It is important to consider the differences among the finishes and their gloss values, and how the finished wall will look (and hold up). There's the rule of thumb for interior paint finishes: the higher the gloss on the finish, the more durable the finish. Here is a break down of interior paint types.
A flat finish is a latex-only paint choice. It is opaque and without shine. Keep in mind when choosing a flat paint that it's difficult to clean this type of finish as opposed to other types of paint finishes. There is a 0 percent to 5 percent gloss to this type of paint. It is usually used on ceilings. There is no light reflection, so if you are looking for a paint that lowers the amount of light glare, a flat finish is good for that. Flat paints also hide small blemishes and imperfections in the wood.
Also known as the velvet finish, a matte paint is not glossy and only able to withstand a very small amount of washing. There is a 5 percent to 10 percent gloss to this paint finish. It is durable and typically used on interior walls. Matte finishes are like flat paints in that there is little light reflection, so it is good for those areas in which you would not like a light glare. A matte finish is also good for those areas that may have some small bumps and cracks.
A very low luster paint, it will clean better than a flat finish paint, but not by much. Save this paint for decorative items. Eggshell has a 10 percent to 25 percent gloss to it. Eggshell paint is a low gloss paint; it will look just like an eggshell's finish. It is still a good choice for those areas that have blemishes and imperfections, and it will have the bonus of being washable. So, it's a good choice for some areas you need to hide and still need the ability to clean the paint, too.
One of the most popular paint finishes is the satin finish, also known as the pearl finish. You can wash this paint, but it will not hold up to scrubbing. Its luster is higher than flat, eggshell or matte. There is a 25 percent to 35 percent gloss to the satin finish paint. This paint finish is mostly used on doors and window trim. This smooth paint has a little bit of light reflection, so while it will have a little glare, it won't have much.
A nicely subtle hint of shine to this paint finish makes it a great choice for kitchen and bath areas. It is also a washable paint finish that is able to be scrubbed. There is a 35 percent to 70 percent gloss to the semi-gloss paint. This paint finish is good for doors and cabinetry. The wood will need prepping to make a smooth surface for any of the gloss paints. It will have a glare to it, as it is quite reflective of light. You will need to prep the area well, as it will show attention to every detail.
Gloss has a higher shine than anything but high-gloss paints. It is used for trims, doors and cabinets, after a moderate amount of wood preparation. A smooth surface is needed for the best effect. There is a 70 percent to 85 percent gloss to any gloss paint. It is just as reflective as semi-gloss and high-gloss, so there will be glare. Always make sure that you aren't painting something that has many imperfections, as it will draw attention to every one of them.
With the highest sheen of paint finishes, the high-gloss is shiny and stain resistant. It is washable and holds up very well to scrubbing. It is the best choice for kids' rooms, as it is able to take splatter and crayon marks. Other areas good for high-gloss paint include kitchens and bathrooms, since this paint is so washable. There is an 85 percent to 100 percent gloss to the high-gloss paints. High-gloss is quite reflective and will bring attention to the item it is on, so don't use it on an item with imperfections if you are not able to prep it well.
Professionals know their paint. If you have any questions on what interior painting finish would be the best choice for your interior room, give any of them a call for expert advice.