Is Satin Paint Shiny Or Matte? – Our Breakdown!

As the popularity of satin paint continues to increase at an almost exponential rate we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask a range of different questions about this very popular paint finish. Due to satin paint being more of a middle ground between a matte paint finish and a gloss paint finish, we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask if satin paint is shiny.

With so many people reaching out to ask about how much paint satin paint reflects as well as the steady increase in the general popularity of using satin paint for home decoration, we have decided to publish this article. We hope that we are going to be able to offer a better idea of how satin paint will be able to perform for our readers as well as if it is more of a matte finish or a glossy finish.

That said though, satin paint does reflect between 26-40% of all of the light that hits it putting it closer to matte on the reflection spectrum. The brighter satin paints do reflect a spring amount of light though with them looking nothing like a matte paint so we can understand why we see so many people reaching out each month.

Is Satin Paint Shiny Or Matte?

Satin paint reflects between 26-40% of the light that hits it putting in in the middle of matte and gloss paints. With in the satin paint bracket of reflected light you also have dull satin paint and bright satin paint with each being towards each extreme of the bracket.

Although matte paint reflects between 4-9% of the light that hits it, the dull look of a matte paint is nothing like the look of a dry satin paint. This is due to the matte paint reflecting so little light that it is difficult to see any light being reflected at all where as the reflected light is obvious with satin paint.

That said though, satin paint is also noticeably lighter than a gloss paint that has the potential to reflect as much as 90% of the light that hits it. This is why satin paint is becoming more and more popular with each month that passes as it is not as dull and depressing as matte paint yet not as bright and overwhelming as gloss paint allowing you to create a nice relaxing vibe in your home.

What Is Dull And Bright Satin Paint?

Within the satin paint range there is also dull and bright satin paint. Dull satin paint usually reflects between 26-33% of the light and bright satin paint usually reflects 34-40% of the light that hits it light. This system offers a more descriptive way to describe the full 26-40% reflective range of satin paint.

Although some brands will not mark if their satin paint is dull or bright, more and more are starting to making it much easier to get a better idea of what you can expect from your paint once dry. Although many people often think that a dull satin paint will be closer to a matte paint finish, it usually is shiner and obvious to see the difference.

A bright satin paint is nowhere near as bright as a full gloss paint though but it can be comparable to some semi gloss finishes when dry. This will depend on if the semi gloss paint that you are comparing it to is a dull semi gloss or a bright semi gloss though.

Is Satin Shinier Than Gloss?

Satin paint is not shinier than gloss paint once dry but if you are using an oil based satin paint formula then it can look shiner than gloss until it is dry. This is due to the oil in the paint formula reflecting considerably more light until it has oxidised and dulled out to the normal finish of the paint.

The majority of the satin paint on the market for home decoration is water based though and oil based satin paints are rare. That said though, this is still a relatively common mistake that we see people making when using oil based paints.

You have to keep in mind that an oil based paint will usually take longer to dry than a water based paint too. This helps to lead to the confusion on how shiny the satin paint will actually be due to it looking similar to a gloss paint finish for longer until the oil has oxidised.

Is Satin Clear Coat Shiny?

Satin clear coat paints are usually very shiny once first applied but they will dull as they dry coming down to a level that you would expect from a satin paint when reflecting light. The majority of satin clear coat paints are a bright satin so are often at the upper end of the amount of light that the paint is able to reflect though.

Depending on what you are doing, a regular satin paint is probably going to be the better option over a clear coat satin paint though. On top of that, there are some sealing agents on the market that are better than a clear coat satin paint too in our opinion so these have to be factored in as well.

Although there are some niche cases for a clear coat satin paint, most of our readers will often be much better off by going with a different product. This is definitely the case if you are looking for a dull satin paint finish too as at the time of writing, almost all satin clear coats are a bright satin finish.

Can You Make Your Satin Paint Shiny?

It will almost always be better to go with a dull semi gloss paint rather than trying to make your satin paint shiny. Some people do mix a semi gloss into their satin paint or use a gloss sealing agent on top of their satin paint to make it look shiny though.

With satin paint dominating the market when it comes to the range of pale and pastel colors right now, it can be hard to find some of the easy to find satin paint colors in a gloss or semi gloss though. This is the only situation that we can think of where you would want to go with a satin paint for its color and then brighten it up.

In this specific situation, using a gloss sealing agent on top of the satin paint once applied to the surface and dry is the best option in our opinion. It avoids you risking changing the color by adding more paint of a different color to your satin paint to make it shiny.


That brings our article going over if satin paint is shiny to an end. We often see people reaching out to ask for advice on this so we wanted to get an article online to try and help our readers. We have broken down the various additional questions about satin paint being shiny that we see on a regular basis in the article too so should be able to help our readers.

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