Eggshell vs Semi-gloss: Which Is The Best Choice? 

Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by Masha Eretnova

Eggshell vs Semi-gloss

Are you still in trouble with where to use an eggshell vs semi-gloss finish? 

Both are washable and preferable in many areas of the home, however, it still depends on the style and level of sheen you were looking for.

Between eggshell paint vs semi gloss paint, eggshell paint only gives a low sheen, similar to a skin surface of an egg. It’s best to use in moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms, and living rooms. Meanwhile, a semi-gloss paint finish has a higher gloss, which is ideal for trims, skirting boards, and woodwork.

Aside from their sheen level, eggshell vs semi-gloss paint still has a lot to offer for your preferred home interior finish or DIY artwork coat. Thus, we’re here to provide those key elements to find the right paint finish for you.

Learn more about different sheen levels:

What is the difference between eggshell and semi-gloss paint?

satin vs matte vs eggshell

Eggshell paint has low luster while semi-gloss paint finish gives a reflective surface. This makes eggshell paint suitable for a subtle glow in your room or painting. While semi-gloss paint is preferable to give your paint colors a vibrant and radiant life.

Differences in:Eggshell paintSemi-gloss paint
Sheen level10-25%30-75%
Ease to applyEasy to applyHard to apply
DurabilityLess durable, easy to cleanHighly durable, easier to clean
UsesBest to use in low-moderate traffic areas like bedrooms, living rooms, and sidingsIdeal for small spaces like interior furniture, skirting boards, and woodwork
MaintenanceLow maintenanceHigh maintenance
VisibilityBetter hide imperfectionsHighlighted imperfections
ResistanceHave little moisture-resistanceResistant against moisture, mold, and mildew
CoverageFair to full coverageFair coverage
CostBetween $2-10 price difference
RecommendedEggshell paint – $32.97Semi-gloss paint – $34.97

Eggshell vs semi-gloss appearance

Eggshell paint’s low shine makes it ideal to use in areas like bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms. It gives a clean and minimal style since it’s not glossy enough to change the paint color.

On the other hand, semi-gloss paint has a high gloss, making it not the best choice in larger areas. Its higher sheen makes the paint color darker after it dries. Thus, it’s preferable to use it in small spaces like trims, doors, and skirting boards.

Eggshell vs semi-gloss texture

Eggshell paint surface comes from the comparison of the skin of an egg. Its smooth and subtle glow makes eggshell paint popular in moderate-traffic areas. The paint color may look slightly lighter after it dries, though it still gives an accurate color than semi-gloss paint.

Eggshell vs semi-gloss durability

Semi-gloss paint has better durability than eggshell paint since its moisture-resistant and can withstand heavy cleaning without losing its sheen. 

Eggshell paint can’t withstand heavy maintenance since it’s not glossy as semi-gloss paint and its paint will fade sooner.

Eggshell vs semi-gloss cost

Eggshell finish vs semi-gloss price can vary depending on the brand. On average, it can cost from $2 to $10. Take for example the table below from the same brand. 

Eggshell paint (Glidden) around $33
Semi-gloss paint (Glidden) around $35

What is eggshell paint?

Eggshell paint sheen stands between flat and satin paint. Its sheen level range from 10-25%. Its low shine makes it a popular choice for designers because it also has reasonable cost and durability.

Eggshell paint is also easier to apply than semi-gloss paint, using a roller and the W wipe method. Although eggshell paint might be the best choice, you still need to keep in mind its downside, which you can check below:


  • Best to use in moderate traffic areas and large spaces like bedrooms, living rooms, and siding
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to apply
  • Better hide imperfections on your walls
  • Reasonable cost
  • Dries quicker than semi-gloss paint


  • Less durable than semi-gloss paint
  • Can’t withstand heavy cleaning
  • Touch-ups are noticeable

What is eggshell paint used for?

Eggshell paint finishes have a low sheen and are best used for low to moderate-traffic areas like bedrooms, dining rooms, home offices, and living rooms. It goes well with neutral and white color paints and gives fair coverage to cover up marks and flaws.

