Eggshell vs Satin Paint

Eggshell vs. Satin Paint – How and Why These Paint Finishes Differ

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When decorating any area, selecting a finish can be one of the most overwhelming decisions, particularly when you have such an extensive list of things you have to consider when selecting the finish. Two of the most popular finishes currently are eggshell and satin finish. These finishes are visually effective and versatile, which explains their popularity. These two finishes are often grouped. It is important to understand the difference between eggshell and satin finishes, particularly considering the impact they can have on the space’s aesthetic. We will therefore take a look at these two finishes and determine what each of their positive and negative attributes are.



What Do the Terms “Eggshell” and “Satin” Mean?

At first glance, eggshell and satin finishes seem similar. We will look at each finish and the impact they have on the space when they have been used. Before you select a finish for your next project, you will need to have an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses to ensure you do not choose the wrong finish.

Choosing Between Eggshell vs. Satin


Satin Finishes

Satin is thought of as the “flashier” option when it comes to the debate of eggshell vs. satin paint. You may wonder why, thank you to the smooth finish of satin, much like the fabric of the same name, the sheen finish reflects natural light, making the space feel bigger and lighter in comparison to when using more muted tones.

Satin Finish Resembles the Fabric

When satin finish is utilized in a low lighting setting it offers a smooth, flat finish that creates a feeling of class and serenity throughout the whole space. Unlike a high gloss finish, satin offers less of a shine and more of a glow, this means it is not overpowering when exposed to excessive natural or artificial light.

Artificial Light on Satin Paint Finish

When looking at satin vs. eggshell paint, one of the biggest positives of satin paint is its sheen finish, which generally translates to paint (or any kind of surface coating) being very durable. You may wonder why this is. In short, a smoother surface has less surface friction. This means that the chance of the finished having grime and dirt sticking to it is significantly reduced.

Satin Paint is Easily Washable

Where would you use sating paint? Thanks to it being extremely durable, and ensuring spaces feel bigger, while also working well with natural light, it is highly recommended by interior decorators, particularly for use in high traffic, moderately sized areas. It is therefore a great finish to use in bathrooms, kitchens, entrance hallways, and hallways.

Satin Paint is Ideal for Bathrooms

In terms of satin vs. eggshell paint, satin is easier to clean, thanks to its texture. It is a lot easier to clean sheen surfaces as they do not retain much grime and dirt. This is why it is best to use a satin finish in a high-traffic space.

Satin Paint is Hardwearing

One negative aspect of satin finishes is that the smooth finish draws attention to any imperfections on the surface. If you are working with a surface that isn’t perfectly smooth then it may be better to use an eggshell finish. Due to a satin finish being very flat they will highlight any imperfection on a surface, no matter how small. So before using a satin finish you will need to do a lot of smoothing and filling out first.


Eggshell Finishes

If we look at the materials satin and eggshell are named after we are best able to characterize their differences. Much like a satin finish has the same consistency and overall texture as the fabric, and offers the same consistency and texture as eggshells. This does not mean that the finish is the same color as eggshells, although you can use an eggshell finish the color of eggshells should you wish.

Texture of Eggshell Finish

There is a significant difference in how light is reflected off eggshell and satin finishes. Satin has a slightly reflective quality, while eggshell gives a dull glow that creates a cozier and warmer space by comparison.

Effect of Light on Eggshell Finish

It can seem quite daunting when choosing between an eggshell or satin for walls. Both finishes look great, but there are differences in durability, and it can be difficult to use them in the same space. Eggshell walls have significantly less luster in comparison to a satin finish, and eggshell paints have higher surface friction. Unfortunately, this means that the eggshell finish is typically less durable in comparison to satin finishes. If you are looking for ceiling paint, then we recommend using eggshell, as it offers protection from everyday wear and tear while offering a soft finish.

Use Eggshell Paint on Ceiling

You may be wondering where you should use an eggshell finish? Due to its ability to reflect natural light very softly, eggshell finishes work well in open spaces. However, as they are less durable than satin finishes, professionals do not recommend applying eggshell finishes in high-traffic areas. An eggshell finish is ideal for offices, living rooms, bedrooms, and potentially children’s rooms as it provides a homely, soothing feel.

