Question: What paint finish do you recommend for walls?

Answer: That is a very good question.Below is a guide for what is most widely recommended for finishes and then my own suggestion for what’s best for walls.

The appropriate paint usage can dramatically change the look of a room with very little cost.  Paint will definitely influence the mood of your home, and will even cover up unwanted flaws.

But how do you know which finish to choose?  This guide will help you decide.

A flat finish has no shine.  It is great for walls with nicks and blemishes, as it tends to hide them and make the wall look smoother.  A flat finish also does not reflect light, so it isn’t the best choice if you want to brighten your room.    It is also difficult to clean, so it is best suited for low traffic areas.

Some paint companies offer a matte finish, which resembles a flat finish. It is for the most part,  slightly more durable and easier to clean.  It is still good for covering up minor bumps and other small imperfections.

If an area has a little more traffic, you can consider an eggshell finish, which has a slight hint of shine.

And if you are looking to brightening up a room, consider choosing a pearl or satin finish.  They are more glossy than eggshell and will reflect light back into your room instead of sucking it up.  Pearl finishes are highly washable and stand up to high traffic.  But imperfections in the wall will stand out, so it’s imperative that you make sure the walls are prepped well first.

Semi-gloss paint is used most often on trim, doors, and cabinets. It has a nice, subtle shine, and washes very easily.  Extra care must be taken with wall preparation, since imperfections are highlighted by a semi-gloss surface.

High gloss paints offer wash ability and durability with their reflective, shiny finish.  Glossy paints are not often used on interior walls, but they are a dramatic look for cabinets, trims, and even furniture.  A high gloss finish will exaggerate and magnify surface imperfections, so careful preparation is essential.

The paint I recommend for walls is Benjamin Moore’s Aura matte finish. Although, it is more expensive, it is the best quality that I have found. In most cases there is no need to prime (there are a few exceptions). It covers very well in one to two coats and there is almost no odor. Many of the paints out there that are low VOC’s (or no VOC’s) are not very good quality. You will not be disappointed with Aura. Plus, I have heard that many people who have allergies to paint odors are not bothered by Aura. It is also washable and will not fade, so very easy to touch up if needed and available in other finishes.

So, whether you are updating one room or redecorating your entire house, paint is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to achieve a striking new look.