Painting Beyond Color


You’ve spent a couple hours, days, weeks or even months selecting the just-right paint color for your interior. Then painter comes to look at the job and you feel so proud to be able to promptly give the name of the perfect hue you selected. The painter’s next question is, “What’s the finish you want?” And like most everyone, now you are stumped again.

Well, I’m here to rescue you! I just attended a seminar at the Benjamin Moore Paint Co. showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and we were given a cheat-sheet of answers to this question.

This blog is not trendy and sexy but the information is timeless. I suggest that you print a copy and save it to go-to the next time you paint. Your painter will love you for it and you’ll feel so smart!

This list is categorized by interior room surface: and finish.

  • Ceiling: flat
  • Decorative Wall: matte or eggshell
  • Wall with Imperfections: matte or eggshell
  • Dining Room walls: matte or eggshell
  • Living Room walls: matte or eggshell
  • Master Bedroom walls: matte or eggshell
  • Office Walls: matte or eggshell
  • Children’s Room walls: eggshell or pearl
  • Bathroom walls: pearl
  • Kitchen walls: pearl
  • Family Room walls: eggshell or pearl
  • Stairway walls: eggshell or pearl
  • Entry Hall: eggshell or pearl
  • Door Frames/Doors: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss
  • Moldings: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss
  • Wood Handrails: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss
  • Wood Baseboard: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss
  • Furniture: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss
  • Cabinet doors: satin or semi-gloss or high-gloss

How the finishes compare?

  • Flat paint: diffuses light more, touch-up is easier, maintenance is more difficult, imperfections are less obvious, and less resistant.
  • Glossy paint: reflects light more, touch-up is more difficult, maintenance is easier, imperfections are more obvious, and more durable.

Any questions on interior decorating and design? Comment below!


About Karen Carpino

Karen Carpino is an interior designer and founder of Chicago-based Karen Carpino Design. A professionally registered interior designer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Carpino's clientele includes both residential and commercial projects. She brings you techniques, trends and tips in “Style At Home.”