Eggshell Paint vs Flat

Eggshell Paint vs Flat: Side-by-Side Comparison

Eggshell paint and flat paint serve distinct purposes in interior and exterior design. They differ in appearance, durability, and maintenance.

Understanding the impact of paint sheen on room aesthetics is crucial. Flat paint hides imperfections and suits low-traffic areas with its non-reflective finish.

But, it is more prone to damage and marking, and cleaning can be challenging. On the other hand, eggshell paint offers a slight luster, making it easier to clean and ideal for living rooms and bedrooms.

In this article, we give a detailed comparison of Eggshell paint vs Flat paint. Let’s dive in.

What Is the Difference Between Eggshell Paint and Flat Paint?

Eggshell paint has a subtle luster, while flat paint has a matte finish. Eggshell is more durable, resists stains, and can be wiped with a wet rag. Flat paint is non-reflective but less resistant to stains. Eggshell is ideal for high-traffic areas, while flat paint is suited for low-traffic spaces.

Understanding Paint Sheen

Paint sheen refers to the level of glossiness in a paint finish. It influences the overall appearance and atmosphere of a room. Different sheen levels, ranging from flat to high gloss, offer distinct visual impacts.

Flat paint, with its matte finish, is perfect for concealing imperfections and offering a subtle ambiance. It lacks shine and reflections, making it an excellent choice for low-traffic areas.

Eggshell paint, often considered a step above flat, features a sheen resembling an eggshell. This finish strikes a balance between matte and satin, providing improved durability and ease of cleaning.

It is commonly used in living rooms, bedrooms, and other moderately used spaces.

Satin paint, with its smooth and velvety appearance, offers a gentle sheen that adds warmth and elegance to surfaces.

It provides a moderate level of reflection and is known for its durability and resistance to mildew. Satin paint is often used in high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Moving up the sheen scale, semi-gloss paint delivers a noticeable shine and increased reflectivity.

It offers greater moisture resistance and is easy to clean, making it suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and trim work.

The semi-gloss finish adds a touch of sophistication and is chosen for its ability to highlight architectural details.

High-gloss paint, at the top of the sheen spectrum, provides a shiny and reflective surface that creates a bold and polished look.

It’s highly durable and resistant to stains, making it ideal for doors, cabinets, and furniture.

What is Flat Paint?

Flat paint, also known as matte paint, is a type of paint finish that has a low sheen or gloss. Characterized by its smooth and non-reflective appearance.

Flat paint is popular for its ability to hide imperfections on textured walls and ceilings, making it ideal for surfaces with uneven textures.

It is used in bedrooms, living rooms, and ceilings where a soft, subtle look is desired.

Unlike glossy or semi-gloss paints, flat paint does not reflect much light, giving a more muted and understated finish.

However, note that flat paint is more susceptible to stains and difficult to clean compared to other finishes.

It is not recommended for high-traffic areas or surfaces that may come into contact with moisture or dirt. Proper surface preparation is essential when applying flat paint to ensure a smooth and even application.

Pros of Flat Paint

  • Hides Imperfections: Flat paint conceals bumps, cracks, and drywall seams effectively.
  • Minimal Glare: It reflects less light, reducing glare and creating a calm atmosphere.
  • Subtle Look: Flat paint adds elegance and enhances a room’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Easy Touch-ups: It blends well, making repairs or touch-ups less noticeable.
  • Affordable: Flat paint is affordable for large projects or tight budgets.
  • Versatile: It’s used on wall surfaces, ceilings, and furniture, both indoors and exterior surfaces.
  • Creates a Cozy Atmosphere: Non-reflective flat paint adds warmth and comfort.
  • Reduces Distractions: It minimizes flaws, keeping the focus on decor and furnishings.
  • Wide Color Range: Many color options are available to match design preferences.
  • Art Displays: Commonly used in galleries, it doesn’t compete with artwork.

Cons of Flat Paint

  • Stain Susceptibility: Flat paint is prone to stains and can be difficult to remove.
  • Challenging to Clean: Cleaning flat paint is harder due to its porous nature.
  • Less Durability: It is not as durable as other finishes, susceptible to scuffs and wear.
  • Not Moisture-Resistant: Flat paint is not resistant to moisture, leading to peeling.
  • Limited Reflectivity: It reflects less light, making spaces appear darker.
  • Surface Sensitivity: Flat paint highlights surface imperfections and requires thorough preparation.
  • Not for High-Traffic Areas: It is not ideal for busy spaces due to it’s cleaning difficulty.
  • Limited Stain-Hiding: Certain stains may be challenging to conceal with flat paint.
  • Lower Light Reflectance: Flat paint absorbs more light, making small spaces appear smaller.
  • Color Fading: Flat paint is more prone to color fading, especially in direct sunlight.

