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What is Matte Paint? (What To Know Before You Buy)

You have heard it over and over: painting your home is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to drastically change your space. Whether you are trying to update dark colors to be more modern, change the trim to fit into your new boho theme, or add new artwork, homes (and people) are constantly evolving. But picking out your accessories should be an afterthought when it comes to redoing your abode. 

Painting your home’s interior and/or exterior can give it the facelift it needs. But selecting the right shade is only the beginning. The finish of your paint can be just as (if not more) important when transforming your space. Whether you are a boho queen or an expert on everything high-end, the finish of your paint can leave you with the space of your dreams. 

From satin to glossy, matte, and more, your paint selection will elevate your space. Choosing the right color is stressful enough, but adding the differences in finish and you can start to feel a little overwhelmed. There are so many different types of paint to choose from! If you are like me, you think light colors brighten a space and love the look of matte paint. But, it is not right for every room or every project. 

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

What is Matte Paint? 

Matte paint is painted with an extremely low sheen level. This means it doesn’t look shiny or reflect sunlight. It holds a large amount of pigment compared to other types of paint. Because of this, it is amazing at covering up imperfections on ceilings or walls. Matte paint also requires fewer coats than other paint types due to the fact that it has such high amounts of pigment. This makes it cost-effective and easy to work with. 

When To Use Matte Paint

You Are On A Budget

If you are twenty-something like me, you are most likely on a budget. If you aren’t, let me know how you do it. If you are buying your first home or just move into a new apartment and want a cost-effective way to spruce up your space, matte paint is a great option. Because it has a large amount of pigmentation, it takes fewer coats. 

Your Walls Have Blemishes

A close look at a front door with matte paint.

This last year I moved into a 100-year-old building. The architecture is beautiful and the charm is undeniable. But with charm comes a handful of issues. The walls in the building I moved into are less than perfect, but a coat of matte paint changed the space entirely. If you have previously had a leak in your home that left water stains, using matte paint is a great way to cover the old issue (after making sure the leak is corrected). 

You Have Artwork You Want To Hang

If you are lucky enough to have huge pieces of artwork that you want to be the focal point of your room, matte paint is the perfect background. Matte paint provides a smooth, velvety backdrop for all things art. If you have bright art with a gold frame, try painting your wall a matte gray. The flat surface will provide an amazing contrast to your polished fixture. 

When To Not Use Matte Paint

You Are Painting A High Traffic Area

Although more modern matte paints seem to be fairly durable, matte paint is not a great choice for high traffic areas. Matte is perfect for areas such as ceilings and bedrooms, where kids and animals will not be spending a lot of time. If matte paint gets dirty, cleaning the area affected can actually take off the paint. 

You Are Painting Trim

This is a close look at a corner of a house with white matte molding.

Trim is generally a high traffic area, and therefore you should not use matte paint. If your trim gets dirty (which it most likely will) cleaning it will take the paint off. This will result in you having to repaint the surface more often which will be more expensive in the long run.

You Are Painting Your Bathroom

Although the look of matte paint might be appealing for a bathroom, it is not a good idea. Due to the fact that bathrooms are moist, matte is not a good idea as it is more likely to grow mold or mildew. Unlike other rooms, bathroom walls need to be wiped down more often due to the amount of moisture that builds up. Because of this, you can risk taking your paint off if you choose the wrong kind. Making matte a bad option for bathrooms. 

Can You Touch Up Matte Paint? 

Because matte paint comes off more easily when cleaned than other paints, it is bound to need the occasional touch-up. If your walls were recently painted with a matte finish, touching it up will be no problem. However, like most other paints, the color will change over time. Stored paint fades over time, therefore touching up large spots can leave a noticeable difference in color. 

If you have a small blemish that needs to be covered up, using a small foam roller or something similar can help it blend in. It is important to try to paint as small of an area as possible in order to make sure the colors look the same. Feathering the edges of wear you paint can help the paints blend in better together. If you have a spot that is covered by furniture, touching up the paint will not be noticeable either. 

Where To Buy Matte Paint

  1. Target — Interior Paint Matte Shiplap – Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines, 1 Gallon
  2. Amazon — Rust-Oleum 329207 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint 30 oz, Coastal Blue
  3. Home Depot — Ultra Pure White Flat Matte Interior Paint and Primer in One, 5 Gallons
  4. Walmart — Glidden Quick Cover, Interior Paint, Flat Finish, White, 1 Gallon
  5. Home Depot — 30 oz. Chalked Serenity Blue Ultra Matte Interior Paint