Guide to choosing the perfect paint finish

Yet another bank holiday is on the horizon, and as the last one until August (booo) this weekend is the perfect opportunity to revamp your home ready for the summer. Adding a lick of paint is an easy and cost efficient way to freshen up a room, but unless you are a DIY expert the process can be a minefield: particularly when it comes to choosing paint finish.

Getting the right finish is essential for long-lasting décor, but because this topic can be a little dry (excuse the pun!), at Savoo we have put together a short room by room guide to explain paint finish in bite size nuggets. Happy decorating!
Kitchen and bathroom

Competing for the title of grimiest room, kitchen and bathroom surfaces should be able to withstand plenty of grease, stains and moisture drips- as well as a good scrubbing with soap and water. With this in mind, you should choose paint in a high-gloss or semi-gloss finish for maximum longevity.

High gloss is the Daddy of all paint, creating a shiny, tough and durable finish that is easy to clean. Ideal for cabinets, wood and metal, high-gloss paint is nonetheless too shiny for large surfaces. For the walls of your bathroom or kitchen choose a semi-gloss finish instead, which has less of a gleam but is still very durable.

Living room and hallway

High traffic areas like living rooms and hallways should be protected from scuffs and rubs but do not require as much protection as kitchen or bathroom walls. Satin finish paint has a slightly glossy tint that some people might find old-fashioned, but its durable properties make it unbeatably practical for busy rooms.

Satin painted walls can be cleaned regularly with a damp sponge to remove any dust, dirt or fingerprints without any damage to the paintwork. But bear in mind that slightly glossy paint will highlight imperfections, so make sure your walls are in good condition first!

Dining room

Eggshell paint is perfect for less occupied areas of the home like dining rooms and the study. Sitting between satin and matte paint on the durability scale, eggshell is low-lustre with very little shine. Harder to clean than its glossy counterparts, eggshell paint will nonetheless cover wall imperfections well and adds a contemporary look to a modern or period property. Eggshell paint is also water-based, making it quick drying compared with solvent based glossy paints.


Matt paint gives a completely flat finish which is fantastic at hiding imperfections like scratches and nicks on the wall. The best place for matte paint is on the ceiling where less light reflection is a plus, but it is becoming increasingly more popular on walls where it can enhance the richness of a deep colour.

If you do want to use matt paint, try and limit it to areas with low traffic like adult bedrooms. Unlike glossy finishes, matt paint is incredibly difficult to keep clean, so avoid using this in children’s bedrooms where mucky fingerprints could wreak havoc!

Choosing your paint

There are literally hundreds of varieties of paint to choose from online and in DIY stores, so if you are not sure on the finish then buy some tester pots and experiment. Tester pots can go a long way, particularly if you are just looking to update one wall or a piece of furniture. Once you are happy with your paint choice, use this handy calculator from B&Q to determine exactly how many tins you need to buy.

What paint finish would you recommend?

Related links: Homebase | Paints Direct | Wickes

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