Flat vs Matte Paint – What’s the Difference?

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When it comes to painting walls, ceilings, or other surfaces, flat and matte paints are both excellent choices for achieving a smooth and uniform surface. g

In this article, we’ll break down the differences between flat and matte paint, so you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.


What is Flat Paint?

Flat paint is a type of paint with very little or no gloss. It has a smooth, velvety texture and reflects very little light. This makes it a popular choice for walls and ceilings, as it can hide imperfections and create a clean, uniform look.

One of the main benefits of using flat paint is that it provides a smooth, even finish that hides imperfections. It’s also easier to touch up than other finishes, as it won’t show brush or roller marks. Another advantage is that it doesn’t reflect light, which can make a room feel cozier and more intimate. Lastly, flat paint is typically less expensive than other finishes, making it an economical choice for homeowners.

One of the main drawbacks of using flat paint is that it tends to show marks and stains more easily than other finishes. This can make it difficult to clean, and it may require frequent touch-ups. Flat paint is also less durable than other finishes and can be easily damaged, particularly in high-traffic areas. Another potential issue is that it can be difficult to apply, as it dries quickly and can be more prone to streaks and uneven coverage.


What is Matte Paint?

Matte paint is a type of paint finish that has a non-reflective, flat finish. It has a non-glossy appearance compared to other paint finishes like satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Matte paint is ideal for creating a subtle, understated look that can add depth and contrast to any room or surface.

Looking at the bright side, matte paint is great for hiding imperfections, such as cracks, dents, or holes, as it absorbs light and hides flaws in the surfaces it’s applied to.

Matte paint can add texture and depth to a surface, which can create a more interesting aesthetic.

As a non-reflective finish, matte paint reduces glare and can reduce the strain on your eyes when looking at walls or furniture.

It has a softer look compared to other types of paint. It can create a more serene and calming atmosphere, particularly in bedrooms or living rooms.

However, matte paint can be difficult to clean as it does not have a glossy surface that is easy to wipe down. Scrubbing or using abrasive cleaners can damage the paint or cause it to fade.

It also tends to fade more quickly than other types of paint finishes like satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. It’s important to opt for a high-quality paint that is fade-resistant to avoid this issue.

Matte paint is not ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways or children’s playrooms where walls are likely to get rubbed or bumped. It can be easily damaged, and touch-ups can be difficult to match.


Flat vs. Matte – When and Where To Use?

When it comes to choosing the right paint finish for your home, it can be overwhelming to navigate the different options available. Two of the most popular finish types are flat and matte, and it’s important to know when and where each one is best used.

Flat Finishes

Flat finishes are known for their smooth and non-reflective appearance. They have a muted and understated look that’s perfect for creating a cozy and comfortable atmosphere in the home. Flat finishes are also great for hiding any imperfections in walls, such as bumps and cracks.

However, flat finishes are also more prone to absorbing dirt and grime, making them harder to clean. They are not ideal for high-traffic areas of the home or for rooms that frequently get dirty, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Pets and children can also cause damage to flat finishes with their daily wear and tear.

Flat finishes are typically the most affordable option for painting large surfaces such as walls, as they require less pigment and are easier to apply. They are a great choice for those on a budget, or for rental properties that require frequent updates and refreshing.

Matte Finishes

Matte finishes have a low level of sheen and are more reflective than flat finishes. They are a great option for bedrooms, dining rooms, and ceilings, as they offer a more sophisticated and polished look. They are also easier to clean than flat finishes, making them a better choice for higher-traffic areas such as hallways and living rooms.

One of the benefits of matte finishes is that they tend to have a longer lifespan than flat finishes. They are more durable and resistant to wear and tear, meaning they can last longer without needing repainting. They are a great investment for those looking to create a more luxurious and upscale look in their home.


Flat Vs. Matte – Are They Washable?

When it comes to choosing the perfect paint finish for your walls, you may be wondering about the difference between flat and matte paint.

While both finishes offer a smooth, non-reflective appearance, there are some key differences to consider. One of the most important factors to consider is whether or not they are washable.

Is Flat Paint Washable?

The short answer is no, flat paint is not washable, at least not in the same way as semi-gloss or satin paint. The reason for this is that flat paint has a porous surface that absorbs any liquid that comes into contact with it. This means that any stain or smudge will be ingrained into the paint, making it difficult to remove.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t clean flat paint at all. There are some methods that you can use to clean flat paint without damaging it.

The first step in cleaning flat paint is to remove any surface dust or dirt. You can do this by using a dry cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to be gentle, as too much pressure can damage the paint.

If dry cleaning isn’t enough, you can try using a gentle cleaning solution. Mix a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap with warm water.

Dip a soft cloth into the solution and wring out excess water. Then, gently rub the affected area in a circular motion. Remember to rinse the cloth often to avoid spreading dirt around.

Is Matte Paint Washable?

