Interior wall paints come in a range of finishes, but if colours represent an important criterion when choosing the paint product, the finish is often overlooked. But the truth is that the finish can make or break the end result.
The finish refers both to how shiny a paint dries on the wall and to its texture. Some paints are smooth, others are rough. Some paints are matt, others are shiny.
The most popular interior paint finishes are smooth matt and smooth silk. They provide different effects in different rooms, and you should use both in your home. Therefore, both matt and silk are great products and you should just choose the most adequate for the room you’re decorating.
Understanding Matt And Silk Paint Products
Wall and ceiling paints come in four sheen finishes that vary from matt or dull to high-sheen or shiny. Only a few people know that mid- and high-sheen wall paints are not intended for domestic use. These products are usually formulated to use in high-traffic areas in public spaces such as schools, offices, or industrial kitchens. Mid-sheen or high-sheen paints are too shiny to add value to a residential space.
The two interior wall paints intended for residential use are the flat paints, which are matt or ultra-matt, and the low-sheen paints, a range of products comprising eggshell, silk and satin finishes.
Eggshell and satin are two finishes often found in speciality paints, such as bathroom or kitchen products. And this creates the confusion between matt and silk. After all, you’re left with just a few rooms and no idea on which finish to choose. Before finding out when you should use matt and when to use silk, let’s run through the differences between them.
Matt paint is defined by experts as dull. It doesn’t shine at all and dries to a smooth, velvety finish that hides surface imperfections. The downside is that the velvety surface is porous and gets stained easily. You can opt for washable matt paint, but it will still need more maintenance than silk.
Silk paint dries to a smooth low-sheen finish that provides a graceful glow. This paint is elegant and easy to maintain, but its slightly shiny surface may highlight some surface imperfections.
When To Use Matt Paint?
Matt paint is one of the most popular interior paints. It dries to a contemporary yet elegant look that blends in all interior styles. This paint is the easiest to touch up and add a new richness to the colour. Hiding minor surface imperfections, the paint looks at its best in the foyer and living room, in a formal dining room, in the master bedroom or in the guest’s bedroom.
As a rule of thumb, use matt paint in all the areas of your home where you could receive guests.
Walls aside, matt paint is the only one that should be used on ceilings unless you want to stare at blotches, glares and brush strokes.
Washable matt is ideal to use in any areas that may get dirty; however, this paint doesn’t dry to a velvety finish.
When To Use Silk Paint?
Silk paint is sophisticated and elegant. It is less porous than matt paint and it doesn’t get soiled as fast. The mysterious glow makes the paint appropriate to use in the kid’s bedroom and in the hallway, but the family room can also benefit from a slight glow.
Because it is harder to achieve a flawless look with silk paint, we recommend using this product in those areas that are usually hidden from the guests’ eyes but that get soiled easier.
On a downside, the silk finish is harder to touch up because new brush marks will show on the surface.
Matt Vs. Silk Paint: Which Is Best?
Getting back to our original question, there isn’t a universal answer. Both paints are excellent and ultimately, it all depends on your purpose.
Matt paint is the best if you want to achieve a professional, flawless look with a DIY approach. You don’t have to be an expert to paint with a matt product. Thanks to the absolute lack of shine, the paint hides minor surface imperfections including fine cracks and small holes.
Matt paint is usually self-levelling, which means you won’t even have to worry about brush strokes. Neutral colours are adequate to use in all interior styles while dramatic shades are ideal to use on a feature wall or to create a focal point around the fireplace.
The latest trends focus on the use of darker colour such as slate grey and chalk black. Both hues look amazing in a spacious open-plan living area.
Silk paint, on the other hand, is best if you want the environment to be practical yet stylish. The soft glow adds elegance and the smooth surface is very easy to clean. Almost all silk paints are washable and you can wipe them clean with a soft sponge.
Silk paint is also ideal to use on a feature wall if you want to add finishing touches with glitter glaze or additives.
However, don’t expect to achieve a flawless result unless you’re an expert. Silk paint highlights imperfections and you will either have to see them regularly or learn how to prepare the surface properly. And while silk paint looks amazing on walls, it is a less inspired choice for the ceiling.
When it comes to costs, both matt and silk emulsions have similar prices, so this won’t help you decide which paint is the best.
Our advice? Just choose the finish you like. Both paints come with advantages and drawbacks so it’s impossible to state which one is the best.