Best Paint Finish for Bathrooms

Here’s our guide to the best paint finish for bathrooms including the best paint to use for small bathrooms, the ceiling, walls and cabinets.Beautiful bathroom with yellow wall paint clawfoot tub

When it comes to home bathroom ideas and improvements, one of the most important things to consider aside from the bathroom paint color is the paint finish.

The issue is more than just the aesthetic appeal the paint can provide, but also about other vital factors like its durability and how much it can control troublesome moisture problems. [toc]

Choosing The Best Bathroom Paint Finish

It’s extremely important to take note of the following factors when it comes to choosing the best paint finish for your bathroom

Mildew or mold-resistantMildew and mold build-ups normally thrive in the bathroom because of its humid and moist environment. While paints do not completely prevent them from building up, some are highly mold-resistant. 

Washable – If you don’t want to find yourself scrubbing your bathroom walls regularly, choose a paint finish that is highly resistant to dust, dirt. and grease.

DurableRegularly cleaning your bathroom walls may cause some paint to dull after some time.  So in the long run, long-lasting paint finishes are actually more cost-effective than your regular paint finishes. 

Types of Finish Options for Bathroom Paint

With a variety of paint finishes available on the market, homeowners often agonize over the best one to choose, especially for one of the most essential areas of the house, which is the bathroom

Let’s take a look at the different types of paint finishes including their respective pros and cons, to help you decide which is the best type for your bathroom.

Flat Finish

Bathroom in gray walls matte finish

As the name suggests, flat paint finish has no sheen. Because of its lack of reflection, the paint pigment seeps through thoroughly, resulting in a flawless finish.

So if you want to hide any cracks or flaws on your bathroom walls, this type of finish will suit your preference.

Its lack of luster, however, makes it more prone to molds and mildew. Plus, they are very difficult to clean, and regular scrubbing can affect the finish

Because of this, a flat finish is actually not highly recommended for the bathroom interior.

However, if you really insist on a flat finish, there’s a premium version that works well for humid conditions.

Satin Finish

Modern bathroom with playful colors and satin finish

Satin finish is often confused with eggshell paint finish because of their striking similarity. However, as opposed to eggshell which has a low luster quality, satin paint finish has a noticeable dull shine. 

Just like a flat paint finish, satin hides imperfections and flaws on your walls exceptionally well. Moreover, its soft shine creates a luxurious illusion of a flawless, even surface. 

Satin paint is durable and easy to clean, so it’s perfect for places that need regular maintenance and cleaning, including the bathroom. Nonetheless, it works best for bathrooms with low moisture and humidity. 

Eggshell Finish

Cozy bathroom with blue walls in eggshell finish

Eggshell finish, like mentioned above, is nearly shine-free. Unlike the flat finish, eggshell is more durable and easier to clean. Because it slightly reflects light, it beautifully casts a soft glow to the surface. 

Eggshell finish is often used to paint hallways or living rooms, which creates a naturally stylish and elegant effect on these spaces. Just like the satin finish, eggshell is best suited for bathrooms without a lot of moisture and humidity. 

Semi-gloss Finish

Modern bathroom interior with semi gloss finish

Semi-gloss has a higher sheen quality than satin paint because it has more resins and binders. Because of this, a semi-gloss finish has a tighter molecular structure than flat or satin paint

What does it mean for your bathroom?

The glossier it is, the easier it is to clean. A glossy finish makes your bathroom more moisture-repellent, preventing molds and mildew from building up on your bathroom wall

Semi-gloss is also durable and can withstand heavy scrubbing. 

Because of this, semi-gloss is usually the most recommended paint finish for bathrooms, especially if you have a humid bathroom

High Gloss Finish

Dark bathroom interior with high gloss finish

A high gloss finish is the most durable and the easiest to clean. However, while it is the most perfect choice for your bathroom, the glossy surface does not really complement big bathrooms well.

So if you have a big bathroom, a semi-gloss finish is preferable.

Finish To Use For Small Bathrooms

One of the best bathroom ideas for small spaces is using a high-gloss finish. They make your space appear larger and are also easier to clean. 

Basically, a high-gloss finish has a similar effect to putting a mirror in your room. The glossy surface reflects light easily, giving the illusion of a wider space and makes a room look brighter. 

Thus, a high gloss finish is an ideal choice for darker rooms or those that are lacking in natural light. 

What Finish For A Bathroom Ceiling

Bathroom in gray and white interior

Bathroom ceilings are prone to mildew and mold build-up. Because they are difficult to clean— especially if you have a high ceiling— they often don’t receive the same care and maintenance as bathroom walls

To keep molds from building up, you will need a paint finish that is highly resistant to moisture. Thus, paint experts recommend using water-based acrylic latex paint with either a satin or semi-gloss finishA high gloss finish also works but some people find it too shiny for their taste.

We’ve also got an article for if you are painting over shower tiles on this page.

Why water-based acrylic latex paint

This type of paint dries faster than its counterparts. They are also more durable, washable, and moisture-resistant.

Finish for Bathroom Vanity and Cabinets

Striking blue bathroom cabinets painted with satin finish

Just like any other area of your bathroom, your vanity cabinet is prone to moisture and fungal build-up. Hence, to protect them from staining and further extend their lifespan, a semi-gloss or satin paint finish is recommended.

Not only are they highly resistant to dirt, but they are also easier to clean.

Before painting your cabinets, lightly sand them first to remove any old coats of paint then apply a primer. This will ensure that the paint finish will adhere evenly to the cabinet’s surface. 

The Verdict

Experts recommend choosing either satin or semi-gloss finish for your bathroom paint colors because of their durability and washability.

However, take note that satin looks best in bathrooms with low moisture and humidity while semi-gloss works well for spaces with high humidity and moisture. 

Are you planning a bathroom painting project? Let our readers of your favorite painting process tips, or share any questions you have in the comments. Visit this article on best bathroom layouts for more related content. 

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