Semi-Gloss vs. Eggshell for Kitchens

Whether intentional or unintentional, kitchens are busy places filled with messes. One important feature that all DIY decorators should consider is the type of paint finish for their kitchen walls. It goes without saying that flat paint should be avoided because the walls endure constant scrubbing. Equally inappropriate for a kitchen might be the option of high gloss, given its ability to heighten wall imperfections. This leaves you with the options of eggshell and semi-gloss paints.

The best paint depends on how the kitchen will be used.


Eggshell paint has a slight shine, similar to a fresh egg's shell. Eggshell paint does reflect some light, which means that it may also show some major wall imperfections. The particular manufacturer determines how washable it will be. All eggshell finishes are able to be washed, and some can be scrubbed. Traditionally, eggshell paint has been recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms and trim work.


Semi-gloss paint is a step up from eggshell and has a much more noticeable gloss finish. Semi-gloss lasts longer than eggshell and dries harder. On the down side, semi-gloss also reflects more of the wall's surface imperfections than eggshell and will notably reflect light off of the wall.

Best Kitchens for Eggshell

If your kitchen experiences light to moderate use, eggshell would be a sufficient finish on the walls. Any homeowner that considers her kitchen more of a social hub and less of a cooking room can safely use eggshell and not worry about the life of the paint or how washable it is.

Best Kitchens for Semi-Gloss

If you constantly use your kitchen for cooking meals and find yourself with plenty of messes on the walls and countertops, then semi-gloss is a great choice for your kitchen. Semi-gloss can be scrubbed as needed to remove any messes on the walls and will last longer under rough conditions than eggshell. If you have young children, semi-gloss is a good choice for easy cleanup of finger paint, crayons, baby food and anything else your little one can use to decorate the walls.