The Ultimate Satin Vs Eggshell Comparison!

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As more and more people start to look to using a satin or eggshell paint finish for their home due to the low light reflectancy to create a more relaxing atmosphere, we have noticed more and more people reaching out about a dedicated satin vs eggshell comparison. This is due to both satin paint and eggshell paint finishes usually being the best options for a relaxing feel in a home while also being available in a wide range suitable colors.

With so many people reaching out for a comparison between satin and eggshell paint finishes, we have decided to publish this article in an attempt to help our readers. Our goal is to try and help as many of our readers as possible choose the perfect paint for their needs and get the best possible end result without having to pay over the odds.

Please keep in mind that both satin paint finishes and eggshell paint finishes do come in a range of light reflectancy levels so you can get different results from using the same types of paints. We will cover this in full in our section on the actual finishes of the paints later in the article though so you are able to get a better idea of what to expect.

Whats The Difference Between Satin And Eggshell Paint?

The main difference between a stain paint finish and an eggshell paint finish is their light reflectancy with satin paint usually being between 26%-40% and eggshell paint being between 10%-15%. This is drastically less than gloss and semi gloss paints helping to reduce the overall light in a room and crate a relaxing atmosphere.

Although satin paint does cover a wider range of colors than eggshell paint, the more popular satin paint colors at the time of writing are the lighter colors or pastel colors. This is due to most people currently using satin paint to reduce the amount of available light reflecting around their room to help them relax after a busy day.

Eggshell paint finishes have seen a spike in popularity recently due to reflecting even less light than a sating paint finish being a nice middle ground between a sating paint and a matte paint. The color range of modern eggshell paint tends to miss out the bright colors and focus on light and pastel options due to most people using eggshell to help create a relaxing atmosphere.

Is Satin Or Eggshell Paint Better?

The term better is subjective depending on your needs but at the time of writing, satin paint is more popular than eggshell paint. That said though, around three years back, the opposite was true with eggshell paint being more popular than satin paint as the popularity of paint finishes change with the current trends.

At the time of writing, the various satin paint options are the most popular due to being brighter than eggshell paints helping to maintain a somewhat bright room. This coupled with the popularity of the lighter and pastel colors helps to create a more relaxing environment for many people.

On the flip side of this though, one of the main use cases that we see time and time again for eggshell paint is for people who use computers on a regular basis for their work. The less light being reflected helps to reduce the fatigue build up in your eyes while helping to keep the environment as relaxing as possible.

Satin Vs Eggshell Finish!

Most beginners to home decoration tend not to realise that there is a whole range of reflectancy levels when it comes to the various paints and the finishes that they provide for you. We have a breakdown of all six levels below to try and help our readers better understand what a satin or eggshell paint offers them.

  • Full Gloss: 70–90%
  • Semi-Gloss: 41–69%
  • Satin: 26–40%
  • Sheen: 15–25%
  • Eggshell: 10–15%
  • Matte: <10%

As you can see, both paint finishes do have options within their available ranges to have a nice relaxing vibe to a room with satin offering more versatility within its range depending on exactly what you want. This is one of the main reasons that satin paint has surged in popularity over the last few years as it allows you to get more done with it.

One the flip side though, eggshell paint still remains a very popular option with a large number of people, especially those who work with computers each day and have high eye fatigue. Although many people often think that a room with an eggshell paint finish will be dark and dingy due to it only reflecting 10%-15% of light, you have to remember than this is just the reflected light and the available light from your main light source in the room will remain constant.

The Advantages Of Satin Paint!

The main advantage of satin paint is that it offers a wider range of light reflectancy allowing you to get more versatility out of the paint depending on your exact needs. With a range of 26%-40% of light being reflected, you really can use a satin paint finish in a huge range of use cases to get what you need out of it.

This will depend on the specific formula of the satin paint that you choose to use though. There are “dull” satin paints that usually reflect between 26%-32% of light and “bright” satin paints that reflect between 33%-40% of satin paints. This is usually clearly marked on the tub of paint so you are able to get a better idea of the finish of the paint once dry and what to expect from it.

Another advantage of satin paint over eggshell paint is that it is slightly more robust and durable. Depending on your needs, this alone may be able to score it enough points to be the obvious option for you as it is easier to wash when needed then eggshell paint finishes.

The Advantages Of Eggshell Paint!

The main advantage of eggshell paint is that it reflects a much lower amount of light than all other paints excluding matte paint. This can help to relieve eye fatigue from working on a computer for large amounts of time each day as well as help you relax after a busy day.

One of the main use cases that helped the eggshell paint finish take off is that the less light reflected form it usually helps people to relax. Although satin paint can also offer this, eggshell paint reflects even less light and can help even more.

Another excellent advantage of eggshell over the majority of other paint types is that it reflects so little light that it can easily help to hide imperfections in the painted surface. For example, if you have to paint a wall in your home that is cracked then a gloss, semi gloss, or even satin paint can show the crack were as the less light reflected from eggshell does a better job at hiding it.

The Disadvantages Of Satin Paint

Depending on your actual needs, the main disadvantage of satin paint may also be what we classed as its main advantage. At the higher ranges of a satin paint finishes light reflectance, it really can make some imperfections in the surface you are painting obvious and catch the eye.

Although you are able to fill these imperfections to hide them prior to applying your satin paint to the surface, most people overlook this quick and easy step and get right to painting. This then results in problems later that a quick check for cracks, bumps, and scratches can usually help to prevent.

