Different types of interior paint

There are several different types of interior wall paints. The more you know about appropriate paintable surfaces and the effects that paint can achieve, the easier it is to make the right choice among the varieties. It’s also feasible to mix different types of interior wall paint within a room.

Matt Paint

Matt color is the most common of interior wall paints. There’s no shine or sheen to the finish, making it ideal for walls and ceilings where you don't want any visual distractions. It’s easy to apply, although it can often take more than a single coat to create a good solid color. Matt paint can be applied with a brush or roller and works well on walls that have imperfections. This makes it ideal for older houses. On the downside, matt paint is easily marked. Although some marks can be removed with a damp cloth, matt paint needs regular retouching.

Matt Enamel

Matt enamel is very much like matt paint, but tends to be far more durable. It’s much easier to clean and rarely needs retouching, giving it a great advantage, especially if you have young children. It is also excellent for the kitchen, where you’ll regularly need to wipe walls. The visual effect is very similar to matt paint and it can be applied in the same way.


Satin finish is one of the types of interior wall paint that many people know of, but few really understand. The finish is somewhere between matt and gloss and produces a low, soft sheen. This makes it ideal for areas where you’ll need to clean the walls regularly. However, you shouldn’t use a satin finish where you have a wall with imperfections because it will make them more apparent.

TIP: Painting professional Edward Kimble, author of Interior House Painting Blog, notes, “semi-gloss and eggshell paint go further than flat paint. One gallon of shiny paint will go a lot further than one gallon of flat paint.”


An eggshell finish has a shine that’s extremely subtle but without the same smoothness as a satin finish. Thus, it doesn’t highlight imperfections quite as much, making it much more suitable as an interior wall paint. It’s easy to apply and can often cover in a single coat, making it a better choice for many people.

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Popular Q&A

What are the names of all the different types of interior paint finishes? Gloss, matt etc

Paint comes in huge variety including matt, eggshell, gloss, silk, emulsion, further broken down into sheens, eg flat, low lustre, semi-gloss etc.

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