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Matt Or Silk Paint for Living Rooms?

Making decisions regarding paint colours when redecorating your living room can be an overwhelming process. Choosing the colour palette for any room can be a challenge, especially when there are so many options available. The main choice that people have in mind when planning is colour, though there are actually other important factors to consider.

The finish of paint colour is often overlooked, though it has the power to make or break the look you want to achieve. The finish of the paint refers to how it will look once dry and when using emulsion, you have a couple of options available. You can go for a matt or silk finish, and your choice will impact the overall feel of the room you have painted.

So, if you’re painting your living room, what is the best paint finish to choose – matt, or silk? We’ve provided a guide to paint finish for your living room, so you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of the paint colour you choose!

Matt Or Silk Paint for Living Rooms?

The answer to this question will vary according to personal tastes and other factors such as which colour paint you have in mind and the amount of light that your living room lets in. Matt paint can be a great option if you want to paint your living room yourself because it’s easier to get a flawless finish than it is with silk paint.

However, if your living room doesn’t get much light, you might want to opt for a silk finish which will reflect slightly more light than matt paint. That way, you’ll be able to make the most of the little amount of light you have.

Matt paint is the best option to hide minor imperfections on the surface of your living room walls, as well as small holes. Silk is better if you think you’re going to need to clean your walls often. However, if you’re an inexperienced interior painter, you probably shouldn’t attempt to paint a wall with silk finish paint yourself, as it’s hard to achieve a flawless, professional finish.

Understanding paint finishes

Overall, there are different types of wall and ceiling paint finishes, that render different looks and styles:

  • Matt Emulsion, which is smooth and light-absorbing. It creates a non-reflective finish that won’t reflect much light on surrounding surfaces.
  • Flat Matt Emulsion, which has less sheen than matt emulsions, and will absorb even more light. It’s a great finish for deep colours, though flat matt emulsion paints aren’t washable, which could be difficult especially if you are a parent of young children, who will inevitably make a mess on the walls at some point. 
  • Satin Finish, which is generally used for bathrooms because it’s very easy to wipe clean. It has good reflective qualities that will make a room seem lighter. 
  • Silk Finish, which is also very shiny and reflective and is best to avoid if you’re painting your walls white.
  • Eggshell, which gives off a glossy finish but isn’t exactly as bright as satin or silk. 
  • Gloss, which is the shiniest and reflective finish of them all. It is best suited to high-quality surfaces, as it will make any imperfections show up. 

However, mid-and high-sheen wall paints are not meant for your home. Paint finishes that reflect a huge amount of light are better suited for public places that receive a lot of foot traffic, such as schools, hospitals, and industrial-sized kitchens. Therefore, the only two paints that are truly suited for residential uses are matte and silk. 

What is the difference between matt and silk paint? 

The difference between matt and silk paint is really quite simple. Matt paint is duller, which means that it doesn’t shine much. It dries into a smooth, forgiving finish that will allow you to hide any imperfections on the surface you’re painting. However, it does sometimes come with a slightly porous surface that some people don’t like. 

Silk paint, on the other hand, dries into a glowy surface that seems to attract light in a subtle, gentle way. Its great advantage is that it comes with really easy maintenance, being washable, unlike matt finishes. However, its shiny surface does tend to highlight imperfections, where a matt finish paint would hide those blemishes on your walls. 

When should you use matt paint? 

Matt paint is definitely one of the most popular choices for interior paint finishes. Recent research has actually shown that 6 out of 10 painters would prefer working with matt paint in interiors. The main advantage of matt paint is that when dry, it can easily blend in with any style or colour palette. It is the easiest kind of paint to touch up, and it can even bring a deeper, more striking aspect to the chosen colour than silk finishes can. 

Matt finish paint is great if your walls have minor imperfections you want to hide or touch up, as it is one of the most forgiving types of paint finishes. Matt paint is typically used in any room that receives visitors, and you can also paint your ceiling with the same type of paint you would use on your walls. However, always bear in mind that you won’t get a velvety finish with matt paint, rather something that could end up looking somewhat coarse and porous.

When should you use silk paint?

Silk is known for being a very elegant paint finish choice. It immediately gives off a sleek feel when you enter a room that has silk finish walls. Silk finish paint is much less porous than matt painted, which makes it look far more sophisticated and intricate. As a result, it is harder to apply though. It is advised to use this type of paint in places hidden from visitors, because of how hard it is to achieve a flawless look when applying silk finish paint. 

Silk painting can make colours pop, especially bright ones. It doesn’t get dirty much because of its shiny, smooth surface, which makes it a great option for children’s rooms. If ever it does get dirty, you can easily clean silk finish walls with a clean rag dipped in warm water and a little bit of elbow grease!

However, you might have a hard time if you ever need to touch up the paint, because any brush marks on silk painted surfaces will show up. And this means you might end up having to paint the whole thing again…