Eggshell vs Flat: Which Is Best To Use?

Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by Masha Eretnova

Eggshell vs Flat

Although both flat and eggshell paint gives the same level of coverage and application, many are still stuck choosing between the two. 

Thus, knowing where areas at home you can use between eggshell vs flat paint can help you save more time and money.

The obvious difference between eggshell vs flat paint is their luster. Eggshell paint has a subtle luster, similar to an egg surface, making it ideal to use in moderate-traffic areas at home like bedrooms and living rooms. Meanwhile, flat paint has no shine at all, which is best for ceilings and sidings.

Aside from their sheen level, we’ll discuss if the two are washable, flat paint vs eggshell, and their durability, areas to use, and cost. 

Certainly, knowing their differences will not only save you time and money, but you’ll be able to decide what’s the best paint for your desired room or DIY craft.

Learn more about different sheen levels:

What is the difference between eggshell and flat paint?

satin vs matte vs eggshell

Eggshell paint sheen is between flat and satin. It’s shinier, without surpassing the sheen of satin. While flat paint finish reflects light very little that it’s unnoticeable. 

Thus, others prefer eggshell paint instead of flat paint because it gives color some life rather than a matte finish look.

Here’s a guide table for a better understanding of eggshell vs flat differences:

Differences in:Flat paintEggshell paint
Sheen Level<5%10-25%
Ease to applyEasy to applyEasy to apply
DurabilityLess durableMore durable
UsesBest to low-traffic areas like ceilings, study rooms, and home officesIdeal to moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms, formal living rooms, and woodwork
MaintenanceLow maintenanceLow-moderate maintenance
VisibilityFully hide imperfectionsHighlight some imperfections
ResistanceLow resistance to moistureFair resistance to moisture, mold, and mildew
CoverageFull coverageFair coverage
CostEggshell cost $5-10 more than flat paint
RecommendedFlat paint – $30.97Eggshell paint – $34.44

Read also: Satin vs Flat: Where is it Ideal to Use?

Apart from their sheens, eggshell and flat paint also have a noticeable gap in terms of appearance, durability, and cost, which you can check below:

Eggshell vs flat appearance

Eggshell paint’s subtle shiny surface looks like the skin of an egg, making it ideal for rooms where you want to give some glow. It’s also ideal to use if you want a clean neutral look on your rooms or crafts.

On the other hand, flat paint finish gives a matte paint look, making it best to use dark colors for a more deep matte finish look. If you want a rustic or vintage style, flat paint is an ideal option to use.

Eggshell vs flat texture

Flat paint has more pigment than any other paint finish, so it’s the best to use for retaining paint color. It also has a chalky and smooth surface, making it ideal to use in textured walls.

Meanwhile, eggshell paint’s subtle shine gives a smooth surface but not as smooth as gloss. Since it has a little gloss, this makes eggshell paint suitable for rooms that you want to look bigger.

Eggshell vs flat durability

Eggshell paint finish has better durability than flat paint because it’s slightly glossy. However, constant cleaning will also lose its paint since it only has a slight luster.

Likewise, flat paint has the lowest durability of all paint finishes because it can’t withstand wear and tear for it’ll also lose its paint.

Eggshell vs flat cost

Flat and eggshell paint has a decent difference in price. On average, eggshell vs flat cost $5-10 to each other, depending on the brand and type of paint. 

Take for example this comparison below from the same known brand:

Eggshell paint around $35
Flat paint around $31

What is eggshell paint?

Eggshell paint sheen levels only range from 10-25%. It’s not far from flat paint, however, its subtle shine makes a difference in the look of your rooms and DIY projects. It’s easy to clean using just water and a soft cloth.

Its low shine makes it popular to use for home selling since eggshell paint gives a neat and minimal look to the walls. It can hide imperfections like flat paint, though to a moderate level only since its little luster can also highlight some dents and marks.

Other than these, eggshell paint still has a lot to offer, as well as some disadvantages of using it which you can check below:


  • Best to use in moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms
  • More durable and easy to clean
  • Touch-ups blend well
  • Can be used if you have kids and pets with moderate use of rooms
  • Good to use in hardworking rooms like kitchens and bathrooms
  • Also good with woodwork


  • Can’t hide all the flaws and imperfections since it has little gloss
  • Not ideal for exterior surfaces for it only offers moderate moisture resistance
  • Dry longer than a flat paint

What is eggshell paint used for?

Eggshell paint with low shine is suitable to use in spaces where you want to give more space. It’s best for a neutral or minimal style and is commonly used in living rooms and bedrooms, for it can hold up moderately to wear and tear.

