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 that you want to work in, but do you know what grade of paint you should be using? We’re here to break down the differences between matt and silk finishes, as well as some recommendations of where they are best used.

ROCKFORM coloure explosion

Should I Buy Matt or Silk Finish Paint

Whether or not you should buy matt or silk finish paint really depends on where you will be painting, and what you will be painting over. You may also find that the room you are styling would be better suited to an eggshell or gloss finish – which we will also discuss in this article.

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 high sheen when fully dry will be quite reflective and may be described as looking a little wet due to their shininess. On the other hand, paint with low sheen will be less reflective and is usually found in the matt range of paints.

rockform paint sheen

Matt Emulsion

Matt paints are smooth and light absorbing, making them perfect for a range of applications. When painting a wall that exhibits some imperfections, you should aim to use this finish because it’s light-absorbing qualities will help to 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 which often meet household activity such as doors, window sills and stair bannisters.

Matts and flat matts are best suited for living rooms and bedrooms.

rockform colour wheel

Satin Finish

A satin finish is used for walls which 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 which struggle with ventilation.

The reflective qualities of higher gloss paints are also very useful for small bathrooms because they can make them appear brighter by bouncing the available light around.

Silk Finish

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 though, silk is better suited to walls where silk is used for woodwork. If your walls are perfect then you could paint them in silk, but generally, most home designers will opt for satin in bathrooms because it will hide the imperfections a bit better with many of the same qualities.

Silk is good for use on woodwork because it really makes the texture pop, as well as being easier to clean in the long run.



While not as reflective as silk or satin, eggshell isn’t quite as intensive as the matts either. Many homes use eggshell on everything to avoid trying to understand the confusing jargon that is used to describe paint finishes. This isn’t a mistake, either, as eggshell can bring a lovely soft look to woodwork, whilst making walls look textured, traditional and homely.

Eggshell can be easier to clean that 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, highest sheen of paint finishes, just short of covering your property in reflective foil. This 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 will be wanting to choose a gloss paint to make it a focal point of your home.

Brown wooden staircase

Black 3.0

Black 3.0 is the name of a paint that was recently released by a British paint technician. It would cost a small fortune to coat a wall in this paint, but the fabulous thing about it is that it absorbs so much light that it is very difficult for the human eye to distinguish between objects painted in this colour.

Paint technology is still evolving, and someday in the future perhaps we’ll have access to a new category of super matt paints for walls, or even temperature-sensitive colour changing paints like we’re starting to see on cars. The future of home design is bigger than we could ever imagine, but you can have some of an idea by watching the video below which demonstrates the beauty of super matt blacks:

If you’re redesigning a home in the north of England, then you should stop by our shop for some paint in Preston, and we also sell wallpaper in Preston to help you finish a feature wall or to style your other rooms in. Our team are available to help you with any inquiries regarding our stock or home design, so don’t be afraid to get in touch with our experts.