Room by Room: The Best Paint Finishes To Have in Your Home

ECOS Paints 07/11/2024
Room by Room: The Best Paint Finishes To Have in Your Home

When choosing paints for our homes, we often focus on colors more than anything else. After all, the color will help set the tone for the room the moment you step through the door. Pale, warm colors create a joyful, welcoming space, while cool colors create a soothing, tranquil environment.

But color isn’t the only thing that contributes to the look of a room as far as paint goes. Finish has a large role to play in how paint looks on the walls. So knowing the best paint finishes to have in your home is key to creating the best look possible.

A Brief Introduction to Paint Finishes

When we talk about paint finishes, we’re talking about the level of gloss your paint has. In other words, how reflective or “shiny” it looks.

Paints with a higher gloss can offer a dramatic, dynamic look while being durable and easy to clean. However, they also show a wall’s flaws more clearly. On the other hand, lower gloss paints tend to be the least durable when exposed to moisture, but they hide flaws and offer a calm, comforting feeling to a room.

The gloss level can also affect how a paint color will appear. If you bought several gallons of paint in the same color with different glosses, you might notice that the lower gloss paints seem a shade or two darker than the high gloss colors.

These are our standard paint finishes from least to most glossy:

  • Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Gloss

Technically, there’s no right or wrong answer to which paint finish you use in a room. However, some finish options tend to be more popular than others, and for a good reason. If you’re not sure how to choose the best paint finish for different rooms in your house, we’ll break down these options for you.


A lot happens in your kitchen that can affect your walls. Frying food on the stove leads to oil splatters, and all the dishwashing puts lots of moisture in the air. Because of that, people tend to favor a more durable, easy-to-clean paint with a higher gloss.

The most popular paint finishes for the kitchen are usually eggshell or semi-gloss paints. These offer a good deal of wall protection and are easy to clean. However, they’re still relatively easy on the eyes if you want your kitchen to be a place where your family can spend time together.


Bathroom walls tend to face similar challenges to kitchen walls. With high moisture and heat from steamy showers and added moisture from the sink, you need a tough paint finish that’s easy to clean.

People tend to lean toward eggshell or semi-gloss paints for this space too. Some may also choose a high-gloss paint for the restroom as a stylistic choice.

Dining Room

A formal dining room must balance several factors. On the one hand, it’s a space where you serve food, so there’s a higher chance that the walls may get messy. On the other hand, there isn’t as much moisture, and people tend to spend extended periods in this space, so you want it to feel comfortable.

With this in mind, many homeowners opt for matte or eggshell paint finishes in the dining room. How high of a gloss you choose depends on preference or lifestyle. If you have children or use the space more frequently, eggshell may be the best choice. If you don’t have children or don’t use the dining room as often, matte is also an option.

Living Room

The living room is one of the more casual spots in the house. It’s the place where you and your loved ones can relax. Generally, there isn’t much cause to worry about moisture or food. However, because it’s a space where you spend lots of time, the walls may be more prone to imperfections or cracks.

For the living room, matte is a popular choice. The lower sheen helps hide imperfections. If you often eat in the living room or have lots of people in the house, eggshell may be the better choice, though.

Hallways and Foyers

We don’t often think about our paint choices in the hallway. However, you welcome your visitors in the hallways, entryways, and foyers. They affect guests’ first impressions of your home. So it pays to put some thought into their design.

The paint finish you choose for this kind of space may depend on where it is in the house. For interior hallways in your home, matte paint is appropriate, especially in lower-traffic areas, such as the hallways between bedrooms. You should consider going up one level to an eggshell finish in higher-traffic areas that are more open to outside air.


Bedrooms should be the most comfortable, soothing rooms in the house. Generally, there isn’t too much traffic or exposure to moisture. So homeowners tend to opt for the lower end of paint sheen for these spaces, such as matte or eggshell.

A Note on Finish as a Style Choice

The paint finish principles we’ve mentioned here are mostly practical, with higher-traffic areas having higher-gloss paints than lower-traffic areas. However, there are instances where a homeowner will opt for different paint finishes for purely stylistic reasons.

Here are a few finish style ideas you can consider for your home:

  • Using a different gloss for the ceiling than the walls
  • Painting your walls with stripes of multiple glosses
  • Painting one wall with a high gloss paint as an accent wall
  • Choosing a different gloss for different aspects of the wall, such as trim or cabinets

High-gloss paint is an especially common choice for people who want to make a bold style choice. However, keep in mind that high-gloss paint is significantly more glossy than most traditional home walls, and using it takes some skill.

Whether you’re looking for semi-gloss paint for the kitchen or eggshell paint for the hall, you should head to ECOS Paints. We have the non-toxic* interior paints you need to completely transform your living space.

*Non-toxic - Conforms to ASTM-D4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation and respiratory effects.

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