Matte, Satin, Glossy: The Only Guide to Paint Finishes You’ll Ever Need

Image: Laundry room by Plain English

Refinishing and repurposing furniture is always a fascinating process. However, this is a hobby that is best-suited for people with a vision. After all, the work may begin with what many people would consider a piece of junk. But those with a vision and a little creativity are able to transform that "junk" into something beautiful and usable.

Paint Color

A fresh coat of paint is often the finishing touch to the transformation process. Choosing the perfect paint color can sometimes be challenging. Most people have questions about whether the furniture color should match other pieces in the room or if it should stand out. The choice is really a personal one; it depends on your unique decorating style.

The Next Challenge

When it comes to paint, the next challenge is deciding on a paint finish or type of sheen. That is, should the paint have a flat finish, a satin sheen, or a glossy shine? Obviously, the finish can make a huge difference in the appearance of the item.

In some instances, the function or desired appearance of the piece can help you determine the best paint finish. For example, because a glossy paint finish is easy to wipe clean, it might be a good choice for a desk or table top surface that kids will use. A matte finish can be perfect for a distressed or shabby chic look.

Below you will find a complete guide about the three main types of paint finishes. This reference will be helpful any time you are choosing paint sheens.

Matte Finish

This paint finish is perfect for hiding imperfections. The finish is sometimes called "flat." It can give a piece of furniture a sort of dry, chalky appearance, but the look is also very elegant. This is ideal for vintage pieces.

One suggestion is to paint surfaces with matte finish paints and then lightly sanding the edges and other places to give a worn look. Waxing the piece will give the furniture a touch of sheen.

Satin Finish

Satin finishes have a slightly shiny sheen that is durable and easy to clean. This type of paint can be used for nearly any type of furniture. The one thing you should keep in mind about this paint finish is that touch-ups, if needed, are noticeable.

Glossy Paint Finish

If you like the lacquer look, you will love paint with a glossy finish. But do keep in mind, this paint will draw attention to any imperfections, which means you have to do a good job in painting the piece you are working on. Runs in the paint will definitely be noticeable.

The high-gloss finish is easy to wipe clean, which makes this an ideal paint option for items that will be in kids' rooms or other areas that will get a lot of use.

Although there are other paint finishes available, such as eggshell finish and semi-gloss paint, matte, satin and gloss finishes are the most commonly used paint sheens for furniture. The type of paint finish you use for your furniture project really depends on your particular preferences and where and how the item will be used.

Use the guide provided to choose paint finishes that will work for you. Be creative and have fun!

Debbie Allen is a blogger, freelance writer, and online marketer. She often writes about small business management topics and marketing strategies. Debbie also likes to share information about home decorating and gardening topics.

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