Types of Eggshell Finish Products

Eggshell finish offers a wide variety of products that you can use for interior walls, canvas, wood surfaces, and DIYs. You can check our given lists below to know these products:

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

If you want to know further where and how you can use these products, you can check our other posts: Eggshell vs Flat: Which Is Best To Use?

Is eggshell paint same as gloss?

No, eggshell paint only has a subtle amount of gloss, 10-25%, compared to gloss paints that have the highest sheen level, usually 70-90%. Eggshell gives a clean and minimal look, while semi-gloss paints give a lustrous appearance.

What is semi-gloss paint?

Semi-gloss paint reflects light more than eggshell paint. Its sheen level range from 30-75%, giving a reflective surface. Semi-gloss paint is usually a better choice for smaller spaces since its reflection adds more space.

However, you might have a hard time applying it, since it’s more prone to visible brush strokes. In applying, we recommend starting from top to bottom, or a single wipe strategy for even sheen.

Semi-gloss paint has still a lot to offer, though also keep in mind the downsides of using it as well.


  • Best to high-traffic areas and small spaces like trims, doors, skirting boards, hallways, and woodwork
  • Easier to clean
  • More durable, moisture-resistant
  • Ideal in hardworking rooms like kitchens and bathrooms
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Withstand wear and tear
  • Ideal finish for kids and pets


  • Harder to apply
  • Highlight touch-ups
  • Highlight imperfections on your walls
  • Dry longer than an eggshell paint

When do I use semi gloss paint?

The semi-gloss paint finish is ideal to use in smaller areas and furniture that have architectural details. Because semi-gloss paint is reflective, dents and scratches will be noticeable, making it not a better choice in large spaces.

However, there are exceptions like kitchens and bathrooms. Gloss paints are ideal to use in these areas since they can withstand moisture, mold, and mildew that usually take place there.

Types of Semi-gloss Finish Products

Semi-gloss paint finish can be used not only for small furniture or home decor, but it’s also highly ideal to use in woodwork, painting finish, and other paint jobs. You can check out the different products it can offer below:

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

Semi-gloss Paint Finishes

Semi-gloss paint gives you the gloss that you need for your walls and paintings. It’s a better choice for a long-lasting finish. For drying time, it usually takes about 1-2 hours before applying another coat.

If you’re choosing between eggshell vs semi gloss white paint, you can use semi-gloss paint pairing it with glass if you’ll use it to make the room bigger. Though keep in mind that it will highlight imperfections on your walls.

Semi-gloss Clear Coat Finishes

If you plan to use a clear coat in your car paint, Sherwin-Williams eggshell vs semi-gloss paint is commonly the choice. For automotive clear coats, we recommend the Sherwin-Williams brand for a smooth and clear protective coat, though you can also try other clear coats as long as it’s high quality.

Semi-gloss clear coat offers a durable and easy-to-clean finish, ideal for cars’ dents and scratches. Though it needs regular maintenance since its reflective surface makes the marks noticeable, compared to eggshell paint that better hides imperfections. 

Semi-gloss Wood Stains

Semi-gloss wood stains give your wood a lustrous color, although it will look darker after it dries. It usually dries to the touch for about 2 hours. Be careful if you’ll put a second coat because it can result in early peeling if it’s not cured well.

Wood stains work together with wood finish because stains aim to change the color of the wood rather than giving protection. Offering wood protection is the job of wood finish where it stands against dirt and water. Thus, most woodworkers chose to use both.

Semi-gloss Aerosol Spray Paints

Semi-gloss spray paints can be used for protection in interior paint, wood, metal, ceramic, and glass. We recommend using spray paints in a well-ventilated area. It’s advisable to open windows or use an electric fan while applying to avoid paint fumes.

If you want to use semi-gloss spray paints for metal, we recommend using oil-based spray paints. Oil-based paints are ideal to use on metal surfaces because they offer better adhesion making the pain last longer.

