What Is The Difference Between Eggshell And Satin?

If you’re new to the world of paint and home decor, the terms ‘eggshell’ and ‘satin’ may seem pretty alien to you.

These are actually types of paint, and are used to refer to the ‘finish’ or ‘effect’ of the paint.


Eggshell finish is popular with professionals and DIY painters alike.

It’s characterized by its low-sheen finish, which is similar to ‘flat’ or ‘matte’ paints, though it reflects slightly more light than these, and has a soft glow to it.

Eggshell paint is easy to apply and disguises imperfections well while providing a nearly shine-free finish.


Satin is similar to eggshell, and the two often get confused.

However, their main difference is that satin delivers a higher gloss while still offering better durability and stain resistance than some of the lower sheens such as eggshell and soft gloss paint.

Satin is great for adding definition to areas so that they stand out more: think windows, shutters, trim, and even doors. The end result is lustrous and rich, giving the impression of elegance and luxury thanks to Satin’s distinctive sheen.


Does Eggshell Paint Make a Room Look Bigger?

Should you use Eggshell or Satin Paint On Trim?

Is eggshell or satin better for walls?

It depends on the end result you’re trying to achieve: satin has more shine, while eggshell has a soft, matte finish. Satin reflects light, while eggshell has very little luster to it.

Satin’s pronounced shine sharpens the contours of walls and can add definition and depth. This makes it ideal for small spaces, as it can make the room look bigger.

Eggshell on the other hand is more one-dimensional and flat, so it won’t give the impression of a larger and more open space, but some people prefer the toned-down, matte finish of eggshell.

Another thing to consider is durability.

Paints that have a higher sheen – such as satin – are formulated with less pigment and more binders, and the latter makes the paint more flexible and resistant to wear and tear. Eggshell has less binders, so it will be more easily marked, chipped, or scratched.

For this reason, satin paint works well in high-traffic areas, where you want to protect your walls as much as possible.

Is eggshell or satin better for bathrooms?

As we said above, satin is a good choice for high-traffic rooms, and its glossier sheen makes it quicker and easier to wipe clean of dust, dirt, mildew, and mold. For this reason, we’d say satin is better suited to bathrooms than eggshell is.

Eggshell contains a higher amount of pigments, and this creates a rougher surface that is harder to clean. In moisture-rich areas, satin paint will provide greater durability, and will be easier to clean in the instance of smudges, mold, or mildew.

Though don’t forget that it’s still essential to ensure your bathroom is well ventilated to prevent mold and mildew growing in the first place.

Which is easier to clean, eggshell or satin?

Satin is definitely easier to clean due to its slick finish which means it can be more easily wiped clean. Eggshell has a rougher texture due to its being more pigmented, and this requires more elbow grease to clean.

For this reason, we’d recommend using satin in any areas that are prone to grubby hands, marks, dirt, or high traffic, such as hallways, children’s bedrooms, or bathrooms.

Is eggshell or satin easier to touch up?

While eggshell may be easily marred in high-traffic areas, it’s also easier to touch up, too.

The high luster effect of satin paint means more light bounces off it and accentuates any marks or application mishaps. The low reflectivity of eggshell means it is not only more effective at concealing imperfections, but it’s also easier to touch up without the new areas of paint being too noticeable.

On blemished surfaces satin isn’t a good choice, as even the smallest of imperfections can seem exaggerated by satin’s lustrous sheen.

Eggshell vs Satin: which is best for you?


Satin adds a touch of luxury to any space, and the subtle shine can make small spaces look deeper and more open.

Eggshell is more matte and low-luster, giving a more one-dimensional look.


Satin has more binders and less pigment, so it is more hard-wearing and longer-lasting as well as more resistant to marks.

Eggshell on the other hand is more easily marred, so it isn’t a good option in high-traffic areas of the home, such as hallways and bathrooms.


The slick surface of satin paint makes it easy to clean, so it’s a good option in rooms that are used a lot, as well as in high-moisture areas such as the bathroom where mold and mildew might grow.


Eggshell is easier to apply due to the low-luster effect which better disguises imperfections.

Satin reflects a lot of light, so you can usually spot mistakes on a satin-finished surface more easily, and this type of paint will accentuate any stray roller lap marks and messy brush strokes.

Touch Ups

Satin is also difficult to touch up because paint applied after the original application will be difficult to disguise.

The low reflectivity of eggshell means it’s easier to get an even, smooth finish and apply touch-up coats without them being glaringly obvious.


Eggshell is generally a cheaper option than satin.

The cost of paint usually increases by $1 to $2 dollars per gallon for each step up you go in sheen.

While satin is still a pretty middle-of-the-road price option on the overall spectrum, it’s still more expensive than eggshell due to the higher luster finish.

Final Verdict

Satin and eggshell paint each have their own benefits.

Satin is more durable, easier to clean, and can make a small space look bigger, while eggshell is cheaper, easier to apply, and is better suited to touch-ups.

For high-traffic areas, you’re definitely better off going with satin paint. Reserve eggshell for guest rooms and living spaces.

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