Types of Eggshell Finish Products

Eggshell can come in a very limited formulas or products compared to flat or satin. It is mostly only represented in paints:

  • Paint finishes
  • Special clear coat finishes
  • Aerosol spray paint finishes

Eggshell Paint Finishes

If you’re torn between flat vs eggshell paint, we recommend choosing an eggshell paint from Rust Oleum if you want to give your room walls and other paint jobs some clean and minimal look.

It’s washable and can be applied using a brush, roller, or spray paint. Suitable for many types of surfaces, such as masonry, drywall, steel, wood, and aluminum.

If you’ll going to use eggshell enamel, take note that its average drying time is 4-6 hours, and it will take 16-24 hours before you can apply another layer of coat. 

Eggshell Clearcoat Finishes

Eggshell clear coats are often used for cars and as heavy duty encapsulating coating like a lead encapsulating coating for ex. It can be applied over existing paint or stained surfaces. Most of it is affordable and available in the form of tin and cans. 

Eggshell Aerosol Spray Paints

Eggshell finishes are rarely available in spray and it is mostly for cars. You can use satin spray paint as a substitute for eggshell paint as their sheen levels are very close.

Flat enamel paint dries faster and gives a rich color of the paint color, while eggshell enamel gives a soft and low luster and dries 10-15 mins longer than flat paint.

There are no special eggshell sealant or varnishes or polyurethane coating, the closest substitute is satin finish.

What is flat paint?

Flat paint finish has the dullest appearance among the other paint finishes. Its sheen level only ranges less than 5%. However, it’s the best in giving accurate paint color since it has more pigment than others.

Flat paint is also the best for hiding imperfections since its surface doesn’t reflect light at all, or it may reflect light but it’s unnoticeable. Hence, flat paint is the ideal option for most home builders and professional painters.

Apart from this, there are other advantages flat paint can give you, though, also keep in mind its disadvantages, which you can check below:


  • Best in low-traffic areas such as home offices, study rooms, and ceilings
  • Better hides imperfections
  • Dries quickly around 30 minutes or so
  • Easy to apply and touch-ups
  • Gives full coverage


  • Harder to clean
  • Regular scrubbing will peel off its paint
  • Can’t withstand wear and tear
  • Attract dirt and dust

When do I use flat paint?

Flat paint is ideal to use in low-traffic areas and is best for ceilings. It’s preferable to use in areas that need cover-up like holes, scratches, and dents. Its appearance gives a matte paint look, where it’s suitable to use darker colors if you want a vintage style.

Types of Flat Finish Products

Flat paint offers varieties of products for your wood, interior walls, and other paint jobs. Its ability to give full coverage and hide imperfections make it ideal for numerous purposes. Thus, we recommend some of the flat-finish products that you may be looking for:

  • Paint finishes
  • Clear coat finishes
  • Wood stain
  • Aerosol spray paint finishes
  • Varnish finishes
  • Sealants
  • Polyurethane

If you want to further discuss where and how these products are used, you can check our related posts: Satin vs Flat: Where is it Ideal to Use?

Is flat or eggshell paint better?

Between flat vs eggshell paint, eggshell is better to use as it’s easier to clean, also hides well imperfections, and is more durable than flat paint. Eggshell is also preferable to designers because it lasts longer than flat paint finish.

However, if you only desire to cover holes and patches, then flat paint is a good choice. Using dark colors is also ideal for a cozier and vintage-style room. 

Flat paint is popular with home builders since it’s the most affordable paint finish, and gives the best camouflage to hide those dents, marks, and flaws for your wall surfaces and DIY projects.

When to use eggshell vs flat paint?

Eggshell paint is often recommended paint for many areas at home since it’s not too flat and too glossy. Although it’s easier to apply using a zig-zag wipe pattern and has many other good offers, it’s still not recommended to use if you have pets and kids.

On the other hand, flat paint finishes are popular with home builders because of their full coverage and budget-friendly cost. If you’re still hesitant about which areas to use between eggshell and flat paint, you can check this table:

  • Bedrooms – eggshell
  • Living rooms – eggshell
  • Playrooms – eggshell
  • Dining rooms – eggshell
  • Family rooms – eggshell
  • Study rooms – flat
  • Hallways – eggshell
  • Exterior – eggshell
  • Kitchens – eggshell
  • Bathrooms – eggshell
  • Ceilings – flat
  • Trims – eggshell
  • Doors – eggshell
  • Interior furniture eggshell
  • Home offices – flat
  • Skirting boards – eggshell
  • Garage – eggshell
  • Car paint – eggshell

A. Bedrooms and Hallways – Eggshell

Eggshell paint finish with a low sheen makes it ideal to use in low-traffic areas like bedrooms, family rooms, and dining rooms. Since the eggshell finish has little gloss, it can withstand some regular cleaning, which makes it also good to use in this kind of room.