Matte paint is not as washable as other finishes like satin or eggshell. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to clean. There are some things you can do to remove stains and keep your walls looking fresh.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives when cleaning matte paint as this can damage the finish. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild detergent. If you need to remove a stubborn stain, try using a vinegar and water solution or a magic eraser.

It’s important to note that matte paint may leave marks if you scrub too hard or apply too much pressure. Therefore, it’s best to take a gentle approach and apply light pressure when cleaning. You may need to go over the area several times to remove the stain completely.


What Are The Other Types Of Paint Finishes?

Different paint finishes offer distinct benefits, and understanding these differences can help you achieve the perfect look for your space. Here are some of the other types of paint finishes you should consider:


Eggshell finish is a popular choice for walls because it offers a subtle sheen that’s easy to clean. This finish is not as reflective as high gloss or semi-gloss and has a slight texture to it. It’s a great choice for hallways, living rooms, and bedrooms because it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t show fingerprints or smudges as easily as glossier finishes.



Satin finish has a slightly higher sheen than eggshell but is still not too glossy. It’s a versatile finish that works well on walls and ceilings, as well as on furniture and trim. It’s also easy to clean and resists stains, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.


Semi-gloss finish has more shine than eggshell or satin and is highly durable, making it a common choice for trim, doors, and furniture. It’s also moisture-resistant, so it’s frequently used in kitchens and bathrooms. The downside is that it can highlight imperfections in walls, so it’s not recommended for walls with many bumps or dents.


High gloss finish is the shiniest and most reflective of all the finishes. It’s highly durable and easy to clean, so it’s often used in high-traffic areas or on furniture that will get a lot of use. Its reflective properties make it a great choice for highlighting architectural details or creating a dramatic effect in a space. However, it’s not ideal for walls because it can show every imperfection, and it can be overwhelming in a large area.

When to Use Each Finish?

The finish you choose will depend on the room, the surface you’re painting, and the effect you’re trying to achieve. Eggshell and satin finishes are great for walls in living spaces and bedrooms, and semi-gloss and high gloss finishes are better suited for trim and furniture.

However, there are no hard and fast rules, so feel free to experiment to find the perfect finish for your space.


A Look At Some Pro Tips for Selecting Paint Finishes

The paint finish that you choose for your home or office can make or break a successful design. It’s important to select the right paint finish for each room depending on the characteristics of the room and its function. In this section, we will discuss what paint finish you should consider for different parts of a house.

Living Room – Flat Finish Paint

For living rooms, it’s best to use flat finish paint as this type of paint has no sheen and is more forgiving when it comes to imperfections. It also reflects less light which makes it great for reducing glare in busy rooms with lots of furniture and decorations.

Additionally, flat finish is a great choice if you want to hide any wall blemishes since it won’t reflect light and give them away.

Kitchen – Eggshell Finish Paint

In a kitchen, painting with an eggshell finish will be ideal as it provides excellent protection against stains and moisture while still giving off a subtle sheen that gives the space some shine.

This type of paint is washable which means that it can easily be wiped down in case something gets spilled on the walls. Additionally, eggshell finishes are available showing either slight or matte sheens, so you can pick one according to your preference.

Bedroom – Satin Finish Paint

Satin paints are perfect for bedrooms because they have a smooth finish that gives off a beautiful sheen without appearing too glossy or reflective like semi-gloss finishes do. While shiny surfaces may be too distracting in a bedroom setting, satin creates just enough sparkle without being overwhelming or causing surface glare from the sun or overhead lights.

Plus, satin is extremely durable and wear-resistant making it ideal for high-traffic areas like bedrooms and kids’ playrooms too!

Bathroom – Semi-Gloss Finish Paint

A bathroom needs to have walls that are both functional yet aesthetically pleasing at the same time. That is why semi-gloss paints are recommended in bathrooms since they offer excellent water resistance while still maintaining beauty through their glossy appearance.

Moreover, semi-gloss paints will reflect more light than other types due to their glossy texture which helps diminish shadows in small spaces such as bathrooms so everything looks brighter overall!

Hallways – Semi-Gloss Finish

Hallways are areas that require easy-to-clean walls that reflect light. For this reason, we recommend using a semi-gloss or gloss finish. These finishes are perfect for creating a bright and airy atmosphere.

Dining Room – Satin

The dining room requires a clean-looking, smooth-looking, and elegant finish. For this reason, we recommend using a semi-gloss, satin, or eggshell finish. These finishes are perfect for creating a sophisticated and inviting atmosphere.

Family Room – Semi-Gloss

The family room is a high-traffic area that requires clean-looking walls that hide imperfections. For this reason, we recommend using a semi-gloss or satin finish. These finishes are perfect for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Ceilings – Flat/Matte

Ceilings don’t require expensive paint that needs to be cleaned. For this reason, we recommend using a flat or matte finish. These finishes are perfect for hiding imperfections and creating a seamless look.


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