Eggshell Paint in Bedroom

The lighting within an area will also significantly impact your decision when choosing between eggshell or satin for walls. You could potentially change the lighting in an area, if that isn’t possible (or you do not want to change the light) eggshell finishes work best around warm light, so stark fluorescent lighting will not work well with an eggshell finish.

Keep Touch-Up Eggshell Paint

Satin paint finishes are simple to clean, while eggshell finishes can prove troubling to clean and maintain. Eggshell paint is less hard-wearing due to its unique texture, in comparison to satin paint or a high-sheen paint finish. So, while the eggshell finish is stunning to look at, they are less versatile than satin paint finishes. You will always need to keep some touch-up paint at hand if you have chosen to use an eggshell finish.


What Are the Differences Between Satin and Eggshell Finishes?

Now that we have gone into detail about the respective characters of the satin and eggshell finish, we have put together a table so you can compare the two finishes with ease. This will assist you in saving time and assist you in selecting the best finish for your chosen area.

Satin FinishesEggshell Finishes
High LusterLow Luster
Can be cleaned with easeChallenging to clean and maintain
Smooth finishTextured finish
Shines when exposed to lightWarm reflective glow when exposed to light
Makes spaces feel biggerMakes spaces feel larger
Ideal for application in kitchens, hallways, bathrooms, and entrance hallwaysIdeal for application in living rooms, offices, and bedrooms
Good durabilityAverage durability

Comparing Paint Finishes



Which Is the Best Finish: Satin or Eggshell?

As discussed previously there are both positive and negative aspects to each of the two finishes. Which one is the better option though? You could argue that a sating finish is more versatile and is better suited for more areas than eggshell paints, making it significantly better. But this is the objective opinion, and finishes are not always about objectivity.

Where to Use Eggshell or Satin Paint

While the satin paint finish is a stunning choice, it does not offer the feel or texture that you can achieve using an eggshell finish. You will create a warm glow using an eggshell finish, that ties a space together, in a way that you are not able to achieve with a satin finish. In smaller spaces, using a satin finish can cause the space to feel impersonal, which is the opposite of what you are looking to achieve.

Effect of Types of Paint Finish

On the other hand, the contours of your wall’s surface will be emphasized by a satin finish. The satin finish offers a uniform and smooth finish, making it ideal for use in hallways. You can use eggshell in these spaces, but it can prove to be counterproductive, as an eggshell finish used in bigger areas can prove to be off-putting. Due to the texture, the eggshell finish can conceal imperfections such as small grooves and dents quite well. While satin finish tends to highlight these imperfections.

Satin Finish Shows Imperfections

Which option is the better finish? Objectively, it would not make sense to not select a satin finish to apply to your walls, but it would be silly to completely disregard the warmth and unique texture you can achieve with an eggshell finish. Which one is best depends on where you will be applying your finish, the lighting of the space in question, and the size of the area you will be painting?



Now that you have an understanding of what eggshell paint finishes and satin finishes are, what the main differences between the two finishes are, when they are best used, and finally, what makes them the best for their respective applications, you can get started with selecting the appropriate finish for your requirements. Always take the space you will be working in into consideration, as well as whether the paint will be exposed to high volumes of abrasion and foot traffic.



Frequently Asked Questions


Which Paint Finish Covers Imperfections Best?

While the consistency of the paint and the brand does impact this, eggshell finishes are better at hiding imperfections than satin finishes, mainly due to the texture of the paint. Satin finishes tends to hug the surface and in doing so exposes the surface’s imperfections, while eggshell finishes offer a unique texture that hides dents and scratches.


What Is Eggshell Paint Used For?

Intimate spaces like bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are perfect for eggshell finished due to the unique impact their texture has on a space. It can be difficult to maintain an eggshell finish, hence it is only used in areas with moderate foot traffic to decrease the probability of abrasion and impact damage.


Is Eggshell the Same as Satin?

Is eggshell the same as satin? While these two finishes are thought to be similar, their application and overall texture differ considerably. Satin finishes have a glossy, and smooth texture, while eggshell finishes have a definitive texture and when exposed to light, offers a warm glow.

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