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What is the Difference Between Eggshell and Satin Paint?


Eggshell and satin are both popular paint finishes. The finish of paint determines the reflectivity the paint will have thus it affects the amount of gloss or sheen the paint has. Other finishes include flat, semi-gloss and high-gloss.

Flat paint has the least amount of reflectivity. Eggshell has more reflectivity than flat but less than satin.

Eggshell and satin are most commonly used on interior surfaces. Neither of these finishes is too flat and void of shine, but they don’t have an excessive amount of shine either. You can use either of these paints to paint anything you wish, but there are some surfaces that are better suited to satin and some that do better with eggshell.

Satin Paint


Satin paint is more reflective than eggshell. This added shine can be used to your advantage. It will add depth to small interior spaces like hallways, or small rooms. The satin paint has the ability to create an illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Satin is the best choice to use in areas of high traffic. The satin finish is more durable and long lasting than the eggshell finish.

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Satin resists dents and scratches. It is less likely to stain. It is the best choice in a child’s room or a heavily used family room, or entryway. It is also better suited to being used on everyday furniture like chairs and end tables that you use often.

Satin is easier to clean than eggshell. The extra gloss in the finish helps it to resist stains, mildew, mold, and other contaminants. It is much easier to wipe the surface and remove any unwanted marks. This makes satin an excellent choice if you are painting a mudroom, or a bathroom. It is also a good choice for the kitchen, the laundry and the basement.

Satin is a great choice if you are painting a stairwell, or painting the railings and banisters on your stairs. It is also a good choice on the interior portion of a door because it can withstand the cleaning that these surfaces will need.

Eggshell Paint


Eggshell does not have the same amount of gloss that satin has. Eggshell is cheaper than satin. Eggshell finishes can be as much as 2 dollars less per gallon than satin finishes are.

Satin may rule when it comes to deflecting scratches or dents, but when you are painting a wall that has already suffered dents or scratches you want to choose the eggshell finish. The eggshell finish is much better at hiding or covering up flaws in the wall surface. If you apply a satin finish to a wall that has dents or scratches the dents and scratches will be made more visible by the high gloss of the paint.

Because eggshell finishes have the ability to help hide flaws in the surface area you do not have to do as much wall preparation prior to painting. You will do less sanding and less scraping before you begin to paint. If you plan to use satin you need to have the surface as smooth and flawless as possible prior to painting.

Inexperienced painters do better with eggshell paint. If you are not a professional painter then you are going to have laps and marks left by your paint brush or your roller. If you use satin paint those lap marks and brush strokes are going to be glaringly obvious, but if you use an eggshell finish the paint will hide the application flaws.

Eggshell paint cannot withstand the same amount of cleaning and daily use that satin paint can. Eggshell is not a good finish choice for painted furniture or for bathrooms and kitchens.

Eggshell is a great finish for ceilings and for the walls in an adult’s bedroom. A child’s room needs the durability of the satin finish but in an adults room the eggshell will work very well.

You can use any paint that you choose for any surface in your house. Satin is just more durable and a little more glossy than eggshell, but eggshell is more durable and a little more glossy than matte or flat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best paint finish for walls?

Interior walls look best when painted with either an eggshell or flat paint. These paints hide any flaws and create an illusion of perfection on the surface. They also do not reflect light as much and make the room look warmer.

Is Sherwin Williams Satin the same as eggshell?

Sherman Williams is a paint brand not a paint finish. Sherman Williams sells paint that comes in every finish and in both exterior and interior types.

Should I use flat or eggshell paint?

Both the flat and the eggshell are great for walls. The eggshell has more of a shine than the flat but it will not create a shiny wall. Eggshell is often more stain resistant and easier to clean than flat is.

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