & delicate indoor surfaces. This paint absorbs light, providing a soft, cozy & intimate ambiance to any room.

Since matte paint lacks sheen, it offers aesthetic appeal for various interior design styles.

Easy Application for DIYers:

Matte Paint Offers Easy Application for DIYers

If you plan to undertake a Do It Yourself project, matte paint is perfect since it is easy to apply and less likely to show brush strokes or roller marks than satin paint.

Intended Use of Matte Paint:

Low-traffic areas like bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, closets, and ceilings.

Cons of Matte Paint Sheen:

Matte Finish Is Difficult to Clean:

The dull, flat paint is less durable and attracts dirt. Sadly, matte paint is porous, so it’s challenging to clean, as it may absorb stains and become discolored. Vigorous scrubbing may also damage the finish, leading to the need for touch-ups or repainting.

If you want to clean flat paint walls, follow the five steps Angi provides!

Flat Paint Is Susceptible to Fading and Mildew:

Matte paint is porous and susceptible to fading and mildew. Since it doesn’t offer high performance, protection, and durability, a flat paint sheen is used to paint house interiors and low-traffic areas. The reason is simple: indoor spaces are not exposed to harsh weather and sunlight.

Matte Paint Is Less Durable than Satin:

This type of paint finish was designed for low-traffic rooms, and it does perform poorly in spaces with higher humidity levels. So, in other words, flat paint has limited use.

Pros of Satin Paint Sheen: The Most Versatile Paint

Matte Paint Is Less Durable than Satin:

Paint sheen is not only about glossiness but performance. The higher the gloss, the more durable the finish.

Satin is a paint that falls directly in the middle of the range of interior or exterior paint sheens.

Satin paint reflects 25-35% of light. Satin is one of the most common finishes used in homes today for its durability.

Satin Paint Is Easy to Clean:

Satin paint has a moderate amount of binders—enough to help with durability and cleaning. So, the satin sheen is tougher than matte paint, which is excellent since it offers scrub, stain, and moisture resistance. This paint type is perfect for hardworking rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms because it stands up to regular cleaning and moisture. So, this is perfect for families with young children or pets.

Satin Sheen Is Versatile

Sating paint is in the middle of the gloss ranking. This is advantageous because it makes satin sheen well-suited for various uses.

Intended Use of Satin Paint:

High-traffic areas like kid’s bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, entryways, family rooms, interior doors, interior trim/baseboards, playrooms, porch ceilings, windows & woodwork.

Cons of Satin Paint:

Application Challenges:

Only Painting Contractors Should Apply Satin Paint Sheen

Satin paint can be trickier to apply than matte paint, as it tends to show brush strokes and roller marks more easily. Using high-quality tools and following proper painting techniques is crucial for a flawless finish.


Satin paint is typically more expensive than matte paint due to its increased durability and specialized formulation.

Making the Right Choice: Satin vs. Matte Paint

Satin vs. Matte Paint: Make the Right Choice

The best choice between satin and matte paint largely depends on the specific requirements of your space and personal preferences.

You can follow our use recommendations for each paint sheen.

The room’s function and traffic are the most important factors to consider when deciding.

If the room is exposed to moisture and dirt, you better choose satin paint. On the other hand, you can use matte paint to create sophisticated, subtle, velvety & delicate indoor surfaces (but this should be low-traffic and dry rooms like bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms).

You can get our advice if you need help choosing the right colors and paint sheen. We offer our services as a painting contractor in Modesto, Tracy, Merced County, Manteca, Turlock, and Pleasanton, CA.

Call us, and we’ll be happy to help you pick the perfect paint sheen that fits your needs, wants, and budget.

I hope you loved our article, and if you found it helpful, share this piece of content on your social media. Stay tuned, take care, and till next time!

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