Uses of Flat Paint

  • Painting interior walls, ceilings, and accent walls in residential and commercial spaces.
  • Creating a non-reflective background in art galleries and exhibitions.
  • Restoring historical buildings to maintain the original appearance.
  • Enhancing the cinematic experience in home theaters by reducing glare.
  • Applying to furniture, cabinetry, and woodwork for a smooth, elegant matte finish.
  • Establishing a professional atmosphere in offices, lobbies, and retail stores.
  • Providing a non-reflective backdrop in photography studios for high-quality images.

What is Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell paint is a paint finish that falls between flat and satin in terms of sheen and durability.

The name “eggshell” is due to its resemblance to the texture and sheen of an eggshell. Eggshell paint has a slight sheen, ranging from 10 to 25 percent, giving it a soft, velvety appearance.

Eggshell paint offers several advantages. It provides more durability and washability compared to flat paint.

Making it suitable for high-traffic areas like hallways, living rooms, and family rooms. It is also more resistant to stains and easier to clean.

Its finish helps to hide minor surface imperfections, such as patches. It provides an even appearance, offering a balance between a subtle sheen and a matte finish.

Eggshell paint is versatile and you can use it on various surfaces, including walls. It is available in a wide range of colors, allowing for flexibility in design choices.

Pros of Eggshell Paint

  • Smooth, elegant finish.
  • Easy to clean and resistant to stains.
  • Hides wall imperfections.
  • Versatile for various rooms and surfaces.
  • Reflects light, brightening the space.
  • Moderate stain resistance for high-traffic areas.
  • Blends well for touch-ups and repairs.
  • Low glare, ideal for bedrooms and media rooms.
  • Long-lasting and resists fading or yellowing.
  • Easy application with even coverage.

Cons of Eggshell Paint

  • Limited hide for surface imperfections.
  • Not suitable for high gloss desires.
  • Visible touch-ups compared to flat paint.
  • Less reflective than higher gloss finishes.
  • Limited stain resistance, though better than flat paint.
  • More difficult to clean than higher gloss finishes.
  • Not recommended for high-moisture areas.
  • Slightly less durable than higher gloss finishes.

Uses of Eggshell Paint

  • Painting interior walls in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms.
  • Applying to trim, baseboards, and crown molding.
  • Enhancing doors and door frames.
  • Refinishing wooden furniture.
  • Suitable for kitchen and bathroom walls.
  • Commercial spaces like retail stores and offices.
  • Ideal for rental properties.
  • Creating accent walls for visual interest.
  • Utilized in art and craft projects.
  • Exterior trim in select cases.

Eggshell Paint Vs Flat Head to Head Comparison


When comparing eggshell and flat paint, durability is an important factor to consider. Eggshell tends to be more durable than flat, offering increased resistance to weathering.

Its higher sheen provides a protective layer that can withstand scrubbing and cleaning. In contrast, flat paint is more susceptible to scuffs and marks due to its non-reflective nature.

It may need more frequent touch-ups or repainting in high-traffic areas. When it comes to long-term durability, eggshell paint has an edge.

Verdict: Eggshell wins


When it comes to maintenance, eggshell and flat paint have some differences. Eggshell paint is generally easier to clean compared to flat paint due to its slightly higher sheen.

It can withstand gentle scrubbing without easily getting damaged or losing its finish. Flat paint, on the other hand, is more delicate and can be challenging to clean.

Harsh scrubbing or abrasive cleaning agents may cause the paint to fade or rub off. Regular dusting and gentle spot cleaning are recommended for flat paint.

Overall, eggshell paint requires less effort and is more forgiving when it comes to maintenance and cleaning.

Verdict: Eggshell is easier to maintain and clean compared to flat paint.


In terms of cost, there can be some variations between eggshell and flat paint. Generally, flat paint tends to be cheaper compared to eggshell paint.

Flat paint is often priced lower due to its simpler formulation and lower demand. Eggshell paint may be more expensive due to its increased durability and washability.

