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Which Paint Finish Should You Choose?

Updated: Jun 8, 2021



There are many types of sheens and glosses that range from no shine to high shine: flat, ulti-matte, eggshell, pearl, satin, semi-gloss and high gloss. The sheen you choose can affect how your colors appear and it can also add dimension to your room.


Flat paint has no sheen since it does not reflect any light and is therefore more forgiving; it hides imperfections very well. We use flat paint on our ceilings; more specifically, we use Waterbone Ceiling Paint by Benjamin Moore.




Image: Ceiling- Waterbone Ceiling Paint by Benjamin Moore in Chantilly Lace



Ulti-Matte is almost as shine-free as flat paint but it is slightly more durable. Regal® Select Interior Ulti-Matte (K552) is what we use in most of our living spaces (except for our washrooms with showers) since it provides excellent hide and is easy to apply. Also, it withstands frequent washing, so it works well inbusier areas like hallways and family rooms.



Image: Walls: Regal® Select Interior Ulti-Matte (K552) in Chantilly Lace

Dog: Wilson the mini-goldendoodle. :)


We use an ulti-matte finish in our bathrooms as well, but instead of using Regal, we use Aura® Bath & Spa (532), which, according to Benjamin Moore “was designed to achieve exceptional durability, color retention and mildew resistance in high-humidity environments.”



Image: Aura® Bath & Spa (532) Ulti-Matte in Chantilly Lace.

For painted bathroom tiles, see this blog post.


Personally, I much prefer the look of the Regal paint; the Aura Bath & Spa is much harder to work with and the finished product isn’t as nice (it shows more imperfections). But in the end, the Aura Bath and Spa paint is more easily-washable and more durable. When our dog Wilson shakes after his bath, I’m happy I painted with Aura Bath paint since I can quickly wipe the water/dirt off the walls and it doesn’t leave any marks.


Eggshell finish has a low-sheen like flat or ulti-matte, but it is more durable than its namesake. That is why it is a great option for baseboards. It is easy-to-clean, almost shine-free, but it reflects more light than flat or ulti-matte finishes. Since we want a more durable paint for baseboards, we use Aura® Interior Eggshell (K524), Benjamin Moore’s most premium paint.


Image: Trim and baseboards: Aura® Interior Eggshell (K524) in Chantilly Lace

Image: Trim and baseboards: Aura® Interior Eggshell (K524) in Chantilly Lace



A pearl finish is a medium gloss that maintains high durability. We used this paint on our kitchen cabinets, island, doors, and stair spindles since it is easy to clean and more durable than the Regal paint. You have to be careful when using this paint since it is more susceptible to showing lap marks and other painting flaws. And don’t worry about it being too shiny, it really isn’t. When painting cabinets, we use the ADVANCE Interior Paint- Pearl(K792). We sprayed it on.




Image: Kitchen Cabinets: ADVANCE Interior Paint- Pearl(K792) in Chantilly Lace


We’ve never used semi-gloss or high-gloss paint in our home. Semi-gloss can be used to highlight architectural details and is often used for kitchen cabinets. High-gloss offers a mirror-like finish and is the most durable sheen. However, it is much harder to paint with and can accentuate blemishes and imperfections.


Lets not forget about primer!


When painting our cabinets or furniture, we use the STIX Waterbone Bonding primer.


When priming our walls, we use the Benjamin Moore Fresh Start® Premium Interior Primers or the Sico Expert Primer-Sealer. It doesn’t really matter what kind of primer you use for your walls. You can also ask to get it tinted the color of your walls to make the painting process easier, but it is not necessary.


We buy our paint from The Decorator’s Choice in Ottawa off of Innes near Homesense. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. If you have a special project in mind like painting your garage door or furniture, they will recommend the best paint, rollers, brushes, etc. I especially enjoy working with Martin and Karine.


To summarize:


Ceilings (flat paint): Waterbone Ceiling Paint by Benjamin Moore.

Most walls (ulti-matte): Regal® Select Interior Ulti-Matte (K552)

High-humidity washrooms (ulti-matte): Aura® Bath & Spa (532)

Baseboards (eggshell): Aura® Interior Eggshell (K524)

Kitchen cabinets, doors, spindles (pearl): ADVANCE Interior Paint- Pearl(K792)

Primer for kitchen cabinets: STIX Waterbone Bonding primer

Primer for walls: Benjamin Moore Fresh Start® Premium Interior Primers or the Sico Expert Primer-Sealer


For more information, visit the Benjamin Moore website.


Happy renovating!

The Roses


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