Eggshell vs Semi-Gloss Paint

Choosing paint is tricky. 

Because after you spend a painstaking amount of time picking a color, you’re left to decide on a sheen.

And chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re trying to decide between an eggshell and a semigloss finish.

Eggshell has a flat sheen that doesn’t reflect much light. On the other hand, semigloss is much shinier, making it easier to clean.

There are pros and cons to both. Here’s what to consider.

Semi-gloss: What It Is + Pros and Cons

semi-gloss paint

If your walls feel silky and have a noticeable shine to them, chances are they’re a semi-gloss sheen.

Sheen refers to the amount of light that reflects off a painted surface. And the higher the sheen, the more glossy-looking a wall will be.

Semi-Gloss is one step down from high gloss and has the highest sheen of interior paint at 41% to 69% gloss. It’s also one of the most durable paint finishes.

After semi-gloss paint dries, it hardens. This creates a surface resistant to cracks and very easy to clean.

There are two potential downsides to using a semi-gloss finish. First, since it is a high sheen, it shows imperfections.

If you have dings and cracks in your wall, you’ll need to fix them before coating your wall.

Second, some people simply don’t like the look. Paint trends have skewed toward a flat or eggshell finish in recent years.

Pros of semi-gloss paint:

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Great for high-traffic areas

Cons of semi-gloss paint:

  • Highlights imperfections in the wall

Eggshell: What It Is + Pros and Cons

eggshell paint

Eggshell paint has a gloss content of only 10% to 25%. Because of the low gloss, it looks more matte.

But, as the name suggests, an eggshell sheen looks and feels like the texture of an egg’s shell.

Even though eggshell paint is on the flat side, its gloss content does make it easy to clean. It’s a great option if you’re looking for matte paint that you can wash with gentle soap and water.

Pros of eggshell sheen:

  • Hides imperfections in the wall
  • Washable
  • Low sheen

Cons of eggshell paint:

  • Not as easy to clean or durable as semi-gloss

Eggshell vs Semi-Gloss for Bedroom

You can use either eggshell or semi-gloss for a bedroom. However, most DIYers and designers prefer the matte look of eggshell.

It hides wall imperfections and casts a beautiful color.

There is one caveat, though – if you’re painting a kid’s bedroom and that kid is prone to draw on the wall, go with semi-gloss. 

Eggshell vs Semigloss for Bathroom

It’s almost always a good idea to do a semi-gloss sheen in the bathroom. Semi-Gloss is durable, easy to clean, and resists most stains.

So, if you have children and want to be able to quickly and easily wipe down walls, semi-gloss is the clear winner.

While eggshell is washable, it’s not as scrubbable, nor is it stain resistant. So only use eggshell if your bathroom stays relatively clean and mess-free.

Eggshell or Semi-gloss for Living Room

Both eggshell and semi-gloss sheens are suitable for a living room. The choice should come down to personal preference and lifestyle.

If you have children and pets, semi-gloss will be the easiest to keep clean. However, eggshell casts a much softer glow and is still washable.

Therefore, many designers recommend going with eggshell on the wall and semi-gloss on trim.

If you can’t decide between the two, you can meet in the middle and opt for a satin sheen.

Final Thoughts

Eggshell sheen is a low gloss with a matte look, while semi-gloss is much shinier. Since semi-gloss paint is easy to clean, it’s often best for high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

Eggshell paint is also washable but doesn’t clean up quite as well. It’s great for lower traffic areas like bedrooms, ceilings, and the hallway.