Satin vs. Matte

August 16, 2022

The finish is everything — especially when it comes to wall paint. Whether you’re revamping a bedroom or updating an accent wall in your living room, your choice of wall paint finish greatly impacts the final look and feel of the space. Even if you love the color of paint you see in a particular hue, it might not be the right choice for your walls if it’s not the right finish. 

Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on these two different finishes and explore their pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for your space. If you have ever purchased a bottle of wine, then you know there are all sorts of different labels that describe what it tastes like. There are terms such as "oaky" and "terroir" that we do not use very often but are vitally important to wine connoisseurs.

In much the same way, painters use particular terminology when discussing paint finishes. These words may seem strange at first glance, but they will become second nature after reading this article once.

What Is A Satin Finish?

Satin is one of the most versatile wall finishes. It is known for its subtle sheen, creating a warm and luxurious look perfect for various spaces. If you look into a can of satin paint, you will notice that the particles are a bit larger than with a semi-gloss finish. This gives it a softer look that is great for living rooms, bedrooms, and children’s rooms.

Satin is an excellent choice for someone who wants a painted wall but is worried about the paint looking too shiny. It is also perfect for dark colors because it will not make them look any darker. With satin paint, you can get a rich, deep look without the paint looking too shiny or glossy. If you are unsure what paint finish you should choose, satin is a safe option that will work well in almost any room in your home.

What Is A Matte Finish?

A matte finish is a paint finish with no sheen at all. This finish is best for walls that need to be dark. Dark colors such as deep reds or greens can look warmer and more inviting when applied in a matte finish. Matte also translates well to lighter colors; you won’t have a problem with white walls looking too "squeaky."

Matte is a great choice for living and dining rooms because it is more neutral. A matte wall can go with almost any style and theme because it does not have a ton of visual impact. A matte finish is ideal if you want a paint finish that is easy to work with and won’t draw too much attention.

What’s The Difference Between Satin and Matte?

Satin and matte are used to describe the sheen of a wall’s paint. A wall with a satin finish has a bit of a sheen to it that makes the surface look smooth and a bit shiny. A wall finished with matte paint has no sheen at all. 

The difference between satin and matte is that satin paints have a subtle sheen that produces a warm, rich look. Matte paints, on the other hand, are completely devoid of sheen. They are great for those who want their walls to look very muted and neutral.

Benefits of Satin Walls

One of the biggest advantages of having a satin finish on your walls is that it goes well with almost any color. If you are dreaming of a bold blue room or something more classic with a neutral hue, satin is ideal. This finish works well with a variety of pigments and will not make any particular color "pop" too much. This makes it a great choice for kids’ rooms or anywhere you want to create a calm and relaxing vibe.

Advantages of Matte Walls

A matte finish is the best choice if you want a very muted color on your walls. A matte finish will not draw too much attention to itself and will keep your room looking clean and uncluttered. Matte also works well with bold colors, making them appear warmer and less "in your face." If you have been dreaming of a room in red but are worried it might be a bit too much, the matte finish will tone it down and make it look more inviting.

A matte wall is also a good choice for kids’ rooms because it is very easy to clean. You can wipe away crayon marks, finger paint, and other messes with little effort. If you have young children who have discovered the joy of scribbling on walls, a matte finish is a great choice for repair.

The Downside of Satin Walls

Satin walls are great in many ways, but do have one major drawback — they show dust and dirt very easily. If you have pets or kids that like to play inside, you may need to clean the walls more often if they are finished in satin. This is not a big deal in the living room but could be a bit more challenging in a child’s room.

Anyone who likes things to be neat and tidy will also find that a satin finish can be a bit challenging. If you like to keep your walls clean and free of marks, you will have to do a little extra work to keep them in tip-top shape when they are finished in satin.

The Downside of Matte Walls

A matte finish is not ideal if you want a room that pops and has lots of visual interest. Although it is great for hiding dirt and stains, a matte finish can make everything else in the room look a bit dull. If you have a large painting hung on the wall or a piece of art with a vibrant color, that piece may look a bit lifeless and muted with a matte finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use paint or stain?

This can be tricky because it depends on the surface you are trying to cover. If you have a wood-framed wall, either will work well. If you need to cover concrete or cinder blocks, paint will not work. You will want to use a stain to seal the wall and protect it from moisture.

What is the best wall paint for kids’ rooms?

For a child’s room, nothing beats a matte finish. It is easy to clean and will not attract too much attention.

What is the best wall paint for a living room?

Again, a matte finish is the best choice for a living room. It is ideal for rooms that need to be more neutral.

What is the difference between latex and oil-based paint?

Latex paint is water-based and is best for indoor walls. Oil-based paint is thicker and is meant for rough surfaces like wood or concrete.

Bottom Line

When choosing a paint finish, the choice is largely between satin and matte finishes. Satin walls are great for almost any space because they work well with almost all colors.

A matte finish is great for living rooms and dining rooms because it is more neutral, making it great for a wide range of design styles. No matter which finish you choose, be sure to use high-quality paint so that it lasts for many years to come.

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