Matte Vs. Flat Paint – Key Differences & Which One You Need?

Matte and flat are two types of paint available in the market. Both of these paints provide a subtle and muted look, but what are the key differences between the two that you should know before picking the right one for your project?

Matte paint has a velvety, smooth finish that is perfect for low-traffic areas, while flat paint has very little shine, making it ideal for walls that need to be washed often. Whether matte or flat paint is the right choice for your project will depend on the specific needs of your space.

Below I’ll discuss the differences between matte and flat paint, what they’re best used for, and how to choose the right one.

What Is The Difference Between Matte and Flat Paint?

When it comes to interior painting, there can be a lot of confusion between matte and flat paint. Both finishes are generally low sheen, but they have some subtle differences. To help clear up any confusion, let’s take a closer look at the difference between matte and flat paint.


  • Flat paint has a flatter finish, meaning it will have an almost velvety appearance.
  • On the other hand, matte paint has a slightly higher sheen, giving it a more subtle shine.


  • Flat paint is more suitable for low-traffic areas, such as bedroom walls or home offices. It is also suitable for ceilings and bathroom walls, as it is easy to clean and doesn’t show fingerprints or dirt easily.
  • Matte paint is more suitable for high-traffic areas, such as walls in kitchens and living rooms, as it is more resistant to scratches and dirt.


  • Flat paint has a low resistance to splashes and stains, making cleaning more difficult.
  • Matt paint has a higher resistance to splashes and stains, making cleaning easier.

Hide Imperfections

  • Flat paint can better conceal small flaws like dents, bumps, and cracks.
  • Matte paint offers a more even finish and is better at hiding imperfections.


  • Flat paint has a sheen of 0-5% and is virtually gloss-free.
  • Matte paint has a sheen of 5-10%, giving it a slight sheen but still appearing flat.

Flat paint has a flatter finish with less sheen, making it better for low-traffic areas and hiding imperfections. Matte paint has a slightly higher sheen of 5-10%, making it more suitable for high-traffic areas and easier to clean. But in terms of application, both finishes are fairly similar. Whichever finish you choose, use quality paint and primer to get the best results.

What Are The Best Uses For Flat Paint?

Flat paint is a popular choice among homeowners and interior designers alike. It’s easy to apply, comes in a wide range of colors, and is inexpensive. But what are the best uses for flat paint?

Accent Walls

Accent walls are a great way to give your home a unique look, and matte paint can create an eye-catching focal point. Flat paint can give the wall a subtle, sophisticated look, whether you choose a bold color or a muted shade.


Flat paint is ideal for ceilings because it hides imperfections and does not reflect light. This makes it a popular choice for ceilings in hallways, bedrooms, and other areas with a desired flat finish.


Trim is often overlooked, but it can make a big difference in the look of a room. Flat paint can give the trim a unique look that will add interest to any space.


Furniture can also benefit from the use of flat paint. Its low-luster finish gives the furniture a modern look while still providing a clean, polished look.


Cabinets can also be painted with flat paint to give them a modern, low-luster look. This paint is easy to clean, making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms.


Doors are often the first thing people see when entering a room, so it’s important to ensure they look their best. Flat paint can give doors a unique look that will make them stand out.

What Are The Best Uses For Matte Paint?

Matte paint has become increasingly popular due to its unique look and feel. It has a soft, velvety finish that adds to any space’s visual appeal and helps reduce glare. While matte paint may not be the best choice for high-traffic areas, it can be used effectively in various situations. Here are the best uses for matte paint.

What is the Difference Between Matte and Flat Paint, and When Would I Use Each?

Matte and flat paint are often used interchangeably, but they have slight differences. Matte paints have a smoother finish and a slightly higher level of sheen compared to flat paints. They are easier to clean and can withstand mild abrasion. On the other hand, flat paints have no sheen and provide a more velvety appearance. They are perfect for hiding imperfections on walls. When using masking tape for painting, it is important to understand these differences to achieve the desired effect on surfaces.


Matte paint is also a great choice for automotive applications. Its low sheen makes it a great choice for creating a unique and stylish look on any car. It can also be used to protect the car from the elements and help to prevent fading.

Many people also choose matte paint for their cars because it is easy to maintain and doesn’t require frequent waxing or polishing.


A great option for hallways and other places with poor lighting is matte paint. Its soft finish helps to reduce glare, which can make a hallway seem larger and more inviting. It also helps to reduce the risk of accidents since it lessens the chances of someone slipping on a shiny surface.

Bathroom And Kitchen

Because matte paint is less likely to show smudges and is easier to clean, it is a great option for bathrooms and kitchens. Its low sheen makes dirt and grime less visible, making it easier to keep these areas clean and free of fingerprints. Matte paint is also more moisture-resistant, so it is ideal for high-humidity areas.

How Do You Choose Between Matte And Flat Paint For A Specific Project?

When it comes to painting, there are many options, and you may be wondering how to decide between matte and flat paint for a specific project. The answer lies in understanding the differences between these two types of paint and which one is best suited for the job.

Matte paint has a low level of sheen and is great for walls that need to be covered in a single color. It’s also ideal for painting furniture and other surfaces that you don’t want to have too much shine. The downside to matte paint is that it does not hold up well to wear and tear, so if you’re looking for paint that will last for years, you may want to look at other options.

Flat paint, on the other hand, has an even lower level of sheen and is perfect for walls that require multiple colors or a layered effect. It also holds up better to wear and tear than matte paint, so it’s a better option if you want a lasting paint job. The downside to flat paint is that it tends to be a bit harder to work with, so if you’re a beginner, you may want to look at other options.

The best way to decide between matte and flat paint for a specific project is to consider your job and the result you’re looking for. If you’re painting walls and want a single color, matte paint is a good option. Flat paint is the way to go if you’re painting multiple colors or a layered effect on the walls.


The differences between flat and matte paint include the sheen and the ease of cleaning. Flat paint is best used for ceilings, low-traffic areas, and walls that don’t need frequent cleaning, while matte paint is best for automotive, kitchens, and hallways. When deciding which type of paint to use for a specific project, consider the sheen and the ease of cleaning the paint provides.

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