Satin VS Flat Paint — Which is Better for your Walls & Why?

Satin VS Flat Paint — Which is Better for your Walls & Why?

Are you planning to paint the walls of your home but you’re fixed between satin vs flat paint, and which to use where? Pheww! Indeed, you can’t choose one until you’re not fully aware of the key differences, pros, and cons. Before deciding on one, let us tell you that it’s mainly the finish that makes a difference between these paints. 

Yet, this isn’t the only differentiating point, but there are some other variations too. So come with us as we’ll enlighten all these points in this content. By the end of the content, you’ll be able to pick the best one.

Let’s get started!

What is Satin Paint? Know First.

If you dig into the word satin, you’ll know that this word keeps the meaning of “gloss and luster” in it. Satin finish paint gives a beautiful luster to your walls, making them look velvety. But the point to notice is, what level of luster or sheen the satin paint has? 

Okay, the satin paint comes with the lowest level of sheen, making it fall between a semi-glossy and flat finish. So it would be best to say that satin paint is a mid-gloss glossy paint with an effect that depends on the lighting effect in your room. 

What is Flat Paint? Know First.

Flat paint is also known as matte paint, free from any luster and gloss. It’s more in pigment and less or no in luster, so it gives exceptional coverage. So it won’t go wrong to call it concealer paint. 

Flat paints (matte paints) are one of the most common yet the most popular paints due to the simplest formula they have. They have three main things in their formula. The first one is color. The second is water; the third is the binding agent and nothing in the fourth place. 

Satin VS Flat Paint- What Are the Key Differences? 

Knowing the differences between these two will help you decide which one is better for you. We’ll first enlist these points, and then you’ll get a detailed comparison of both the paints considering those points. 

Level of Sheen- The Main Differencing Point

The most noticeable difference between these two paints is the level of sheen. As we discussed earlier, satin has a medium level of sheen; that’s why it gives a mid-gloss finish. Because of satin paint, light bounces off the surface, making it look glossy. 

While on the other hand, the flat paint has little to no sheen. Thus it gives your walls and other substrates a matte finishing. 

The durability isn’t the same!

Do you know what makes paint durable? Most of you will think that the thicker the paint, the higher the durability. Yes, it’s right, but many other factors decide the paint’s durability.

The more time a paint takes to dry, the higher its durability. The particles of the satin paint take more time to bind. Thus, they make a tough and strong finish. Furthermore, satin finishes are water-resistant; so you won’t see the paint coming off the walls, even from the washroom and kitchen (both are damp.) That's what makes satin paint more durable.

On the other side, the flat paint has a thin consistency, so its particles take less time to bind. Therefore, the flat finish paint dries quickly and is less durable.  

In short, if you don’t want to repaint your walls frequently, you should go with the satin finish paint. 

Do they require different maintenance? Hell yes! 

Maintenance is another point that makes a clear difference between both the paints. If you want to know the maintenance, you must know about their ease of cleanliness. 

The sheen in satin paint makes it easy to clean. That’s because stains and dirt don’t stick to them. And you can easily wipe off the stains using a soft sponge dipped in a mixture of soap and water. Because of being water-resistant, the satin paint finish won’t lose its sheen and won’t come off. 

Meanwhile, Because of the dry and textured finish of the flat paint, stains and dirt particles badly stick to it. Therefore, it’s highly difficult to clean those stains. And if you try to clean, the paint will start coming off the walls. 

Thinking about scrubbing to remove the stains? Please don’t dare to use this technique, as this can ruin your paint. So the flat paint is so challenging to clean because of its less durability.   

So we suggest you always opt for the satin paint in your kids’ room and the areas you use more. 

Want high coverage? Go with flat paint!

You can’t say that both paints offer the same coverage. Coverage is another point you must pay attention to when choosing one from satin and flat paint. 

It's directly linked to the pigment of the paint. Because the flat paint is more pigmented, a single coat can color your walls much better than satin paint. That's why you can get full coverage in minimal coats. 

While on the other side, satin paint comes with more binders, so it’s not that pigmented. A single coat can’t pass that much pigment on your substrate needed for full coverage. Therefore, you might face some coverage issues when using this paint.

Flat paint gives a much easier paint application.

Flat paint always wins the show regarding the ease of usage or application of satin vs. flat paint. The reason is that flat paint is thin and blends in well. 

And if you use the W method for painting, flat paint won’t leave prominent lines behind. Moreover, you can directly spray the paint without making it thin.

But if we talk about the satin paint, you’ll have to make it thin before spraying. Its thickness makes its application harder. 

Most importantly, when you use satin paint, you need to sand each of its layers with sand. After that, you can apply the next layer. And that’s why satin paint has a harder application than flat paint. 

