Eggshell Paint: Is This the Right Sheen for You?

Eggshell paint has a low sheen. As a result, it provides accurate color and is still washable, making it one of the most popular paint finishes. When choosing interior paint, you have two big decisions. First, and probably most importantly – the color.

Eggshell Paint

Once you nail that down, you need to choose a sheen.

Sheen is a paint’s ability to reflect light and can alter the way a color looks in your home, affect its washability, and influence the overall feel of a room.

If you’re thinking of going with eggshell paint, here’s what you should know.

What is Eggshell Paint?

What is Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell paint is a sheen that resembles the surface of an eggshell. It’s one step up from a flat finish and one step down from satin. It provides the slightest amount of shine but still looks pretty matte.

Because eggshell paint has a little bit of gloss, it’s easier to keep clean than flat paint. But, because it’s still reasonably matte, it hides imperfections in the wall.

The Benefits of Eggshell Paint

An eggshell finish is one of the most popular, and there’s a good reason. It closely resembles flat paint but better withstands scrubbing.

Here’s a look at the biggest benefits of eggshell sheen:

  • Accurate color – Since eggshell is a low sheen, it absorbs light rather than reflects it. Because of this, the color you see on the paint chip is close to how it will look on the wall. This makes eggshell an excellent finish if you’re going with a dark color that you need to be accurate.
  • Wipeable – With a little bit of gloss, eggshell paint is wipeable with a damp cloth. 
  • Hides wall imperfections – The low sheen in eggshell paint will camouflage imperfections in the wall.
  • Easy application – High gloss paints tend to show lap marks of rollers or paintbrushes. Lower sheen finishes like eggshell won’t do this. Eggshell sheen goes on the wall effortlessly.
  • Suitable for most rooms – Eggshell and satin are the two most versatile paint finishes. Eggshell is ideal for almost every room in the house. The only places you may want to avoid using eggshell is in the kitchen or bathrooms, depending on how dirty they get.

The Cons of Eggshell Paint

The Benefits of Eggshell Paint

As great as eggshell sheen is, there are two reasons you might not want to use it. 

First, if you wash your bathrooms or kitchen walls a lot, a sheen like satin or semi-gloss is better suited. You can still use eggshell finish in the rest of your home, though.

The second and probably biggest con to eggshell paint is that it’s tough to touch up. Because of the sheen, you can see brush and roller marks in the areas you try to fix. So, if you are constantly repainting scuff marks or patching nail holes, this isn’t the best paint finish for you.

In what Rooms Should You Use Eggshell Paint?

Since eggshell has a little bit of gloss, it’s appropriate for all living spaces. But you might want to use something a bit shiner like satin or semi-gloss paint in the bathroom or kitchen if you’re constantly wiping down the walls.

Use eggshell paint finish in:

  • Bedrooms
  • Offices
  • Living rooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Hallways

Maybe use eggshell paint finish in:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms


Eggshell Paint vs. Flat Paint

The Cons of Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint and flat paint have similar paint finishes. However, flat paint has no sheen with a matte finish. On the other hand, eggshell paint has a slight sheen that resembles an eggshell’s surface.

Eggshell paint is easy to clean, while flat paint is easier to touch up.

They are equally durable, and both provide accurate color. But since flat paint is harder to keep clean it’s best for low-traffic areas like family rooms, hallways, and bedrooms.

If you’re worried about future touch-ups, go with matte paint. If you’re concerned about cleanability, go with eggshell paint.

Eggshell Paint vs. Satin Paint

Eggshell Paint vs  Satin Paint

Satin wall paint has more high gloss than eggshell and a slightly higher sheen. As the name suggests, the sheen resembles satin – it’s soft and glossy without being overly shiny.

Satin paint provides better cleanability than an eggshell finish. As a result, it’s the best choice for high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms.

But since satin paint is shinier, it won’t conceal wall damage – instead, it will highlight it.


What Colors Does Eggshell Paint Come In?

Eggshell Paint vs. Satin Paint

If you’re wondering what colors eggshell paint comes in, the answer is all of them. Eggshell is a finish or sheen, not a paint color.

You can get an eggshell finish at any major home improvement store in any paint color. You can choose an interior paint color or exterior paint color.

The Best Eggshell Paint Brands

If you’re looking for the best paint companies for subtle sheen eggshell paints, here’s what to get and where to get it:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Is eggshell paint washable?

Eggshell paint is washable. While it doesn’t come clean as nicely as satin or semi-gloss finish, it stands up to scrubbing better than flat finishes. It’s a good choice for rooms with medium traffic but not ideal if you constantly clean your walls.

Does exterior paint come in eggshell paint finishes?

Yes, you can get exterior paint in an eggshell paint finish. In fact, it’s one of the most popular since it has a slight sheen without being high gloss.

Can you paint eggshell over semi-gloss?

If you’re painting eggshell over semi-gloss, prime the walls first or use a paint with a built-in primer. Since semi-gloss is pretty shiny, an eggshell finish might not adhere properly or eventually peel off if you don’t make the necessary preparations.

Can you paint eggshell over satin?

If you’re painting eggshell over satin, use a paint and primer in one or prime the walls before adding paint. Honestly, it’s unlikely that painting eggshell over satin will produce adverse results, but prime first to be sure your paint job lasts.

Can you put matte paint over eggshell paint?

You will need to prime before putting flat paint over an eggshell paint finish. Since flat paint is such a low sheen, it won’t adhere properly to the eggshell or will peel over time.

Final Thoughts

Eggshell paint is an excellent finish for most rooms in your home. It has a low sheen that provides accurate color, a soft glow, outstanding durability, and is washable. It’s a perfect choice if you can’t decide between a duller flat finish and a slightly shiny satin finish.

One of the only issues with eggshell paint is that it’s hard to touch up. Because of the sheen, you can typically see the brush or roller marks on touch-ups, making the area stand out. If that’s a concern, flat or matte finishes are probably your best bet.