Difference Between Gloss and Satin

Gloss vs Satin

Gloss and satin are words commonly heard when people are talking about the finish of paint on the walls or the furniture. These words trouble those who go out to purchase paint when they are repainting their homes. It all depends upon the type of finish one wants from the walls or other structures to be painted. Apart from finishes created over walls, the words gloss and satin are also used for paint types. This article attempts to highlight the differences between satin and gloss to enable readers to choose the right sheen for a surface.


Gloss is a word used to refer to the sheen of a surface or the extent or level to which it reflects light. Gloss is a shiny finish that is desirable both in the interior, as well as exterior walls. There are paints that are glossy in nature and specially used on some exterior walls to have a great sheen. One thing to remember while buying paints is that glossy paints are required only when you want sheen on the walls or other objects where they are applied as a coat.

Glossy paints are washable in nature and thus used often in places where water is used such as bathrooms and kitchens. Glossy finish reflects a lot of light and shows up all imperfections. There is a level of gloss with even glossy finish, and there are paints with 70-85% gloss while semi-gloss is a finish that is obtained with paints having 35-70% gloss.


Satin is a finish that has less sheen than gloss. There is 20-35% gloss on the walls and other surfaces where this paint is applied. Satin paint is highly durable and also washable. It also gives a degree of reflection and is considered to be a universal choice for exterior walls. This finish allows dust to be cleaned very easily. Satin paint is ideal to be applied in places with a high traffic as it is resistant to scrubbing and cleaning. It is used on doors and exterior walls, to allow for easy cleaning.

Gloss vs Satin

• Gloss is shinier than satin.

• Gloss shows up imperfections easily.

• Satin is used for exterior walls in places with high traffic.

• Gloss creates a dramatic effect and is used to highlight architectural elements or aspects.

• If you want a smooth finish but not a very high level of reflection, satin is ideal for you.

• Doors and windows are better off with satin finish.

• Satin is better for ceilings and interior walls, whereas gloss is better for exterior walls.