Satin paint can be heavy on your pocket.

Satin paint is more expensive than flat paint. Let's suppose you’re painting your room with three satin paint cans. You’ll have to pay almost $15 more than the amount you pay for three cans of flat paint. 

It means each can of satin paint is $5 more expensive than the flat paint if you pick the same brand. 

Moisture resistance and wood protection are not the same.

Satin finish paints are both oil-based and water-based. It has a water-resistant formula that prevents the water from penetrating the paint's surface. Thus the paint won’t come off or won’t make patches. 

This resistance from moisture is also due to its slightly glossy finish. This gloss works by repelling the water, thus protecting your substrate. 

However, you won't find this feature in flat paint. It is water-soluble, so it absorbs the moisture, bubbling and peeling off the paint from your substrate. 

So you can easily decide which paint would be a good option for wood. If your ultimate goal is to have moisture-resistant paint on wood that repels water, has high durability, and doesn't come off, go with the satin paint. 

What is Satin Paint Best For? 

If we talk about the uses of satin paint, the first and the most common thing to pop into your mind is to use it on your room walls. Yes, you can use it to paint your walls, but it can also be used in a variety of other ways. Here are the complete details about its uses.

Satin paint and high-traffic areas make the best match.

Satin is best for high-traffic areas like your tv lounge and hallways. These places of your house usually have high traffic. Other than this, the walls of your kids' room, kitchen, and bathrooms should have durable satin paint. Its water-resistant properties will prevent the paint from coming off. 

Satin paint gives the best sheen to wood/furniture.

Whether a small wooden jewelry box or your room furniture, wooden objects always demand a sheen. Satin paint is best to give that glossy finish to your wooden furniture, desks, tables, and even kitchen cabinets.

Besides the sheen, satin is used on the furniture so that they don’t get affected by water. Its moisture-resistant properties provide this protection. 

DIYs are incomplete without satin paint.

You can’t skip buying satin paint for your projects if you're a regular DIYer. Satin paint gives them a perfect gloss that makes them more fetching. Plus, it also increases durability, so they won’t even get affected by frequent touches. 

So yes, satin paint is best to kick out the dull look by giving a light sheen to your DIY projects.

What is Flat Paint Best For? 

Do you have any imperfections on your substrates, like walls or ceilings, and want to hide them? You must go with flat paint as its matte finish hides all the blemishes and spots, giving an amazingly smooth finish. Not just this, but flat paint has a lot of other uses. Some of them are as follows. 

Flat paint is best to use for ceilings.

Most of you don’t want glossy ceilings as the gloss in the paint can highlight any high imperfections. So better to go with flat paint for your ceilings. 

We all know that ceilings are not frequently touched; flat paint will last long. 

Flat paint also tints the clear paints.

One of the most interesting benefits of flat paint is that you can use it to tint other clear paints. Therefore, you can make your desired color and use it for painting your ornaments and various other items. 

Flat Paint works great as a primer.

You can use flat paint as a primer when you want to hide the underlying darker color and want to go light. It offers a new clear surface to the paint that you’re going to apply to it. 

Say goodbye to imperfections with flat paint. 

Flat paint acts as a magician in covering all imperfections. The pigmented color and the flat paint's matte finish absorb light and conceal all the bumps and bruises. So if you’ve any wall in this condition, consider painting it with flat paint if you want all the imperfections to become less visible or even invisible. 

When Choosing the Right Paint, Follow this Basic Rule of Thumb!

When choosing one from satin vs flat paint, you must follow the basic rule of thumb that is mentioned below.

This rule says, "the higher the sheen in a paint, the more shine it gives. And the higher the level of shine, the higher durability it will have.”

So you can now decide which paint is more durable and the best pick for you. 

Satin VS Flat Paint What’s Best For Which Room? 

Not all the rooms of your home need the same kind of paint. Some need a smooth look, while some need to shine. In the same way, if a room has high traffic, another one might be considered a low-traffic area. So the same finish can’t do justice to all.

Here’s a table showing the requirements for different rooms and the paint they need. 


Requirements of Paint

Best Paint


  • Durable
  • Moisture-resistant
  • Easy to clean

Satin Paint

Dining Room

  • Smooth look
  • Best for low traffic area

Flat Paint


  • Pigmented 
  • High coverage
  • For low traffic area

Flat Paint

Family Room

  • For high traffic area
  • Easy to clean

Satin Paint


  • Moisture resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • High durability

Satin Paint

Which Paint to Opt For Older Homes With High Imperfections? 

It’s not just the type of paint that can make a difference, but the condition of your walls also does. When deciding the type of paint, you’ve to look at the condition of your substrate. 

If you want to paint the living area in your old home, doubtlessly, the walls will have some imperfections. These imperfections may be in the form of marks on the drywall and indentations. 

