Can You Use Flat or Matte Paint for Baseboards and Trim?

Looking to update the look of your home? Painting can be a great way to spruce up your house. With so many different types of paint, deciding which is the best can be difficult.

While gloss paints are traditionally used for baseboards and trim, flat/matte paints can offer an interesting aesthetic. It gives off a clean, modern look. It also adds texture and dimension to any room. It also offers a great way to add visual interest to your walls without overwhelming the room.

This article will teach you:

  • Reasons why flat paint isn’t suitable
  • How to use flat paint for trims
  • Best paints to use

4 reasons flat/matte paint usually isn’t suitable


One of the biggest concerns with using flat/matte paint on baseboards and trim is that it isn’t as durable as other types of paint. This type of paint is much more delicate and can easily become damaged by the slightest contact with elements like dust, dirt, and bumps. It has an increased tendency to chip or scratch due to its fragility.


Flat/matte paints tend to have a very low sheen, making them appear dull or washed out on certain surfaces. If this is not what you desire, it’s probably best to use another type of paint with a higher sheen level such as semi-gloss or high gloss. These can provide a bolder, more vibrant look that will stand out in any room. 


Unless you plan on regularly cleaning these areas. It would be best to use another type of paint that provides better stain resistance, such as semi-gloss or high gloss paints which are more resistant to staining than flat/matte paints.


Flat paints also require more regular cleaning than other types of paint to maintain their appearance over time. This is because they lack the protective layer offered by higher sheen levels, making them susceptible to dirt and grime buildup if not cleaned regularly enough.

Specially formulated, hard-wearing flat paint

Gloss is the go-to paint for trims and baseboards, but if you still prefer the look of flat paint, there are specially formulated hard-wearing paints available. These paints are designed to be more durable than other varieties, and offer greater protection against dust, dirt, and other elements.

Hard-wearing flat paints are specially formulated with additives to make them more resistant to wear and tear and provide added protection against staining, meaning that you don’t have to worry about regular cleaning or maintenance. Here are a few tricks to make flat paint work on baseboards and trims:

Use bold colors

One of the best ways to make your flat paint look great is by using bold colors. Bold colors contrast strongly against other surfaces in the room and add a striking visual element. To ensure that your bold colors don’t overwhelm the room, use them as an accent color. 

For a pop of color on your baseboards or trims try Benjamin Moore’s Marblehead Gold. It is a beautiful golden yellow that’s sure to add some life to your room.

Dark colors also work

Dark colors are particularly effective as they create a dramatic effect without overwhelming the space. Try using a deep navy or charcoal color to add depth and drama to your room.

Create a contrast

By contrasting different colors on the baseboards and trim, you can create an interesting look that will draw attention to your paint job. Try pairing a light shade with a dark one or using two bold colors together to achieve this effect.

The 3 best paint finishes for baseboards and trim


A semi-gloss finish is the most common option for painting baseboards and trims. Semi-gloss paint stands out without standing out. Its delicate levels of sheen add a subtle sparkle to baseboards and trims, drawing attention to the details while blending seamlessly with the other elements of a room. 

This sophisticated finish not only looks beautiful but also holds up in high-traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens, or even children’s bedrooms because it is so easy to clean and maintain its glossy appearance.


High-gloss paint is the ideal choice for baseboards and trims, as it can provide a beautiful, high-shine finish that stands out against walls and other surfaces. This type of paint provides superior durability and stain resistance compared to other types of paints. Thereby making it a great choice for areas that are frequently touched or exposed to dirt, grease and grime.

High-gloss paint is also resistant to flaking or chipping. Additionally, it can stand up to scrubbing without losing its shine or color and dries quickly so you can get on with your day.

The result is an attractive finish that will last for years without requiring frequent maintenance or repainting. If you’re looking for something that looks professional and offers superior performance, then high-gloss is the way to go.

The only downside to this finish is its tendency to highlight any imperfections on your trim or baseboards, but if they’re in prime condition, then this shouldn’t be a problem.


Satin paint is a good option for baseboards and trims due to its strong color, soft luster, and excellent durability. Its slight sheen offers a beautiful finish that will stand up to wear and tear in even the busiest of households.

The flexible, moisture-resistant finish provides greater protection against dirt and marks. Although it may cost more upfront and require more coats for full coverage, it will prove its worth with easy maintenance. There’s no need for hard scrubbing or heavy cleaning.

However touch-ups often show up more easily, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for any imperfections before they become too noticeable.

Do you need to use primer when painting baseboards and trim?

When starting any painting project, it’s important to consider if a primer is necessary. For baseboards and trim, you should use a primer. While one coat should be enough, applying more than one won’t hurt and can ensure the best outcome.

For an aesthetically pleasing finish, plan on at least two coats of paint for your trim and baseboard work, and don’t forget to let each coat dry thoroughly before moving on to the next. Apart from saving time and money in the long run, a primer will help bring out the best results from each coat of paint you apply.

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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