Eggshell finish can also stand against stains and dents, which makes it ideal in heavy foot traffic areas like hallways. Its little gloss makes it easy to clean, too, compared to flat paint. Thus, we recommend Benjamin Moore products for eggshell paint smooth sheen.

However, you can use flat paint in low-traffic areas like home offices and study rooms since it doesn’t need regular maintenance. It can also be used in exterior siding.

B. Kitchens and Bathrooms

Apart from stain resistance, the eggshell finish is also moisture-resistant. This makes eggshell finish good to use in kitchens and bathrooms as well. Its low luster can also resist mold and mildew moderately. 

Even so, it’s still preferable to use semi-gloss and high gloss finishes for stronger moisture resistance. We recommend Behr products for a high-quality finish.

C. Garage and Ceilings

In areas like a garage, eggshell is better than flat paint since it can hold up against cleaning. However, in the long run with regular cleaning, its paint can fade, too. 

The same goes for ceiling areas, as it can conceal holes and patches, and even blend well in touch-ups. We recommend Rust-Oleum products for smooth blending and touch-ups.

For garage walls, neutral colors like grey, brown, and beige are ideal to use for paint colors. Not only it will give a modern style, but it will also be easier to clean than white shades of color paint. 

Can you make eggshell paint flat?

Yes, it’s possible to change your eggshell finish into flat paint by directly applying flat paint over eggshell paint. You can also use the sanding method to remove the gloss from eggshell paint. 

However, sanding is time-consuming and needs more work labor, so it’s only ideal for those who want to take their time to achieve a smooth finish result.

Can you make flat paint eggshell?

Yes, it’s possible to turn flat into an eggshell finish, though it’s a bit tricky. Even though you can directly put flat paint over eggshell, it may result in an uneven sheen. 

Hence, it’s advisable to mix satin paint and flat for an eggshell finish result. In mixing, we recommend using a mechanical mixer to properly mix.

Eggshell vs flat vs matte vs satin

Between eggshell vs flat vs matte vs satin, flat paint has the lowest level of sheen among the four. It only has less than a 5% gloss level, followed by matte paint with less than 10%. Next is eggshell with 10-25% and satin paint with 26-40%.

Flat and matte paint has almost the same appearance, with its chalky yet smooth surface. Both are best at hiding imperfections and are low maintenance.

While eggshell and satin paint also have the same subtle shine and smooth feeling surface. Both are easier to clean and offer more durability than flat and matte paint. Here’s a guide table showing where you can use eggshell vs flat vs matte vs satin.

Living rooms
Dining rooms
Family rooms
Interior furniture
Skirting boards
Car paint


Is eggshell paint more expensive than flat?

Eggshell paint only has a minimal difference of cost from flat paint. On average, eggshell costs between $5-10 than flat paint.

Do designers use flat or eggshell paint?

Most designers choose eggshell paint because its low sheen reflection gives more in-depth color. Also, its minimal reflection makes spaces look bigger. Thus, it’s an ideal paint as it’s cost-effective and gives a modern style to interior walls.

What is the difference between eggshell vs semi gloss?

Eggshell only has a slight luster while the semi-gloss finish has a higher sheen. This makes a total difference in hiding imperfections since semi-gloss is more reflective. Thus, it’ll highlight imperfections rather than cover them.

Can I mix eggshell and flat paint?

Yes, you can mix eggshell and flat paint finishes since the two sheens only have a little gap in the gloss level. However, it’s not possible if, for instance, you’ll mix eggshell and gloss paint, since the two have a large gap in their level of sheen.

Can you paint eggshell over flat paint?

It’s possible to paint eggshell over flat paint, however, if it’s not applied properly, it will only result in an uneven sheen.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, we can see how eggshell has a lot to offer than flat paint. Eggshell paint’s low sheen makes it more durable and ideal for most areas at home. While flat paint’s zero reflection is best for full coverage of imperfections.

From their maintenance, durability, and cost, it’s best to understand where they are good to use with your preferred style at home. 

We hope we helped you decide what’s ideal to use between eggshell vs flat paint. May you have a good day!