However, keep in mind that semi-gloss enamel imperfections will be highlighted since it’s a reflective surface. Yet in terms of durability, it’s the best choice over eggshell enamel since it can stand against wear and tear. 

Thus, between eggshell enamel vs semi-gloss enamel spray paint, semi-gloss enamel offers a durable and easier-to-clean coat.

Semi-gloss Varnishes

Semi-gloss varnishes are best to use on wood work, frames, but can also be used on cabinets, trims, and wooden doors. Craft varnishes are ideal for your final coat of artwork, but they are mostly glossy with no semi-gloss option.

Read the guide on How to Varnish an Acrylic Painting

Semi-gloss Sealants

Semi-gloss sealers are commonly used for concrete surfaces like garage floors, walkways, driveways, and patios. This provides protection on the surface from stains and gives long-lasting paint. 

For exterior sealers, it takes about 1-3 years before the seal is worn out, and 3-7 years for the interior.

Spray sealers however are usually gloss or high-gloss without a semi-gloss option.

Semi-gloss Polyurethane

Semi-gloss polyurethane is best to use in doors, floors, furniture, cabinets, and low-foot traffic areas, because semi-gloss reflects light more than eggshell paint, highlighting foot traces and stains.

If you plan to add another layer of coat over the paint, make sure to sand it first because, without proper sanding, polyurethane often will not give proper adhesion. With this, the polyurethane will peel off sooner and get damaged.

Is eggshell or semi-gloss better for walls?

Eggshell paint finish is ideal to use than semi-gloss for walls because it better hides imperfections and is also easy to clean, just use a water and damp cloth. Semi-gloss paint is very reflective, so it will tend to highlight imperfections.

However, semi-gloss paint is best to use for exterior walls since it offers better durability, which is needed for harsh weather and prolonged wear and tear. It’s also easier to clean, without risking losing its sheen, making it perfect for regular maintenance.

When to use eggshell vs semi-gloss paint?

Eggshell and semi-gloss paint give different styles for your home. If you want a minimal look, eggshell paint got you. But if you want a fun and vibrant color for your room, semi-gloss paint is here for you.

To further check other areas, we provide you lists of where you can use these2 finishes.

  • Bedrooms – eggshell
  • Living rooms – eggshell
  • Playrooms – semi-gloss
  • Dining rooms – eggshell
  • Family rooms – eggshell
  • Hallways – semi-gloss
  • Exterior – eggshell
  • Kitchens – semi-gloss
  • Bathrooms – semi-gloss
  • Ceilings – eggshell
  • Trims – semi-gloss
  • Doors – semi-gloss
  • Interior furniture – semi-gloss
  • Skirting boards – semi-gloss
  • Garage – semi-gloss
  • Car paint – semi-gloss

A. Bedrooms and Large rooms

Eggshell paints are commonly preferred in terms of large rooms since it has enough gloss that can make them easy to clean. 

It also better hides dents, and covers holes, and patches, making it popular with designers that want to sell houses.

It’s also ideal for ceilings because eggshell paint has low maintenance compared to semi-gloss paints. Between eggshell vs semi gloss exterior, eggshell is still preferable as its gloss is enough for reflection of light and also offers reasonable durability.

For paint finishes, we recommend using Glidden eggshell paints.

B. Kitchens and Playrooms

Hardworking rooms like kitchens and bathrooms are the best areas to use semi-gloss paints. Because it offers moisture, mold, and mildew resistance, making its paint and gloss stays longer than eggshell paints.

Semi-gloss paints are also suitable for heavy cleaning rooms like playrooms where fingerprints, marks, and scratches usually take place. Its high gloss makes it have high durability in cleaning since rough scrubbing will not lose its sheen.

We recommend using Glidden or BEHR semi-gloss products.

C. Interiors and Garages

If eggshell paints are ideal for large spaces, semi-gloss paints are suitable for smaller areas like interior furniture, trims, and skirting boards.

Its high gloss finish tends to stand out marks and scratches, thus it’s only preferable for smaller areas. With semi-gloss paint, your furniture’s architectural key points can be highlighted.

