Satin vs Semi-Gloss Paint

Satin vs Semi-Gloss Paint

Satin and semi-gloss both refer to a paint’s sheen.

Sheen is simply a paint’s ability to reflect light. The higher the sheen, the glossier your walls will be.

Both finishes have some shine to them, with semi-gloss being the most prominent. Satin is slightly more matte, and both are easy to clean. 

If you’re deciding between satin vs. semi-gloss, here are some considerations.

Satin Paint: Pros, Cons, and Applications

satin paint

Satin sheen toes the line between being shiny and matte. It’s the perfect choice if you can’t commit to either and want something right in the middle.

Satin has a 26% to 40% gloss content. Because of this, it’s matte enough to hide imperfections on the wall but glossy enough to clean up easily.

Satin paint has a very smooth feel. As the name suggests, it imitates the look and feel of satin fabric.

And because satin is easy to clean, you can use it in any room in your house.

Pros of satin paint:

  • Durable and easy to clean
  • More accurate color
  • Not too shiny, not too matte
  • Hides imperfections better than semi-gloss

Cons of satin paint:

  • Not as durable as semi-gloss

Semi-Gloss Paint: Pros, Cons, and Application

semi-gloss paint

Semi-gloss paint has a 41% – 69% gloss content. Because of the high gloss, it dries hard and is shiny. 

The hard, shiny surface semi-gloss provides makes it incredibly durable and easy to clean. It’s a great paint choice if you have kids and pets.

While designers most often use semi-gloss paint in the bathroom, kitchen, and on doors and trim, you can use it anywhere.

The biggest con to semi-gloss paint is that it highlights the blemishes on your wall. So, if you have dings, crooked walls, or small holes, they’ll become more noticeable with a coat of semi-gloss on them.

The other pitfall of semi-gloss is that the paint color you choose at the store may look quite different once it’s on your wall because it reflects so much light.

Pros of semi-gloss paint:

  • Super easy to wipe clean
  • Durable

Cons of semi-gloss paint:

  • Highlights imperfections
  • Less accurate color

Satin vs Semi-Gloss for the Bedroom

While semi-gloss is excellent for rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, satin is better for the bedroom. Satin paint has a slight sheen but won’t highlight imperfections on your wall like a semi-gloss will.

It’s also very easy to clean and provides accurate color.

Satin vs Semi-Gloss for the Living Room

Satin is a good living room paint sheen. Since it has a medium gloss content, it’s durable and easy to clean.

But since it’s much more matte than semi-gloss, it provides a more accurate color and hides minor defects.

Satin or Semi-Gloss for the Bathroom?

Satin and semi-gloss are the top two paint choices for the bathroom. Both are humidity resistant and easy to clean. 

Satin is less shiny than semi-gloss and better at covering blemishes on the wall. Since both are suitable options, pick one based on personal preferences.

If you like more lustrous walls, go with semi-gloss. If you want to tone down the shine, opt for satin.

Final Thoughts

Satin and semi-gloss sheens are both durable and easy to clean. However, while semi-gloss will withstand more wear and tear, it will also show imperfections in your wall.

On the other hand, satin is an excellent sheen that you can use in any space. So if you have a hard time committing to either a gloss or flat paint, it’s the perfect in-between compromise.