The cost difference between the two can vary depending on the brand, quality, and specific market factors.

It’s essential to consider your budget and project requirements when making a decision. Flat paint is more budget-friendly, but eggshell paint’s added benefits may justify the higher price.

Verdict: Flat paint is generally more affordable, but the price difference can vary.

Visibility of imperfections

The visibility of imperfections is another aspect to compare between the two. Flat paint tends to be more forgiving when it comes to concealing surface imperfections.

Its low sheen helps minimize the appearance of dents, scratches, or patches on walls. In contrast, the sheen of eggshell can make imperfections noticeable under certain conditions.

It may accentuate uneven textures or flaws on the surface. If you have walls with significant imperfections, flat paint may be a better choice.

Verdict: Flat paint has better ability to hide imperfections compared to eggshell paint.

Environmental and health considerations

Environmental and health considerations are important when choosing between eggshell and flat paint.

For resistance to:

  • Stains: Eggshell paint offers better stain resistance than flat paint.
  • Scratches: Eggshell paint is more resistant to scratches than flat paint.
  • Moisture: Eggshell paint provides moderate moisture resistance compared to flat paint.
  • Mold and mildew: Both eggshell and flat paint need proper ventilation to deter mold and mildew growth.

Eggshell paint generally outperforms flat paint in terms of stain and scratch resistance. While both need proper ventilation to combat mold and mildew.

Verdict: Eggshell paint offers better stain and scratch resistance with moderate moisture resistance. Proper ventilation is essential for mold and mildew prevention in both types.

Sheen level

The sheen level is an important aspect to compare between eggshell and flat paint.

Eggshell paint has a slight sheen, ranging from 10 to 25 percent. It offers a soft, velvety appearance that adds a subtle elegance to surfaces.

The slight sheen reflects some light, contributing to a more appealing finish. In contrast, flat paint has a very low or non-reflective sheen.

It provides a smooth and matte finish, minimizing glare and creating a subdued, understated look. The choice of sheen level depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic.

Eggshell paint’s slight sheen can add depth and richness to a space. While flat paint offers a more minimalist and non-distracting appearance.

Verdict: Eggshell paint has a slight sheen, while flat paint offers a matte, non-reflective finish. The choice depends on the desired aesthetic.

Uses and recommended areas

Eggshell and flat paint have different uses and are recommended for specific areas.

Eggshell paint is versatile and used in areas where a subtle sheen and increased durability are desired. Some recommended uses include:

  • Interior walls in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms.
  • Trim work, baseboards, and crown molding.
  • Doors and door frames.
  • Refinishing wooden furniture.
  • Kitchen and bathroom walls.
  • Commercial spaces like retail stores and offices.

Flat paint, is often chosen for areas where a non-reflective, matte finish is preferred. Some recommended uses include:

  • Ceilings to create a smooth, uniform appearance.
  • Walls in low-traffic areas such as adult bedrooms or formal dining rooms.
  • Art galleries and exhibition spaces to minimize distractions from the artwork.
  • Spaces where surface imperfections need to be concealed.

Verdict: Eggshell paint is versatile and suitable for various areas.

Coverage and number of coats required

Coverage and coat requirements differ for eggshell and flat paint. Eggshell offers good coverage with fewer coats.

It hides colors and imperfections well, making application efficient. In contrast, flat paint needs more coats, especially over textured surfaces.

Achieving a consistent appearance requires multiple coats. Surface texture, paint quality, and color choice affect coverage and coats.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and test patches for optimal results.

Drying time

Drying time is an important consideration when comparing eggshell and flat paint.

Eggshell paint typically has a faster drying time compared to flat paint. It forms a touch-dry surface within a few hours of application. However, it’s important to note that the full curing time may take up to a few weeks.

Flat paint, on the other hand, generally has a slower drying time. It can take several hours to a day or more to dry to the touch.

Similarly to eggshell paint, the complete curing process for flat paint can take several weeks.

It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding drying and curing times. This helps to ensure proper adhesion and durability of the painted surface.

Verdict: Eggshell paint generally dries faster than flat paint.

Color retention and fade resistance

Eggshell paint typically offers good color retention and fade resistance. Its formulation and slight sheen help to preserve the integrity of the color over time. This makes it suitable for areas exposed to moderate levels of sunlight.

Flat paint, on the other hand, may be more susceptible to color fading over time. The lack of sheen can make it more prone to UV damage and discoloration.

