There’s a lot to consider when you’re renovating a house or redesigning a room. You might have an idea or two about where the furniture will sit or the colour scheme you want to work in, but do you know what grade of paint you should use? Or what effect the different grades can have on your walls?
Whether you use matt or silk finish paint depends on where you will be painting and what you will be painting over. We’re here to break down the differences between matt and silk finishes and recommend where they are best used in a house. You may also find that the room you are styling would be better suited to an eggshell or gloss finish. Read on to discover more about the different types of paint sheen available.
What is Paint Sheen?
“Sheen” is the word used for describing how glossy a paint finish will be. The higher the sheen, the glossier the paint will look. In other words, a paint with a high sheen when fully dry will be quite reflective and may be described as looking a little wet due to its shininess. On the other hand, paint with a low sheen will be less reflective and is usually found in the matt range of paints.
The sheen on your walls can completely transform the way a room looks, as it gives a wall a particular texture and the reflectiveness impacts how much light is in the room. So while the colour choice is an essential part of your paint selection, the sheen is also crucial to ensure you get the final look you’re after.
Types of Paint Sheen
Matt paints are smooth and light-absorbing, making them perfect for a range of applications. Matt emulsion creates a non-reflective finish that will throw less light on the surrounding surfaces.
When painting a wall that exhibits some imperfections, you should aim to use this finish because its light-absorbing qualities will help reduce the visibility of those issues.
Flat Matt Emulsion
With even less sheen than matt emulsions, the flat matt range is designed to absorb even more light. Flat matts are great for deep, rich and intense colours, but they aren’t washable, which can cause issues in rooms that struggle with mould or on surfaces that often meet household activity such as doors, windowsills and stair bannisters.
Flat matts create a velvety texture and are best suited for living rooms and bedrooms. It is also a good choice for deeper colour shades as the colour will not be impacted by different light conditions in the room.
A satin finish is used for walls that require a higher sheen, such as bathrooms. The benefit of a higher sheen is that it is easier to wipe clean, which can be quite important in a damp bathroom, especially ones that struggle with ventilation.
The reflective qualities of higher gloss paints are also beneficial for small bathrooms because they can make them appear brighter by bouncing the available light around the space.
A silk finish is in the same bracket as a satin finish in terms of being a mid-tier sheen quality. In contrast to satin paints, silk is better suited to walls where it is used for woodwork. If your walls are perfect, you could paint them in silk, but generally, most home designers will opt for satin in bathrooms because it will hide the imperfections better, with many of the same qualities.
Silk is suitable for use on woodwork because it really makes the texture pop and is easier to clean in the long run. However, it can be tricker to touch up as new brush marks will show.
While not as reflective as silk or satin, eggshell isn’t quite as intensive as the matts either. It is an excellent choice if you don’t want a gloss finish, but you want more light in your home than you would get with a matt finish. Eggshell can bring a lovely soft look to woodwork whilst making walls look textured, traditional and homely. It is named for the fact that its finish looks similar to that of an eggshell.
Eggshell can be easier to clean than matts, but it’s not quite as easy as silk and satin, meaning that you will need to exercise some care and caution with maintaining this paint.
Gloss is the shiniest, most reflective of the paint finishes, just short of covering your property in reflective foil. This high sheen paint is used almost exclusively for woodwork and is best suited to pale colours and high-quality surfaces.
If you’ve just ordered a new staircase or balcony with a beautiful balustrade, you could choose gloss paint to make it a focal point of your home, contrasting beautifully against walls painted with a matt finish.
Matt Vs Silk
So, should you choose a matt or silk finish for your home? It depends on your purpose, as both finishes are an excellent choice for different reasons.
For a professional-looking, flawless look, a matt finish could be the one for you. Due to its lack of shine, the paint will hide any of those minor imperfections, and you don’t have to be an expert wall painter to paint it on there. Matt is also typically self-levelling, so there’s no need to worry about brush strokes. It is ideal for those dramatic shades or for creating a feature wall in a room.
As for silk, this finish is perfect for creating a stylish look in the home. The soft glow makes it perfect for adding those finishing touches to a feature wall or for painting woodwork, creating more brightness to a space by reflecting the available light. However, if you are not a skilled painter, you may want to bring in a professional to ensure you get that perfect finish with your silk paint.
Farrow & Ball Paint Finishes
At Rockform, we are proud to stock Farrow & Ball paint. Each paint batch they produce has been thoroughly checked for colour accuracy and an impeccable finish. They have their own distinct finishes that can only be defined as the “Farrow & Ball look”.
This super-tough Farrow & Ball matt finish is washable and scuff-proof, protects against mould and is suitable for any room in the home. Whether in a busy hallway or a moisture-prone bathroom, Modern Emulsion is a stunning matt finish available in a full range of colours. It is easy to apply, creating a smooth finish on your walls.
For an even stronger matt finish, Estate Emulsion has a distinct chalky finish that minimises imperfections and expresses the full depth of the chosen colour. The flat, velvety effect of this paint finish adds a stunning richness to darker colours, responding well to all kinds of light. It makes an ideal choice for stylish, modern homes, perfect for bedrooms and living rooms.
If you want to upgrade your wood or metal surfaces, Estate Eggshell is a water-based satin finish for a soft, low-shine that adds an understated elegance to a home. This beautiful, subtle finish has a low 20% sheen and is resistant to stains, making it ideal for kitchen cupboards and furniture pieces.
For more of a shiny finish, the Modern Eggshell adds colour and protection to wood and metal. It is a tough paint with a 40% sheen, making it a glossier choice than Estate eggshell. It is also a durable enough paint for floors and can be used throughout the home on skirting boards, cabinets and radiators.
If you’re looking for a high-shine finish, the Full Gloss is a water-based finish perfect for both interior and exterior wood and metal, as well as adding glamourous touches to walls and ceilings. With a wonderfully 95% sheen, it makes a dramatic statement and is highly durable, able to be both washed and wiped down.