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What is Eggshell Paint and When Should You Use it?

Eggshell paints are way more complicated than you think. Find out more about the deceptively simple eggshell paint and when to effectively use it.

Have you ever had a conversion with someone who knew way more about a topic than you? You sit there with a million questions in your head, you do not know how to express yourself, and you are dumbfounded by what they are saying.

After spending years and years marveling at interior design books, I knew I wanted to learn more. Flipping through the pages of Architectural Digest, ELLE Decor and Interior Design, got me thinking about what I would do if I could decorate my own home.

As I grew older and started to learn more about interior design, I realized how much there was to learn. From rugs, to throw pillows, artists, and paint colors, I sometimes get overwhelmed with all my options.

I have learned that finding a focal point and running with it can be the easiest way to create a space you love. While most people tend to use art or decor as a focal point, I have always been fascinated when people use paint as their attention grabber. From stripes to polka dots and more, using paint as your center can be a creative way to get the look you want.

But where should you begin? The finish! If you want a reliable paint finish, eggshell is the way to go. For many reasons eggshell is at the top of most homeowners and designers lists alike. 

Related: Satin Paint | Flat Paint | Primer Paint | Oil-Based Paint | Gloss Paint | Enamel Paint | Latex-Based Paint | Chalkboard Paint | Matte Paint | Water-Based Paint

What is Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell gives a smooth and soft sheen to any space. There is a reason for this paint’s name, as it is meant to represent the actual look of an eggshell. Eggshell is smack dab in the middle of matte and satin finishes.

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It is soft like matte, but still provides a sort of shine that satin also possesses. Although it has some similarities to matte, it is much more durable and easy to clean. Eggshells have a 10 to 25 percent gloss, which is more than matte and less than satin. Making it the perfect in-between. 

Eggshell Vs. Satin

Eggshell

VALSPAR PAINT 11800 Interior High Hide Latex Paint White Eggshell, Gallon

Eggshell Is Cheaper

Some people confuse satin and eggshell but there are noticeable differences. First and foremost, eggshell is the most popular for many reasons, but one major factor is the price point. Satin is a little pricier than eggshell, and because they are pretty similar, most people go with eggshell. 

Easier To Apply

Satin can be kind of difficult to apply if you are unfamiliar with how to do it correctly. If you let a section of the wall dry too long while using satin paint, it can create differences in color. Because eggshell has a lower sheen level, the look of mistakes is much less prevalent. 

Eggshell Conceals Flaws

If you are working with a less than perfect surface, like walls in an older home, eggshell will cover imperfections more. Although satin is more durable at preventing imperfections that happen over time, eggshell will hide those initial imperfections. 

Satin

Zinsser- Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Satin Interior Paint

Glossier Than Eggshell

Satin paint is much glossier than eggshell. It reflects sunlight more, which results in a look most people describe as a shimmer. Satin provides more depth to smaller spaces like offices given that it reflects light better.

More Durable Overall

Because of the makeup of satin paint, it tends to be more durable. Paints with high levels of sheen have more binders and less pigment. This causes “shinier” paints to last longer and be more resistant to scratches, dirt, and scuffs. 

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Satin Can Be Cleaned Easier

Because of the higher levels of binders and lower levels of pigment, the texture of satin differs from the eggshell. The glossy-ness of satin creates a surface that is easy to clean, without any paint being removed in the process. This is why satin is the best choice for rooms such as kids’ bedrooms or playrooms, where dirt and scratches will most likely occur often. 

When Should You Use Eggshell Paint

A woman deciding between three eggshell paint samples.

Eggshell is slightly less durable than satin. For this reason, it should be used in rooms with less traffic, but is not necessary for areas such as ceilings, with no traffic. If you have a dining room or living room that is in need of a new paint job, eggshell is a good choice. 

Eggshell also does not pick up dirt easily. It is easy to see why it is the most popular paint given this factor. If your walls have imperfections, throwing a few coats of eggshell on them should do the trick.

When To Not Use Eggshell

You should not use eggshells in a kitchen or bathroom. Because these are the areas in the house that often create the most traffic, you will want the paint to last a long time. Because it has a medium durability level, you will want to save it for those spaces that have a medium amount of traffic. 

When Was Eggshell Paint Invented? 

It is said that eggshell paint was introduced in the U.S. sometime in the early 1970s. It was introduced as an alternative to flat paint because it is easier to clean. It was the perfect mix between several types of paint of that time period.

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Eggshell has a small amount of sheen unlike matte paint but is less shiny than gloss and semi-gloss paints. All of these characteristics make eggshell one of the most popular paint finishes in the world, next to satin. 

The Best Eggshell Paints To Buy Right Now

  1. Home Depot — Glidden Premium Base 1 Eggshell Interior Paint, 1 Gallon
  2. Ace Hardware — Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines Eggshell Tint Base Base 2 Paint and Primer Interior 8 oz. Pink Lemonade MAG028
  3. Lowes — HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Showcase Ultra White Eggshell Tintable Interior Paint, 1-Quart
  4. Farrow & Ball — Modern Eggshell Ultra Marine Blue No. W29, 4 Litres
  5. Ace Hardware — Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines Eggshell Tint Base Base 3 Paint and Primer Interior 8 oz. Water Garden MAG107