In areas with direct sunlight or high exposure to light, flat interior paint may show signs of fading more quickly.

For color longevity and minimal fading:

  • Choose high-quality paints.
  • Follow proper application techniques.
  • Consider using UV-resistant topcoats or window treatments.

Verdict: Eggshell paint offers better color retention and fade resistance than flat paint.

Compatibility with various surfaces

Both eggshell and flat paint are versatile and compatible with various interior surfaces. They can be applied to drywall, plaster, and wood with proper surface preparation.

Eggshell paint provides a smooth and durable finish on walls, ceilings, and trim. Flat paint achieves a matte look on common surfaces like drywall, plaster, and wood.

Remember to clean and prime the surfaces before painting. Additionally, certain surfaces may need specific considerations or primers, such as metal.

Verdict: Both eggshell and flat paint are winners.

Touch-up and repaint ease

Touch-ups are easier with eggshell due to its slight sheen and blending capabilities. Careful color matching and feathering techniques may be needed.

Flat paint finish can be more challenging to touch up. This is because its non-reflective nature may result in noticeable differences. Skillful blending and feathering techniques are necessary.

You can recoat both eggshell and flat paint with the same type of paint for repainting. Transitioning between different sheens may need additional surface preparation.

Verdict: Eggshell finishes offers better touch-up ease.

Impact on room ambiance and perception of space

Eggshell paint, with its subtle sheen, adds depth and richness to a room. It can create a warm and inviting ambiance, especially in well-lit spaces. The slight reflective quality of eggshell paint can enhance the perception of a room’s size.

Flat paint, with its non-reflective matte finish, lends a more subdued and intimate ambiance to a room. It can create a cozy and calming atmosphere, in areas where a soft, diffused light is desired.

It also minimizes glare and reduces the appearance of surface imperfections, giving a smooth and uniform look to the walls.

The choice between eggshell and flat paint depends on the desired ambiance and the effect you want to achieve.

Eggshell paint can make a room feel more open and vibrant, while flat paint creates a sense of tranquility and intimacy.

Verdict: Eggshell paints add depth and spaciousness to a room.

Comparison Table Between Eggshell and Flat Paint

FactorsEggshell PaintFlat Paint
SheenSubtle sheenMatte finish
DurabilityGood durabilityModerate durability
MaintenanceEasy to cleanMay require more touch-ups and maintenance
Hiding ImperfectionsLess effectiveBetter at minimizing imperfections
ReflectivityReflects light, adds depth to surfacesNon-reflective, minimizes glare
Use in High-Traffic AreasSuitable, more durableMay require more touch-ups and maintenance
Use in Low-Traffic AreasCan be used, offers eleganceProvides a serene atmosphere
WashabilityMore washable than flat paintMay be less washable
PriceGenerally slightly more expensive than flatGenerally more affordable

Best Practices and Common Mistakes When Choosing and Applying Paint

  • Research and Compare. Take the time to research different paint options. Compare brands, quality, and customer reviews to make an informed decision.
  • Consider Lighting and Environment. Take into account the lighting conditions and environment of the space you are painting. Different finishes and colors can react differently under various lighting.
  • Sample and Test. Before committing to a large-scale painting project, get paint samples and test them on the actual surface. This allows you to test the color, finish, and compatibility with the surroundings.
  • Surface Preparation. Proper surface preparation is crucial for a successful paint job. Clean the surface , remove any loose paint or debris, and repair any cracks or imperfections. Prime the surface if necessary for better adhesion and coverage.
  • Use High-Quality Tools and Materials. Invest in high-quality paint brushes, rollers, and other painting tools. They will result in smoother application and better finish. Additionally, choose high-quality paints that offer better coverage, durability, and color retention.
  • Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on paint application, drying time, and any specific requirements. This ensures the best results and prevents issues such as poor adhesion.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Insufficient Surface Preparation. Rushing through surface preparation process can lead to paint failure, such as peeling. Take the time to clean, repair, and prime the surface.
  • Poor Color Choice. Failing to test paint colors in the actual space can result in disappointment. Always test samples on the walls to see how they look in different lighting conditions.
  • Inadequate Coverage. Applying too thin of a coat or trying to stretch the paint too far can result in insufficient coverage. Follow the recommended application guidelines and apply extra coats if necessary.
  • Ignoring Ventilation. Failing to provide proper ventilation during painting can lead to health issues. Open windows and use fans to ensure adequate airflow.
  • Not Allowing Enough Drying and Curing Time. Rushing the drying and curing process can lead to paint damage and poor durability. Allow the recommended drying and curing time.
  • Lack of Maintenance. Neglecting regular cleaning and touch-ups can result in the deterioration of the paint job over time. Stay proactive with maintenance to preserve the paint’s appearance and longevity.

