Satin Vs Matte Paint Finish: What Are The Differences?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Painting the walls of your house is a major decision that you will be stuck with for a very long time. So finding a suitable paint finish for the walls can be a hard decision to reach.

There are a lot of factors and conditions that you need to consider before deciding on your appropriate finish. If your walls have the wrong finish not suitable for your climate, you might want to change it again.

Well, never fear when we are here! In this article, we will be talking about everything relating to satin vs matte paint finish. So if you have any questions regarding these two finishes, get your answers now!

Comparison Chart

Before we can delve deeper into the comparison, let’s look into the chart below and get an idea on the gist of things.

Property Satin Finish Matte Finish
Best Usage It is best for bedrooms and dining rooms. It is best for hiding imperfections in wall paint.
Appearance String but gentle relaxing color. Intensive and dominant color.
Longevity Long lasting but not so durable if used in exposed walls Doesnt last a long time due to the breakdown of molecules after some time passes.
Maintenance Doesnt require any extra maintenance since it is resistant to dust. Since it is easier to damage, some maintenance is advised.
Cost Moderately affordable. Inexpensive and affordable.
Ease Of Usage A lot of touch-ups are required making it hard to apply by amateurs. Easy to apply and anybody can do it.

What Is Satin Paint Finish?

While satin paint might be the more expensive of the two, the cost behind it is definitely worth it. To understand the concept behind satin paint, you need to first understand the spectrum behind it.

What Is Satin Paint Finish

Other than the sub-variations, the spectrum of wall paints contains four main color codes: matt, eggshell, satin, and gloss.

Satin is the third paint listed within the spectrum. It has a sheen texture very similar to glass. However, it doesnt offer much reflectiveness and instead refracts the lights to a certain degree.

Whats more, it has the perfect solidity compared to its counterpart while not being as reflective as glass. Therefore, it can be cleaned when dirty.

However, do not scrub on it as this might remove much of the sheen from the paint.

Satin paint finishes come in two variants- water-based and oil-based. Oil-based satin paint has greater coverage and solidifies quickly. Water-based satin is better for white color paint finishes.

Pros And Cons Of Satin Paint Finish

There are several pros and cons that are associated with satin paint finishes. We have listed some of the major ones below along with a brief description to help you out.


If you are going to go with satin paint finishes, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits as shown below.

  1. Resistance against dust:

Whether you are considering dust, UV from the sun, or even water- satin paint finishes give the wall great resistance against all of these.

  1. It is slightly glossy:

While the satin finish isnt the glossiest, it can still offer more glossiness compared to most of its counterparts.

  1. Relaxing Texture:

The color provided by satin finishes have a very homely and relaxing texture. That is why most people use satin paints in their bedrooms and living rooms.

  1. Easy To clean:

The texture gives it lower adhesion with other external molecules. As a result, you can clean the walls with the least amount of effort.

  1. Very durable:

Once solidified, the molecules inside the satin finish make covalent bonds with the molecules of the walls. This makes it very durable and long-lasting.


In addition to the pros, several cons exist that might not be the best choice for you in certain situations.

  1. More prone to erosion if not applied properly:

If you do not apply the coat while ensuring there are no bubbles or bloats, the satin finish can cause the wall to erode.

  1. Requires professionals

A painter with no experience might not be able to use satin paint finishes. This is because it requires a lot of preparations that only a professional will be able to do.

What Is Matte Paint Finish?

Matte finishes are also part of the paint texture spectrum. In fact, it is at the very top of the four due to being the least glossiest of them all.

What Is Matte Paint Finish

Matte finishes deliver a smooth and subtle look that dominates the light falling on top of it. As a result, none of the light falling on it is reflected back. Hence matte finishes make for a good insulator.

The thing about matte is that they are best suited for finishing over walls that have been painted with imperfections or a bunch of flaws. The matte finish is perfect for covering and merging these flaws.

Matte finishes are also often called velvet-like finish due to offering the unique velvety texture on top of the wall it has been painted on.

Matte paints offer a sharp and intensive outlook on wall paintings with its subtle and vivid expression. Additionally, their physical property allows them to have a great coverage over the walls they are painted on.

Pros And Cons Of Matte Paint Finish

Now that we are done with explaining what matte paint finish actually is, we can move on to the main pros and cons you can expect to come across.


Look at the pros displayed below to get an idea of what advantages you can expect to receive from a matte paint finish.

