Is Flat or Matte Paint Better for a Living Room?

Paint is an important aspect of interior design, and deciding on the right type of paint for your living room can be challenging. Flat and matte paints are two popular options for a living room because of their smooth and even finish. But which is best?

Flat works best in areas with low to moderate traffic, like living rooms. It is also budget-friendly and gives walls a subtle velvety look. The downside of flat paint is that it can be difficult to clean and does not stand up well to light scrubbing, unlike matte paint.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • The 6 factors to consider in choosing a paint finish
  • The pros and cons of flat paint
  • The pros and cons of matte paint
  • How to decide between flat and matte

The 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paint Finish for Living Rooms

1. Room Lighting

The natural and artificial lighting of the room can significantly influence the selection of a paint finish. You can go for a glossier finish if your living room receives much natural light.

Glossier finishes reflect light well, bringing out the room’s brightness. A matte finish may be ideal if your living room has limited natural light. Matte finishes absorb light and create a warm, cozy ambiance.

2. Room Architecture

Understanding the architecture of your living room can help you choose the right paint finish. Rooms with intricate details such as crown molding and baseboards may look better with a glossier finish as it highlights and enhances these features. On the other hand, living rooms with simple architectural designs may work well with a muted finish.

3. Room Usage

The activity level in your living room can determine the durability of your chosen paint finish. If you have children or pets, you may want a finish with some gloss, as they are easier to clean and can withstand wear and tear.

A matte finish could be ideal if your living room is used mainly for relaxation purposes as it provides a soothing atmosphere without drawing too much attention.

4. Wall Surface and Condition

The condition of the wall surface also plays a role in picking the right paint finish for your living room. If you are dealing with imperfections or uneven surfaces, consider using a flat finish to help camouflage them. Glossier finishes highlight any issues with the wall and make them more noticeable.

5. Ease of Cleaning

Depending on the usage, cleaning needs can vary. A room that is used often will require frequent cleaning and maintenance, and paints with some gloss in them are easier to wipe down than flat finishes. However, if you do not use the living room very often, a flat finish may suit your needs better as it does not show marks or dirt easily.

6. Personal Preference

Above all, personal preference is essential when choosing a paint finish for your living room. What looks great in one person’s living room may not suit another’s. Your taste, style, and personality should be crucial in your final decision. Choose a finish that you love and will enjoy spending time in.

Pros and Cons of Flat Paint

Flat paint is a type of paint with a low sheen or gloss level. This means it has a smooth, non-reflective finish that absorbs light rather than reflecting it.

It is commonly used on interior walls and ceilings in residential and commercial settings. It is popular because it can help hide imperfections in walls and surfaces, giving a more uniform look to the space. Flat paint also provides a subtle, elegant appearance that can help create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

Pros of Using Flat Paint in Living Rooms

Flat paint is an ideal choice for ceilings for several reasons. Its non-reflective appearance helps to mask imperfections in the ceiling surface.

Flat paint can hide small defects by absorbing light instead of reflecting it, making the ceiling appear smoother. It also produces a uniform appearance, which helps to make the room look more cohesive.

One of the main advantages of using flat paint on your ceiling is that it helps to reduce glare and reflection. This makes it popular for people who want to create a relaxed and cozy living space. 

Cons of Using Flat Paint in Living Rooms

One of the downsides of using flat paint is its lack of durability. Flat paint is more prone to wear and tear than other paint finishes. Due to its porous nature, flat paint is more susceptible to damage, such as scratches or scuffs, especially if the area is frequently used.

Flat paint also tends to absorb more dirt, dust, and stains, making cleaning a challenging task. Unlike glossier finishes, flat paint can’t be wiped down easily, and attempting to clean it may lead to discoloration or even paint damage.

Another disadvantage of using flat paint is its inability to reflect light effectively. The lack of reflectiveness can dim the living room, especially in rooms with limited natural light.

Pros and Cons of Matte Paint

Matte paint is ideal for living rooms because it provides a cozy and intimate atmosphere. It has a very low level of gloss. It is perfect for rooms where you want to relax and unwind, as it softens the overall look and feel of the space.

Pros of Using Matte Paint in Living Rooms

Using matte paint in living rooms has become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason. This type of paint offers several benefits that make it an ideal choice for any 


Matte paint is great at concealing imperfections on walls. This is particularly useful in older homes or uneven walls where standard gloss or semi-gloss finishes can highlight bumps or cracks. Matte paint’s flat finish helps to even out the appearance of walls, making them look smooth and clean.

One of the most significant advantages of using matte paint in living rooms is how it influences light. Unlike glossy paints, which can reflect light and cause glare, matte paint creates a soft, diffuse light that is easier on the eyes.

Cons of Using Matte Paint in Living Rooms

Although matte paint has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially in interior design, it has drawbacks, particularly when used in living rooms.

Despite having a low-sheen, matte paint is still highly absorbent, easily stained, or marked by spills, dirt, or general wear and tear. This is a particular problem in living rooms that are frequently used.

Even minor spills or scuffs can leave noticeable marks that are difficult to remove, and over time these blemishes can add up and detract from the overall appearance of the space.

Another downside of using matte paint in living rooms is that it can be difficult to clean. Because it is absorbent, typical cleaning methods such as wiping with a wet cloth or using soap and water may be ineffective or even cause more surface damage.

Flat vs. Matte: Which Should You Choose?

Flat paint has a non-reflective finish, which can be beneficial for hiding imperfections on walls and ceilings. It also tends to be easier to touch up if needed.

However, flat paint is not as durable as other finishes and can be difficult to clean without leaving marks or discoloration.

On the other hand, matte paint is a great choice for walls that require a little more durability. It has a slight sheen, which can help clean and prevent scuffs and markings. However, imperfect walls may not be ideal as the slight sheen can highlight them.

A matte finish may be the better choice if you have children or pets and anticipate frequent spills or marks on your walls. However, a flat finish could be the way to go if you prioritize a smooth, even appearance and don’t require as much durability.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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