When to Use Eggshell Vs Flat Paint?

  • Living Room: Both eggshell and flat paint work well. Eggshell adds elegance and vibrancy, while flat creates a calming atmosphere.
  • Walls: Choose eggshell for durability and easy cleaning. Flat paint minimizes imperfections but may need touch-ups.
  • Bedroom: Both options suit bedrooms. Eggshell offers a soft, inviting feel, while flat creates a serene atmosphere.
  • Dining Room: Eggshell is better for its subtle sheen and stain resistance.
  • Kitchen: Both eggshell and flat are usefull, but eggshell’s washability make it popular.
  • Bathroom: Use eggshell paint for better moisture resistance and easy cleaning.
  • Hallways and Entryways: Both eggshell and flat work. Eggshell is more durable, while flat minimizes scuffs.
  • Home Office: Choose based on personal preference. Eggshell adds sophistication and is easy to clean, while flat creates focus.
  • Children’s Room: Eggshell comes best due to its durability and easy cleaning.
  • Ceilings: Use flat paint to create a uniform appearance, and add a sense of spaciousness.

Eggshell Vs Flat Vs Matte Vs Satin

When comparing eggshell, flat, matte, and satin, there are notable differences to check:

Eggshell Finishes:

  • Offers a slight sheen, resembling the texture of an eggshell.
  • Provides a subtle elegance and depth to surfaces.
  • Offers good durability and washability, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Helps to hide minor surface imperfections.
  • Reflects some light, adding a gentle glow to the painted surface.

Flat Finishes:

  • Has a non-reflective, matte appearance.
  • Provides a smooth, even finish without any shine or sheen.
  • Helps to minimize the appearance of surface imperfections.
  • Suitable for areas where a low-contrast, understated look is desired.
  • May be more challenging to clean and may require more touch-ups over time.

Matte Finishes:

  • Similar to flat finish, with a non-reflective, velvety appearance.
  • Offers excellent coverage and helps to hide surface imperfections.
  • Creates a modern, sophisticated look with a soft, understated elegance.
  • May need special care when cleaning, as aggressive scrubbing can mar the finish.

Satin Finishes:

  • Has a soft, smooth sheen between matte and eggshell.
  • Provides a subtle glow and a reflective surface.
  • Offers good durability and washability, suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Provides a more pronounced sheen compared to eggshell but with a smooth appearance.
  • Can highlight surface imperfections more than matte or flat paint finishes.

For our article on the head-to-head comparison of Satin Vs Matte Paint.


Why use eggshell paint?

Eggshell finish is popular for its subtle sheen, which adds depth to surfaces. It offers good durability, making it suitable for high-traffic areas. Eggshell paint is also easier to clean, making it a practical choice for various spaces.

What are the cons of eggshell paint?

Cons of Eggshell Paint:

  • May not effectively hide surface imperfections compared to flat paints.
  • Achieving a seamless blend during touch-ups or repainting can be more challenging due to its sheen.
  • The slight sheen of eggshell paint can highlight flaws or uneven textures on the surface.
  • It may be more prone to showing fingerprints or smudges compared to flat paint.

Do designers use flat or eggshell paint?

Designers use both flat and eggshell paint, depending on the desired look and functionality. Flat paint is preferred for a matte, non-reflective finish and to minimize imperfections. Eggshell paint is chosen for a subtle sheen and enhanced durability.

Is eggshell paint more expensive than flat?

Generally, yes. The added durability and washability contribute to the price difference. However, costs can vary depending on paint brand, quality, and market factors. Compare prices and consider the benefits of eggshell paint before deciding.


The choice between eggshell and flat paint depends on various factors. Eggshell paint offers a subtle sheen, durability, and easy maintenance.

Flat paint provides a matte finish, minimizing imperfections and creating a serene atmosphere.

Consider individual preferences, space requirements, and desired aesthetics. Consult professionals for guidance and make an informed choice.

Remember to prioritize durability, maintenance, and the desired look.


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