Flat Paint vs Eggshell: Which Is Better Ceiling Paint?

The debate between flat and eggshell paint is determined by if you want a more pigmented finish or a glossy finish. But should you use flat or eggshell paint on the ceiling?

Flat paint is better than eggshell paint because experts recommend flat paint be used on the ceiling. Eggshell paint isn’t often used on ceilings, and flat paint offers a clean finish. Meanwhile, eggshell paint is quite shiny, which can be distracting if this type of paint is used on the ceiling.

Here are the facts on flat and eggshell types of paints and which one is better to use on the ceiling.

What is Flat Paint?

Flat paint is a type of paint used as concealer paint. Flat paint does not reflect light and instead absorbs the light that goes toward the paint in a room. Flat paint is an easier paint finish to use than other paint types because of the type of finish it has. It is also relatively hard to mess up.

In addition to all of this paint’s qualities, it is also a rather inexpensive option to choose. Flat paint offers a better finish on walls that are not going to be touched.

When to Use Flat Paint

It is best to use flat paint on bumpier walls that have a lot of scratches or holes. Flat paint is good at covering up mistakes and is more forgiving than other types of paints, including eggshell paint. It is generally better to use flat paint in areas where there is less traffic, such as ceilings, an office, or dining rooms.

Where Not to Use Flat Paint

Flat paint is best not to be used in areas such as bedrooms, playrooms, the kitchen, or bathrooms. However, it can be used in commonly used areas if you use high-quality flat paint.

Higher-quality flat paints are more forgiving. If there are any blemishes on the wall, they could potentially be removed or covered by a high-quality flat paint.

What is Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell paint has a sheen to it. It has a smooth finish that reflects light, leaving a shinier look that you will likely notice when walking past. Eggshell paint is washable, which means that stains and other things can be easily removed from this type of paint.

Eggshell paint is able to reflect light better than a matte paint option like flat paint. Eggshell paint is a great paint to use in homes where there are kids.

When to Use Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint works well in areas of higher traffic such as bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways, as well as kitchens and bathrooms. For areas like door frames and window trims, eggshell paint also works well. If you will potentially get residue on the wall, use eggshell paint so you can easily remove it in the future.

Where Not to Use Eggshell Paint

Even though eggshell paint is perfect for many things, there are still areas where it wouldn’t be the best option to choose from.

Eggshell paint is not good to use to cover drywall or paint imperfections. This is because you likely have matte paint in your home or the room that you are typically painting, and the eggshell paint would clash with the matte paint.

Eggshell paint should also be used in outdoor areas, as this type of paint holds up well to fluctuations in temperature and exposure to moisture.

Eggshell paint is not a good option to use in areas that have a high amount of traffic. These areas are prone to leave more damage to the paint than eggshell paint can handle, and it will cause the paint to look bad within a few years.

Differences Between Eggshell and Flat Paint

Flat paint and eggshell are different based on the following categories.


Eggshell paint is slightly shiny, whereas flat paint is matte, so it has no reflective properties. This is one of the reasons why it is called “flat” paint, as it looks quite flat, especially when painted on a wall.


The durability of flat and eggshell paint both have their challenges. Scratches and other blemishes can occur with both types of paints. However, eggshell paint is more durable than flat paint and can easily be washed. Eggshell paint often looks better longer than flat paint.

Which Paint is Best for Ceilings?

Flat paint is better to use to paint the ceiling than eggshell paint. Eggshell paint should not be used on ceilings, and many professionals advise against doing so.

Eggshell paint is better to be used on areas such as front doors, windowsills, or baseboards. The shiny look would not look good on the ceiling because it would clash with the rest of the walls. Plus, the paint will reflect light during various times of the day, and it may reflect light into your eyes.

It will also attract attention to the ceiling, which you don’t want if it is not completely smooth. Eggshell paint also will struggle to hide drywall lines, which will make your ceiling look uneven and like it was not professionally done.

Flat paint, on the other hand, has a matte finish that will not reflect the light around the room. If flat paint is used on the ceiling, it will effectively reduce the glare from the walls around the ceiling as well as the ceiling in itself.

Since flat paint does not reflect light, it works well enough to hide any imperfections that may be on the ceiling such as drywall lines. Flat paint can also easily be used to cover any imperfections in the paint that you are covering.

Overall, flat paint is better to use to paint the ceiling than eggshell paint. If you have vaulted ceilings, your eye will naturally be drawn to it, so you don’t need to use eggshell paint to make your vaulted ceiling more noticeable.

If you want to use a different type of paint on your ceiling, consult a professional painter and ask them what the best type of paint to use is.

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