In such cases, you need to put your hands on the flat paint as it will hide all these imperfections, and you’ll get a highly pigmented coat with a matte finish. 

Which Paint Does the New Constructions Demand? 

New constructions are free from flaws and imperfections, so it’s better to use satin paint. Satin paint gives a nice gloss that causes reflecting of the light showing the perfect smooth texture of the new walls.

Pros and Cons of Satin Paint

Before picking one from satin vs. flat paint, you must know the pros and cons. Firstly, let us spill the beans about the positive and the negative points of satin paint.


  • Satin paint is easy to clean.
  • It resists moisture, which is a good option for the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Gives a subtle glow that enhances the beauty of your room and other things.
  • It comes with high durability.
  • Perfect for indoor, outdoor, and various other things
  • Doesn’t get affected even by washing
  • Goes well in all high-traffic areas
  • Satin paint reflects more light than flat paint. 


  • Satin paint doesn't hide imperfections. In fact, it highlights them.
  • Excessive scrubbing can decrease the sheen of satin paint.
  • It's more expensive than flat paint.
  • If you’re using oil-based satin paints, they might become yellow with time. 
  • It’s not suitable for old homes as they have more bumps and divots in walls. 
  • Touch-ups of satin paint is highly difficult to blend into the existing finish. 
  • It requires more painting preparations than flat paint. 

Pros and Cons of Flat Paint

Knowing just the pros and cons of satin isn’t enough. You should also check out the positive and negative points of flat paint. Let's now probe into the section on the pros and cons of flat paint. 


  • Flat paint works best in concealing stains.
  • It is easy to work with.
  • Flat paint gives excellent coverage to your substrates. 
  • Touch-ups easily get blended.
  • You’ll find it easier to apply than satin paint.
  • It’s available at a lower cost than satin paint.
  • It can work best even for darker colors.


  • It has less durability than satin paint.
  • Cleaning the flat paint is highly difficult. 
  • Cleaning the flat paint might cause patchiness.
  • It isn’t moisture-resistant, so you can't use it in various places. 
  • Flat paint isn’t suitable at all for high-traffic areas. 

Can You Make Satin Paint Flat or Vice Versa? YES!

Do you want to make your satin paint flat or vice versa? Yes, it’s possible. For doing any of these procedures, you should know two key points.

First, to flatten your satin paint, add more pigment. The more the pigment is, the flatter it will be. Second, to satin your flat paint, you need to add more binder it. 

Here’s the complete detail for both processes.

How can you make flat paint satin?

You’ll think mixing flat paint with satin paint will give you satin paint. No!

To make satin paint from flat paint, you’ll need to mix semi-gloss paint with flat paint. This way, you’ll get a perfect light sheen in your flat paint, just like the satin paint. 

Varnish can work too!

There’s another easy way to make your flat paint glossy and with your required amount of sheen. Just add the required amount of glazing compound or varnish, and ta-da! You’re ready to get a perfect sheen on your projects and walls. 

But wait a second. Do you know about the ratio of both? Same ratio? No! 

When mixing a varnish in flat paint, you must follow the ratio of 1:10. The former is for varnish, and the latter is for flat paint. 

How to make satin paint flat? 

After reading how to make your flat paint satin, you might also want to know the vice versa of it. Is it so? 

Making your satin paint flat can be done in different ways. One of the most common ways is to add more pigment to your satin paint. Doing this will reduce the gloss and will make your paint more towards a matte finish. 

If you don’t want to use this method, de-glossing is another method. Paint de-glossers are available in different forms. 

Some of them are added to the paint before applying. While the others are added to water, this water and de-glosser mixture is applied to the dried paint. In this way, you can transform your satin paint to look flat. 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to match the resins

Before mixing flat paint into the satin or satin into the flat, you must match the resins. You can’t mix a latex flat paint with an oil-based satin paint. That won’t work. In the same way, interior paint will work by mixing just with the interior painting and not the exterior painting. 

To get the perfect results, you must mix latex flat paint with latex satin or semi-gloss paint. It's the best possible way to get the perfect sheen to your flat paint. 

Difference Between Flat and Satin Paint - Final Thoughts 

Let us summarize this content by saying that satin vs. flat, the main difference is the sheen or the gloss. Satin is more into a glossy finish, while the flat paint gives you a matte finish. Not just the sheen, durability, maintenance, cost, coverage, and ease of application are other points that make a difference. 

Neither of these is best to use in all situations. One offers high durability and moisture resistance, while the other offers coverage and ease of application and conceals imperfections. 

So keep all these points and the pros and cons of each in consideration before picking one for your project. 

We wish you the best of luck in choosing the right one!

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