Eggshell Vs Satin

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Planning on painting a room, exterior, or piece of furniture? The first thing everyone thinks about is the color. However, you’ll also need to consider the sheen of the finish. What is sheen? Sheen measures the reflected light (glossiness) from a paint finish. Different sheen levels can give dimension to a space and change how colors seem.

Sheen ranges from glossy (lots of light reflected) to matte (little light reflected). While flat paints diffuse light in various directions, glossy paints are lustrous and reflect most light in the specular (mirror-like) direction. On the order of highest to lowest reflectivity, high-gloss to low-gloss, paint sheen flows like this.

  • High-Gloss
  • Gloss
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Satin
  • Eggshell
  • Low Sheen
  • Velvet
  • Flat

While there are many different sheens, this article discusses the differences between satin and eggshell. Since they both fall in the middle of the pack, they’re neither too flat nor too glossy. Still, they have different qualities, suiting them to certain surfaces over others. This article will show you how to discern between eggshell vs satin and when to use each.

Let’s get started.

What is eggshell paint?

Eggshell paint falls in the middle of the spectrum. It is slightly less reflective than satin paint. However, satin, eggshell, and low sheen are similar in durability and sheen. Their advantage over lower-sheen paints is their greater warmth, depth, and stain resistance.

It has a low sheen suggestive of flat or matte, but the eggshell finish is far more durable than its namesake. It is consistently popular with professional and amateur painters alike.

Widely available in a variety of interior paints, eggshell (and its similar—but not identical—sheen sibling, low luster) offers an easy-to-clean, practically shine-free finish that is suitable for most rooms in a home, including family rooms and corridors. Although it has a softer glow than flat or matte finishes, it reflects more light.

However, it is not as glossy as satin paint. An eggshell paint finish has a slightly greater shine than a matte or flat paint finish. An eggshell finish’s low reflectivity makes it ideal for concealing brushstrokes, minor drywall dings, and imperfections on painted walls. Eggshell paints are significantly simpler to clean than flat paint, which has no reflection.

Additionally, compared to flat paint, they could bring out the pigments in the paint color more. Consider repainting matte finish paint with eggshell paint if you discover brushstrokes and other application flaws on your painted walls.

What is satin paint?

Satin has a slightly higher gloss, durability, and stain resistance than lesser sheens like eggshell, low sheen, velvet, and flat.

Satin paint works best in areas that need more definition. Highlight windows, shutters, trim, and even inside doors with their particular brilliance. Consider satin or soft gloss for front doors for a rich, lustrous appearance where architectural details like beveling and paneling are typical.

In high-traffic areas, including living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, kid’s rooms, and entryways, satin finishes are ideal for painting molding and walls because they are scuff-resistant. Its medium-luster finish is ideal for painting kitchen cabinets and woodwork.

Eggshell vs Satin: What is the difference between eggshell and satin paint?

With so many views regarding the best type of paint finishes, finding the ideal sheen for your project might be difficult, but you don’t need to be a professional painter to finish your paint job.

Advantages of eggshell paint

  • Eggshell paint conceals surface blemishes better because it reflects less light making blemishes harder to see.
  • Eggshell paint is more affordable than satin paint. Typically, for each step you go up in sheen, the price increases by $1-2 per gallon.
  • Again, the low sheen in eggshell paint better minimizes application mistakes like uneven brushstrokes.

Advantages of satin paint

  • Satin paint is better for showcasing the definition of decorative surfaces like cabinets and moldings due to its higher-gloss finish.
  • Satin paint is more durable than eggshell paint. The higher your reflectivity, the more durable the paint is. However, high-sheen paints, like glossy paint, maybe too reflective, so satin is a good choice for durability without too much sheen.
  • Because satin paint is more reflective, it adds more depth to smaller rooms, making them look larger.
  • The slicker surface of satin paint makes it easier to clean off dust, dirt, mold, and mildew.

When to use eggshell vs satin paint

Now that we know what each painting is and its advantages, let’s discuss the specific painting surfaces and rooms that do better with each surface.

When to use eggshell paint

  • Low-traffic areas like ceilings, bedrooms, and closets.
  • Areas like dining rooms which require durability and dirt resistance.

When to use satin paint

  • Woodwork, such as painting skirting boards
  • High-traffic areas like hallways, living rooms, bathrooms, and kids’ rooms.
  • Kitchen cabinets that need depth and durability
  • Smaller rooms that you want to make look bigger.


The difference between satin and eggshell paints is that Satin paint is glossier than eggshell paint, which has a little greater sheen than matte or flat finish paint. An eggshell finish’s low reflectivity makes it ideal for concealing brushstrokes, minor drywall dings, and imperfections on painted walls.