However, there are exceptions where you can use semi-gloss paint in large areas like garages. Garages tend to have imperfections and dents that can be removed by cleaning. Its need for regular maintenance makes semi-gloss paint ideal to use.

The same goes for car paints where we recommend Rust-Oleum products, best for automotive finishes.

Eggshell vs semi gloss vs satin

Between eggshell vs semi-gloss vs satin, the eggshell finish has the lowest sheen. Eggshell and satin paint can be confusing because they offer the same level of glow. However, the satin finish actually has more sheen, with a 26-40% sheen level.

On the other hand, a semi-gloss finish provides a higher gloss and reflection, making it more robust and durable than the other two finishes. 

Between eggshell vs semi-gloss vs satin, each finish provides a unique look to your rooms. Eggshell and satin paint are ideal for a minimal and clean appearance, preferably using neutral and light colors. 

While a semi-gloss finish brightens up the room and highlights the architectural features of your home decor. Thus, the three finishes can be used depending on your preferred style.

If you’re uncertain which areas at home you can use these finishes, you can check the table below:

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

How to make eggshell paint semi-gloss

If you have a change of heart and want to achieve that reflective surface, it’s possible to turn eggshell paint into semi-gloss. You can directly apply a semi-gloss coat over the eggshell, though be careful with touch-ups that may be highlighted and result in uneven sheen.

Alternatively, you can mix gloss and matte paints but it only has to be the paints of the same brands and exactly same color shade.

How to make semi-gloss paint eggshell

Since semi-gloss has a higher sheen, you can reduce its gloss with deglosser, though sanding still has better results to smooth and even sheen. After reducing the gloss, you can now apply a coat of eggshell finish until you achieve that subtle glossy finish.

Can you mix semi-gloss with eggshell paint?

Yes, it’s possible to mix semi-gloss and eggshell finish. Mixing the two will result in a pearl-like appearance or a satin finish. However, we recommend using the same brand and type of paint to get better results. In mixing, we advise using a mechanical mixer to avoid uneven sheen.

Why is eggshell paint shiny?

A shiny eggshell finish can cause by 2 reasons:

  1. First, you put excessive paint on the brush, which makes the extra paint add a gloss to the wall surface. Putting excessive layers on the wall surface makes its sheen double, which results in a more reflective surface. 
  2. Second, the curing time is not enough, making the added coat give another gloss. Furthermore, the amount of light and where it reflects in the room also have an effect on how the paint finish will look. 

Also, make sure to stir it properly before applying because it will also result in an uneven sheen. 

Will semi-gloss or eggshell paint loose sheen?

Eggshell finish tends to lose sheen sooner than semi-gloss since eggshell finish has less gloss. This makes the eggshell finish less durable for heavy cleaning than semi-gloss that can withstand wear and tear.


Is eggshell shinier than semi-gloss?

Eggshell finish has lower sheen than semi-gloss. From its name, it gives a smooth and subtle glow like an eggshell surface. For a shinier finish, we recommend using a semi-gloss paint finish.

Is eggshell paint washable?

Yes, eggshell finish can also stand against moderate cleaning because it has enough gloss to be cleanable. Moderate cleaning will not result in an early loss of paint sheen.

Related: Is Acrylic Paint Washable on Skin, Fabric, Clothes, Walls, Wood, etc.?

Is eggshell or semi-gloss easier to clean?

Semi-gloss is easier to clean than eggshell because it has a higher gloss. The higher the gloss, the more durable and moisture-resistant it is.

Final Notes

Eggshell and semi-gloss paint are both good choices depending on your preferences. Eggshell paint’s low sheen is best for hiding some imperfections and offers fair durability. However, semi-gloss paint offers a more durable and long-lasting paint, though it will tend to highlight imperfections.

Thus, this makes eggshell paint suitable for larger areas at home, while semi-gloss paint is the best choice for trims, doors, furniture, and woodwork.

We hope we help you decide on the right paint sheen for you. May you have a good day!