  1. Perfect For Covering Imperfections:

If your wall already has a coat of old paint or paint that has a lot of imperfections, cover it up with matte paint finish to get a new distinct look.

  1. Great Texture:

Matte paints have a very velvety texture, that is both comfortable and relaxing to touch and feel.

  1. Great Insulator:

The chemical and physical composition of matte paint finishes make it the perfect insulator. So if you are living in a very cold climate, matte paints can save you a lot of electricity from the heater.

  1. Very Affordable:

Unlike most other paint finishes, matte coatings are inexpensive and affordable. This is because the manufacturing method is relatively easy compared to other paint finishes.

  1. Excellent Coverage:

Matte paints are runnier in liquid form. This means that it has great coverage in the wall. You can coat more of a single wall with matte than with any other finishes since it takes time to solidify.


Dont forget to check on the potential cons as well. Only by learning more about them will you be able to take measures to cope with them.

  1. Not Durable:

Matte finish isnt just meant to be durable. While it will stay for a long time after maintenance, the finish is still prone to get scraped off after some time.

  1. Difficult to clean and maintain:

While it is not complicated to paint, matte finishes have a very high maintenance and cleaning requirement that can take a long time to complete.

What Are The Differences?

While they are both different ways that people paint finish over their walls, there are several major differences between the two.

Satin Vs Matte Paint Finish

The existence of these differences is quite obvious from the very fact that both of these are situated in two different positions in the spectrum.

We have compiled some of the core differences between the satin and matte finish and then displayed them below.


The characteristics of both of these paint finishes are based on the difference in physical and chemical compositions.

For instance, satin has a glossy surface which allows it to refract some of the light to a major extent. As a result, you can also notice a lot of sheen on the texture of satin paint finishes.

On the other hand, the matte finishs texture allows it to absorb the light. While matte has a more solid frame, it has neither gloss nor sheen compared to its counterpart.


In a durability test, the satin finish would win over matte with a large significant margin.

Satin has a higher amount of binders within its molecules. This allows it to form strong covalent bonds with the molecules of the wall. On the other hand, matte forms simple adhesive bonds.

As a result, matte breaks away quickly while satin can last for a long time without being affected by both time and natural forces.

Ease Of Usage

When we are referring to ease of usage, we are meaning how exactly we will be applying the coat of finish on top of the wall and how complicated it will be.

Satin has a very complex structure that requires a lot of attention and preparations beforehand. Hence, it has a harder ease of usage when compared to matte paint finishes.

In fact, we advise only professionals to work with satin finishes. Amateurs are more suitable with matte since it is easier to use.


The cost, in general, is at affordable rates for both of these finishes. The manufacturing methods arent anything over complicated, and there is no problems with the availability of raw materials.

As such, both of them are readily available at affordable prices. However, do note that satin is a tad bit more expensive than what you will pay for matte.

This is because there is more demand for the semi-glossy look that only satin can provide.


Satin is both comforting and attractive. As such, it is best suited for personal spaces like the bedroom and living room. Even if you want a more dull glossy finish, satin can still suit your demands.

On the other hand, matte can give a very stark contrast when compared with satin. Although it has a completely distinct aesthetic it is well suited for guest rooms or other more formal spaces.

Is Matte Or Satin Better For Walls?

If you are thinking of choosing one from these two, there is no definite answer to this question. No matter which one you choose, both of them will serve different purposes.

Is Matte Or Satin Better For Walls

Of course, your aesthetics do matter in this situation. However, if you are going to think about it logically, you need to weigh out the pros and cons before deciding on one.

Do note that it is common sense for using satin finishes for walls in your personal space. On the other hand, matte is better adorned for walls in a more formal space.

What Paint Finish Should I Use In A Living Room?

Typically, it is better to use a satin finish in living rooms. Living rooms count as a more personal space where the glossy look would suit best.

Besides, it is typically the place where more light particles need to be around to keep the place bright. Therefore, a satin finish is a best-suited finish for your living room.

However, if your living room is made from a coarser material like wood, matte would suit the needs better. Its chemical composition makes it a better finish due to the fact that adhesive force acts stronger on wood.

Final Words

Finding the right finish for your walls can require a great deal of research and time. You might think of it as a nuisance at first. You might not want to spend enough time on research and simply pick one at random.

However, once you have done the research and painted the finish on your walls and ceilings, the final fruit of your dedication will surely impress you.

That is why it is highly advised that you do not sleep on your research. Otherwise, if you get the wrong finish for your walls not suiting your preference, you might end up regretting it later on!

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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