Is Semi-Gloss Paint Good for Living Room Walls?

Redecorating a living room is often an intimidating challenge as it tends to be one of the most prominent features in any home. When selecting paint, it is important to ensure the color and finish will make the space comfortable and inviting. So, is going semi-gloss a good move?

Flat paint is the usual choice for living rooms. However, if kids are present, semi-gloss can be used. Semi-gloss provides a washable surface that is ideal for homes with small children. Semi-gloss is also more durable and can stand up to wear and tear better than flat finishes.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The benefits of semi-gloss paint
  • The drawbacks of semi-gloss paint
  • How semi-gloss compares to other finishes

4 Benefits of Using Semi-Gloss Paint in Your Living Room

Semi-gloss isn’t likely to be the best paint finish for your living room, but it does have its benefits. Here is a list of the 4 reasons why you might want to choose it.

High durability 

Semi-gloss paint has a higher gloss level than most other paints, so it is better for everyday wear and tear. This makes it a great choice if you have children or pets, as it is more resistant to scratches and scrapes.

Additionally, semi-gloss paint is easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about stains or dirt showing up on your walls over time. 

Light reflection 

Semi-gloss paint has an attractive sheen that adds depth and dimension to any living room. It reflects light, which can make the space appear larger and brighter than it is. 

Resistance to moisture 

Due to its high gloss level, semi-gloss paint is naturally resistant to moisture and mildew growth. This makes it especially useful for living rooms in humid climates.  With semi-gloss paint, you won’t have to worry about mold or mildew accumulating on your walls over time. 

Easy to clean

Finally, semi-gloss paint is very easy to clean. This makes it perfect for any living room that sees a lot of traffic. All you need to do is wipe down the walls with a damp cloth, and you’ll be good to go.

3 Drawbacks of Using Semi-Gloss Paint in Your Living Room

Despite its benefits, here is a list of reasons why semi-gloss probably isn’t the right choice for you.

Can show imperfections 

Semi-gloss paint has a higher sheen than flat paints but not as much shine as high gloss paints. Holes, bumps, and other blemishes will be more visible when painted with semi-gloss paint than flat paint.

Therefore, if your walls have any kind of imperfection that needs to be camouflaged, semi-gloss may not be the best option for you. 

Hard to change colors 

Changing the color of your walls is easier with flat or eggshell finishes because they absorb more of the new color than semi-gloss paints do.

If you think you may want to redecorate and change colors frequently, then semi-gloss probably isn’t the best choice for your living room walls. Flat or eggshell finishes will make any future repainting much easier and less expensive.

Will produce glare

Another potential downside is that semi-gloss paint can produce a lot of glare in certain lighting. If you have bright lights or your living room receives a lot of natural light, the walls may reflect too much and become distracting and overwhelming.

How Does Semi-Gloss Paint Compare to Other Finishes?


High gloss paint is highly reflective and gives off a glass-like appearance. It also provides a very smooth, shiny finish that helps to visually brighten up any living room.

Semi-gloss also offers a reflective finish but not as much as high-gloss. The surface tends to appear more subtle yet still has enough sheen to make it stand out. When it comes to price, high gloss paint is generally more expensive than semi-gloss.

High gloss is known for being tougher than semi-gloss and can easily withstand some serious scrubbing if necessary without sustaining any damage. Semi-gloss is also very durable but isn’t quite as tough when compared with its counterpart. 


Using satin paint in your living room will provide a stunning and bold color with just the right amount of luster.

Unlike semi-gloss finishes that can be too glossy, satin is not as reflective when exposed to low light settings, making it an ideal alternative for achieving a vibrant look without any unwanted reflection.

Although satin is known to be durable, it tends to be slightly less durable than semi-gloss and won’t stand up well to scrubbing as easily. Semi-gloss can withstand harsh scrubbing and still look great afterward.

Touching-up satin and semi-gloss are both difficult compared to flatter sheens. However, because satin is less reflective than semi-gloss, touch-ups are less noticeable.


When it comes to appearance, eggshell paint has a slight sheen that’s less glossy than satin and semi-gloss. Eggshell is an attractive option for living room walls because it creates a subtle light reflection with minimal glare.

In terms of durability, they both have similar qualities. They can be easily wiped clean. However, satin carries a slight advantage due to its higher sheen level.

The main downside of semi-gloss paint is that it can be difficult to touch up if any damage occurs. This is because the glossiness of the finish can make it difficult to blend with the existing color of the wall. Eggshell, on the other hand, is much easier to work with in this regard.

Flat (matte)

A highly popular choice for living room walls is flat or matte paints, which have a much flatter sheen than semi-gloss paint. This means there will be less light reflection off the walls, which can give a more muted look to the room.

The lack of shine also helps make imperfections on the wall more difficult to detect, which may be beneficial if your wall has a lot of flaws.

Flat finishes don’t stand up to wear and tear as well as glossy finishes. Flat paint is more likely to chip if it comes into contact with hard objects such as furniture, which is something to take into consideration if your living room sees a lot of traffic.

However, flat and matte finishes are easier to touch up because they absorb light rather than reflect it, making them less noticeable compared with semi-gloss paints, which cannot be touched up easily.

What Type of Paint Is Best for Trim, Baseboards, Doors, and Casings?

Gloss paint is often the best choice. A high-shine finish that cleans easily will create an eye-catching image in any room. It is highly durable and resistant to scratches and scuffs. It will keep its beautiful appearance without having to be re-coated. 

When painting with a gloss finish, it is important to use a high-quality brush and roller to provide a smooth finish. Before applying the paint, it is also important to ensure the walls are clean, dry, and free from debris.

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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