Another disadvantage of satin paint is that the higher durability satin paint formulas are more expensive than normal satin paint. If you have small children or pets that may require you to wash the surface you are painting on a regular basis then a semi gloss paint finish may be a better option due to it reflecting less light than full gloss yet being considerably more robust than a satin paint.

The Disadvantages Of Eggshell Paint!

Eggshell paint formulas tend to be relatively weak to wear and tear when compared to other paint finishes due to the specific formula required for an eggshell finish. This can be a huge disadvantage if you do have children or pets and know you will have to wash the surface that you are looking to paint on a regular basis.

As we touched on above, if you do know you will have to wash a surface on a regular basis then a semi gloss paint finish is probably the lowest we would go for light reflectancy due to it being so tough. that said though, it is considerably brighter than all eggshell paint formulas pretty much removing the advantages of eggshell paint.

Depending on your style then another potential problem with using an eggshell paint is that it is hard to find the finish in brighter colors. This is due to the majority of people who choose to use an eggshell finish usually wanting a light or pastel color in the paint so the market for brighter eggshell paints is very small.

What Is Satin Paint Used For?

Satin paint is usually used in sitting rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms to create a nice relaxing atmosphere in the room. It can work well on a number of surfaces making it very easy to use on the majority of surfaces in your rooms to keep a consistent look.

There are a ton of different options for the color and reflective rating of your satin paint helping to increase the chances of you finding something that meets your requirements too. Satin paint is also widely available with it also having plenty of budget friendly options too.

As we touched on earlier in the article though, satin paint tends not to be a good option for high trafficked areas of the home or for rooms that will have small children or pets in on a regular basis. You can get more robust sating paint formulas to help prevent any issues from this but it can drastically increase the costs.

What Is Eggshell Paint Used For?

Eggshell paint finishes can be used in sitting rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and other rooms where you like to relax. The pastel, light colors and low light reflectance of eggshell paint make a great combination for a nice and relaxing room.

With eggshell paint being such a popular option, it is commonly available both online and in local home decor stores. There are plenty of colors available but you may struggle to find eggshell finishes in brighter colors due to the market being smaller.

Eggshell paint tends not to be as robust as other paint types though so we usually recommend that you avoid using it in high trafficked areas of your home. You can get more robust eggshell formulas but they tend not to be much better than the regular eggshell paints while usually being more expensive.

How Does Satin And Eggshell Paint Deal With Imperfections?

An eggshell paint naturally makes imperfections in your surfaces difficult to see due to reflecting such a small amount of light. Dull satin paints also offer this benefit but a bright satin paint will usually reflect enough light to draw the eye to imperfections in the surface.

If you know that the surface that you have to paint has a number of imperfections such as cracks, bumps, dents, and scratches then an eggshell paint is the obvious option. When dry, it will reflect very little light making the imperfections blend in with the surface and not draw your eye to it instantly.

If you do want to use a satin paint on a surface with lots of imperfections then try to make sure that you use a dull satin paint formula. Although you will still be able to see the imperfections when compared to if you had used an eggshell formula, a dull satin paint tends to be better than a bright satin paint.

Is Satin And Eggshell Paint Washable?

Neither satin paint formulas or eggshell paint formulas are particularly robust or tough and even though you are able to wash them, they tend not to do well with much wear and tear. If you do need a paint for a high trafficked area of your home then a semi gloss or full gloss paint is probably a better option.

You are able to use a dull semi gloss paint to get as little light reflected as possible on the surface while ensuring that the paint is washable and able to take plenty of wear and tear. That said though, semi gloss tends to be too bright for most people so we understand why people will always opt for a satin or eggshell paint finish.

There are a number of sealing agents that you are able to apply over your satin or eggshell paint to help increase their durability though if you are deadest on using those options. The sealants are available in two main styles, the more popular is a spray based sealant and you just spray it on the surface with the second being brush based where you apply it using a brush.

How Does Satin And Eggshell Paint Perform On Walls?

Both satin and eggshell paint perform very well on indoor walls with eggshell paint usually having the advantage of being better at hiding any imperfections in the wall than satin paint. For general home decor, either option is a solid choice with both being very popular paint options for use on a wall.

You will have to factor in your overall vision for the room that you are decorating to decide on the best option for you to take though. As we have covered earlier in the article, both satin paint and eggshell paint have their own advantages and disadvantages over each other.

If you are a beginner to home decor then satin paint can be a slightly better option as it is ever so slightly easier to apply to your walls. That said though, the difference is minimal and most of our readers will be using a modern paint roller anyway making the difference between a satin and eggshell paint minute when it comes to actually applying it to your walls.

How Does Satin And Eggshell Paint Perform On Wood?

There are paint formulas with a satin and eggshell paint for both indoor and outdoor use that performs very well on wood. This allows you to match wood surfaces in and around your home with the rest of your home design to keep the overall feeling consistent.

When it comes to wood surfaces that are outdoors, you will need a specific paint formula for satin or eggshell that has been designed for use outdoors for protection from the elements. That said though, chalk paint is the most popular option for outdoor use right now and it tends to go well with the eggshell and dull satin look.

Although most indoor satin and eggshell paint formulas do work on indoor wood, you ,any want a specific formula that has been designed for use with wood for larger items such as bookshelves. These paints to do tend to be budget friendly though so most of our readers shouldn’t have any problems with budget.


That brings our article going over our ultimate satin vs eggshell paint finish comparison to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you decide if you want to go with a satin or eggshell paint. Both are great options with both being very popular at the time of writing and we doubt that the popularity of either paint choice will end up fading any time soon too.