Flat or Eggshell Paint for the Living Room?

If you’ve ever painted a room in your home, you know the importance of choosing the right paint finish. Flat paint and eggshell paint are two common choices for living rooms, but which should you use?

Eggshell paint has a slightly higher sheen than flat, making it a better option for living room walls. Its slight sheen helps bounce light around a room without being too overpowering. Eggshell paint is ideal for medium-traffic areas since it tends to be more resistant to stains and dirt. Plus, it’s easier to clean.

In this article, you will learn the following:

  • The factors to consider when choosing a paint finish for living rooms
  • The pros and cons of flat paint
  • The pros and cons of eggshell paint
  • How to decide between flat and eggshell paint

5 Essential Factors for Choosing the Perfect Paint Finish

Let’s explore some of the factors you must consider when choosing a paint finish for living rooms.

Amount of natural light 

The amount of natural light entering your living room is important in choosing the right paint finish.

If your living room has plenty of windows and gets a good amount of sunlight, you may want to choose a finish with a lower gloss level. If your living room has less natural light, you may want to consider a higher gloss finish.

Frequency of use

Another factor to consider when choosing a paint finish is how often you use the living room and what activities are done there.

If it’s a high-traffic area frequently used by family members or guests, you’ll want to go with a more durable paint finish. However, if it’s not used as much and mainly functions as an occasional guestroom or sitting area, you could opt for a less durable paint finish.

Budget and maintenance level 

Budget and maintenance levels should also be considered when selecting your paint finish. Glossier finishes cost more than matte finishes because they require more coats to achieve maximum coverage.

Additionally, glossy finishes require more upkeep since they show fingerprints and other marks easily, so if you’re looking for something lower maintenance, then matte might be the way to go. 

Choose what you feel most comfortable with 

Choosing the right paint finish is finding something that makes you feel comfortable and confident in your space. Before committing to any particular type of paint finish, try out some samples on the walls and evaluate the overall look.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, take a step back and ask yourself what would make you happiest in the long run.

Condition of the surface

Finally, you should consider the condition of the wall surface before choosing a paint finish. If your walls are in good condition and don’t need much prep work before painting, then you can opt for a finish with a low gloss level.

However, if your walls require repair or major prep work, then you may want to opt for a finish with a higher gloss level, as it is more durable and can often cover imperfections better.

Pros and Cons of Flat Paint

A flat finish has a matte, non-shiny appearance and a subtle look. Flat finishes are ideal for rooms with minimalistic decor since they do not draw attention to themselves, allowing other design elements to stand out. It is also commonly used for low-traffic areas like guest bedrooms and ceilings.


A flat finish paint is an excellent choice for living rooms as it offers a range of benefits. Flat paint does an excellent job of hiding imperfections in walls because it doesn’t reflect light like other paints.

This makes it the perfect solution for people who want a smooth, uniform look without spending time and money on wall repairs or cover-ups.

Additionally, the flat finish gives off a subtle appearance that helps create a calming atmosphere in living rooms. Flat paint won’t overpower the room but will blend nicely with furniture, curtains, and decor in your living room.


Flat paint in a living room can be aesthetically pleasing and calm, but it has its downfalls. The lack of sheen makes flat paint more difficult to clean than shinier finishes. Dust, dirt, and other debris will cling to the surface, making it harder to wipe away.

Flat paint also tends not to last as long as paint finishes with a higher gloss level due to its delicate nature. Over time, the wear and tear from daily activities can cause scuffs and scrapes that are difficult to hide.

Pros and Cons of Eggshell Paint

An eggshell finish is a paint sheen typically used in living rooms and ceilings. It is characterized by a low-luster, slightly glossy look resembling an egg’s outer shell.


Eggshell paint is ideal for living rooms as it provides a subtle sheen that is less reflective than glossier finishes. This makes the space feel more natural and inviting without the added glare of shinier, more reflective paints.

Eggshell also offers greater durability and easier cleaning than flat paint. It can effectively hide minor imperfections in the wall without sacrificing its attractive appeal.

Additionally, an eggshell finish is resilient enough to endure the daily wear and tear from family activities like children’s play or pet movement, while still maintaining an attractive appearance.

The moderate sheen of eggshell paint also reflects natural light beautifully, helping to create a brighter atmosphere within the room. Finally, an eggshell finish provides great adhesion so that any new coats of paint go on easily and remain beautiful for years.


Firstly, eggshell finishes have a greater tendency to reveal flaws on walls as compared to flat paint. This means that if your wall has an uneven surface or cracks, these imperfections are likely to be more noticeable with an eggshell finish.

Secondly, eggshell finishes are not as durable as glossier finishes. Therefore, they may not hold up well in busy family households where people constantly come and go.

Lastly, the low gloss level of eggshell paint does not reflect light in the same way as glossier finishes, which can brighten up a room. As a result, the room may appear slightly dimmer without supplementary artificial lighting.

Flat vs. Eggshell: Which Should You Choose?

When considering flat paint versus eggshell, there are several factors to consider. Flat paint is easier to clean than eggshell because it allows dirt and other particles to slide off the surface more easily.

However, because of its flat finish, it does not reflect much light, so it tends to look duller in comparison.

Eggshell paint has a slightly glossy finish that helps reflect light and make walls appear brighter, but it also accumulates dirt more easily, making it harder to clean. 

Flat paint is more suitable for surfaces like ceilings that are not subjected to frequent contact. Eggshell paint is best for areas that receive wear and tear since it protects against scuffs and stains.

It comes down to personal preference and the effect you try to achieve in your home or 

space. If you’re looking for paint that is easy to clean and touch up but still provides an attractive finish with minimal maintenance, eggshell is likely the better choice.

However, if you want a matte effect with good coverage for imperfections but don’t mind cleaning it more often, then flat paint might be the way to go.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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