Should You Go for Matte or Glossy Finish?: A Quick Guide

by Pooja Dara | February 16, 2024 | 5 mins read

Difference between matte and glossy

When designing your home’s interiors, be it in big or small ways, you often tend to overlook the kind of finish you want as part of the plan. If not the case, choosing between matte and glossy finish becomes a real challenge. Worry not, We’ll make the decision easier for you!

Is choosing the best colour(s) for your home interiors giving you a hard time in your design process? Well, you might not have thought about the type of finish you want the interiors to have. There are many types of finishes you can choose from, and knowing the differences, pros and cons of each one will help make your final choice a breeze. 

The right finish for your walls, furniture or flooring can completely transform the look of your space, so consider knowing the ins and outs of the different kinds of finishes available today. The two most popular types are matte and glossy. Here is what you need to know about both of them.

What is Matte Finish and Glossy Finish?

Matte finish surfaces usually have a roughened, dull, and unpolished look that reflects scattered light in the space. Imperfections can seamlessly hide behind it but cleaning it is no easy task. They have more pigment and can cover a larger area thereby saving you on a lot of money. Applying the next coat of paint on a matte finish is easier.

Brown and white matte material finish wall that reflects scattered light in the space look rustic in appeal.
Brown and white matte finish walls make this entrance look rustic in appeal

On the other hand, glossy finish surfaces are smoother and have reflective layers of acrylic or oil that make them shine and reflect light evenly. They’re easy to clean but difficult to hide imperfections, rework or touch-ups on such a surface. Applying the next coat of paint is harder.

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Pooja room wall in glossy texture beige is smoother that makes them shine and reflect light evenly.
Beige glossy walls accentuate the pooja room in this home

What Are The Different Types of Finishes?

Scientifically speaking, sheen or gloss refers to how much a paint/surface reflects light. The play of light has a big impact not only on colour perception but also on how we perceive it emotionally. Remember that in practice the same colour with a different finish can change the look and effect of the space altogether.

Hence, there are many types of finishes available based on multiple factors (read as high to low):

Infographic of the difference between matte and glossy finish

What Are The Differences Between Matte and Glossy?

Matte and glossy finishes may be used differently based on the interplay and weightage of many factors. Some of them are personal preferences, washability, room size and surface conditions, the texture of the walls, natural light and reflectivity, durability, and how often the rooms will be used.  

Let’s deep dive into it to gain more clarity.

  1. The Texture Of The Walls: For walls with minor cracks or patches, go in for a flat or matte finish. They provide richness to the interiors. For smoother surfaces with no imperfections, you can use a glossy finish as they make the room look more beautiful and vibrant.
  1. Natural Light And Reflectivity: Take into account the size of the room and the amount of natural light that comes into it. If you want to create a strong visual impact with depth in colour, go in for a glossy finish typically on accent walls to make the room look larger. Whereas if you want to give an appearance of a wall receding, choose matte finish as it reflects less light.
  1. Washability: For surfaces that are less prone to permanent stains and scratch marks, opt for a glossy finish as they’re super easy to clean and have low porosity. Just scrub the surface with a damp sponge, you’ll notice that only the dirt comes off but not the paint. Matte finishes are at a major disadvantage here since some of the paint colours ends up on the sponge. Dirt is harder to remove due to a rough surface.  
  1. How Often The Room Will Be Used: Rooms that are frequently visited are prone to normal wear and tear. In such cases, you must opt for a glossy finish. While the less frequented rooms can have a matte finish or a combination of both. 


  1. Don’t use dark matte colours or bright gloss colours for your rooms. Darker colours will make the space smaller than normal and brighter colours will be overwhelming to the human eye. Try to opt for a more balanced combination.
  2. Do a sample test run before making the final decision since the aesthetic effects of a particular finish become particularly pronounced on highly textured surfaces. If your home centre or paint store doesn’t provide samples in your chosen finish, discuss with them, or find another supplier instead. Don’t settle for the wrong choice in a hurry. 
  3. Opt for a glossy finish if you want to give a modern look to your space. Gloss gives metal and wood an accentuated and a mirror-like look. Use a matte finish for more traditional and rustic settings like period properties. 
  4. You can also create a customised blend by mixing different sheens of the same colour. But don’t overdo it. 
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That’s all folks! Hope this blog has given you a lowdown on matte versus glossy finish. During your home revamping journey, do revisit this quick guide before you take the final plunge. Good Luck!

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Pooja Dara is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Pooja Dara

Pooja Dara is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of experience and has worked for several reputed companies in multiple niches. Having made a switch from quantitative research (of leading FMCG and durable brands) to secondary research, she is now an independent content specialist who believes in creating value for her clients through her work. She is also passionate about photography, spirituality, dogs, and traveling.

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