High-Gloss or Semi-Gloss Paint for Bathroom Walls?

If you’re planning on redecorating your bathroom, the type of paint finish you choose is just as important as the color. The right paint finish can make all the difference in how your walls look and feel. So, which should you choose: high-gloss or semi-gloss? 

High-gloss paint is the most durable and easy-to-clean option, making it the ideal choice for high-moisture areas like a bathroom. It is also more resistant to stains and scratches. However, it can be very reflective, which can be overwhelming in a small space. It also shows imperfections more than other finishes.

In this article, you will learn the following:

  • The factors to consider when choosing a paint finish for bathroom walls
  • The pros and cons of semi-gloss paint
  • The pros and cons of high-gloss paint
  • How to decide between semi-gloss and high-gloss

4 Essential Factors for Choosing the Perfect Paint Finish

When it comes to selecting a paint finish, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider. To help you make the right decision, let’s take a closer look at what those factors are. 

Durability and cleanability 

Bathrooms can be damp, humid environments that lead to mold and mildew growth. So, it’s important that you choose paints with mold-resistant qualities and finishes that will stand up to regular cleaning and scrubbing. 

Lighting conditions 

Another factor to consider when choosing a paint finish is the lighting conditions in your bathroom. If your bathroom has ample natural light or bright overhead lighting, then glossy paints will work well because they’ll reflect light and make your space appear brighter and bigger.

If your bathroom has more subdued lighting, however, then you should opt for a finish with a lower gloss level.


The color palette you choose for your bathroom walls should complement the style of the rest of the room and match any existing fixtures, such as sinks and toilets.

Choose neutral colors, like whites and beiges, for a timeless look. Bright colors can make a small bathroom feel bigger, while dark colors add depth and a more dramatic feel.

Touch-up and maintenance

Finally, consider how easy the paint finish will be to touch up and maintain. The higher the gloss level of the paint, the harder it is to touch up.

Pros and Cons of High-Gloss Paint

High-gloss paint is a type of glossy, highly reflective finish that is commonly used for walls in interior spaces. It has a smooth, reflective surface that creates a dramatic look and feel to any space it’s applied.


One of the main advantages is its durability and low maintenance. High-gloss paint is designed to be water-resistant and long-lasting, which means it can withstand the humidity and moisture of the bathroom environment.

This paint also resists mold growth, making it a great choice for those with allergies or asthma. The glossy finish of high-gloss paint also makes it easier for walls to be wiped down without worrying about damaging the surface.

Additionally, since this type of paint is highly reflective, it can help make small bathrooms appear bigger by creating an illusion of space due to the increased light reflection.


Applying high-gloss paint can pose a challenge and demands more preparation time prior to its application compared to flat or eggshell paints. The glossy finish also magnifies imperfections in the wall, such as bumps or cracks, making it harder to achieve a smooth look overall. 

Finally, high-gloss paint may be too intense for certain spaces. While it can create a dramatic effect in some cases, it may overwhelm small spaces with intense brightness and shine.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a more subtle finish, then you may want to avoid using high-gloss paint on your bathroom walls.

Pros and Cons of Semi-Gloss Paint

Semi-gloss paint is a popular choice for interior walls due to its reflective sheen that adds a subtle sparkle to any room. It has a less glossy finish than high gloss, but it still reflects light and adds shimmer and depth to a wall.


Semi-gloss paint for bathroom walls is a great solution for creating a beautiful, clean, and attractive look. One of the main benefits of semi-gloss paint is its durability.

The high sheen finish helps to create a very hard and protective layer that is resistant to moisture, humidity, and mildew.

Another benefit of using semi-gloss paint for walls in the bathroom is its easy cleaning characteristics. The glossy finish makes it much easier to clean, as dirt, grease, and grime can be wiped away with minimal effort.

Finally, semi-gloss paints are great for adding vibrancy to walls without making them appear too bright or overwhelming. The subtle sheen brings out the colors used in your wall decor while still allowing other decorative elements, such as accessories and tiles, to stand out prominently. 


Despite its durability, a major disadvantage is that it is not as resilient to stains and dirt accumulation over time as high-gloss paint. This means that semi-gloss paints may need to be cleaned more frequently in order to maintain their attractive appearance.

Additionally, semi-gloss paint can be difficult to apply due to its glossy finish, making it more challenging to achieve an even and consistent look on the wall.

This is especially true for larger walls, where it may be easy to miss spots or create inconsistencies in the coverage.

Finally, although semi-gloss paint can add vibrancy to a room, its reflective sheen may also make it difficult to hide imperfections in walls, such as bumps or cracks.

High-Gloss vs. Semi-gloss: Which Should You Choose?

High-gloss paint has a shiny, reflective finish that helps to make the wall surface look bigger, brighter, and easier to clean. High-gloss also tends to last longer than its semi-gloss counterpart because it is more durable.

However, high-gloss can be harder to apply, especially when trying to achieve a perfectly even finish, and it may need more coats of paint than semi-gloss in order to achieve the desired result. 

On the other hand, semi-gloss paint provides a slightly less glossy finish than high-gloss but still offers protection from moisture as well as ease of cleaning like its counterpart. Semi-gloss is often easier to apply and does not require as many coats as high-gloss does.

In the end, the choice between high-gloss and semi-gloss paint for bathroom walls boils down to personal preference.

Both finishes offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and ultimately it is up to the homeowner to decide which type of paint will best suit their needs.

No matter which paint finish you choose, be sure to take the time to properly prepare your walls for painting and use quality products for the best results.

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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