What’s The Best Finish For Bathroom Paint?

There's nothing better--and nothing more challenging--than remodeling a bathroom. The paint finish you choose will lay the foundation for how your bathroom will look, so you need to choose wisely. You must be asking yourself what options you have for bathroom finishes, so we have researched answers for you.

Paint finishes make or break the colors you incorporate into your bathroom. The texture can either make the paint look classic, elegant, or conventional. Here are paint finishes you can try:

  • Matte for a tranquil appeal
  • Satin for elegance
  • Semi-Gloss for balance
  • High-Gloss for sophistication

Different colors react to different finishes. To create a beautiful bathroom, you need to familiarize yourself with the colors that go well with certain finishes or vice versa. Keep reading below to learn more about matching paint colors and finishes together. 

Modern inspired bathroom with white walls, a small window and two lavatory vanity and black tile flooring, What's The Best Finish For Bathroom Paint?

What's The Best Finish For Bathroom Paint?

Some finishes absorb light better than others. They range from opaque finishes such as matte to more glossy finishes like sheen and satin. Generally, the more reflective it is, the more expensive the value and upkeep.

Reflective finishes are easier to clean, but they also show fingerprints more easily. You need to weigh the pros and cons before committing to a particular finish and determine whether it fits your routine and lifestyle. 

Choosing the finish for your bathroom goes beyond aesthetics. The finish, especially matte, should at least be moisture-resistant to prevent water damage and mildew.

This will ensure that the finish lasts a long time, and you won't have to spend more over the span of a few years.

Read: "What Kind Of Paint Should You Use On Bathroom Cabinets?"

Matte for a Tranquil Appeal

Minimalist inspired bathroom with a marble countertop and black drawers

Matte finishes on bathrooms are generally not ideal since they are known to be prone to mold and mildew buildup. Fortunately, you can enjoy their minimalist and industrial style by getting a mold-resistant matte or eggshell finish. 

If you apply this finish on certain bathroom fixtures, it will add texture to a shiny bathroom. Ironically, too much sheen will make bathrooms look flat and uninspired. Incorporating matte on a section of the wall or on sinks or showers will give the bathroom depth and dimension.

Make sure that you prime the finish properly to prevent peeling. Steer clear from matte finishes that don't have mold resistance.

Satin for Elegance

A bright and white designed bathroom with pebbles surrounding the bathtub area and a snake plant on the side

Satin finishes are a cross between gloss and eggshell finishes. Although they don't have high reflectivity, light still bounces off them, adding to their luster. 

Satin finishes are also more versatile. They have the aesthetic benefits of high-gloss paints but still have a velvety sheen from the mixture of a flat finish. 

These finishes are also durable, so it is ideal for high-traffic areas. They hold their own against moisture, although there may still be others that are better at preventing water damage. All these factors combined, satin finishes are the happy medium of paint finishes in terms of looks and function. 

Semi-Gloss for Balance

White modern bathroom with a huge bathtub and plants on the side and white flooring

Often confused with satin finishes, semi-gloss has more sheen than satin. Although they are durable, they tend to scatter off the light that reflects on them, making dirt more visible. 

Because of their versatile aesthetic, they are better installed on bathroom walls. They also dry quicker, making bathroom wall management easier.

The texture will add dimension to your walls if you only choose to apply this finish on one section, but functionally it is best if you install it all around. 

High-Gloss for Sophistication

Ultra modern and minimalist inspired bathroom with a glass walled shower area

High-gloss paint finishes reflect the most light, giving your bathroom a more opulent appeal that's hard to replicate with matte and low-finish sheens.

They make the bathroom look brighter, cleaner, and modern with their timeless appeal. Although these finishes may expose dirt more, they are also easier to clean. The underlying advantage of having dirt exposed more is that you can immediately wipe it away and make your fixture more durable. 

With these qualities, it is unsurprising why high-gloss finishes tend to be pricier compared to others. If you want to invest in your bathroom's look, this may be for you. 

What colors go well with a matte finish?

Matte finishes mute the most vibrant or deep colors, so you won't have to worry about the colors looking visually overwhelming. Although most people prefer to feel invigorated while they shower in the morning, overly bright colors can cause the eyes to strain.

Matte finishes give us more freedom to explore deeper. But you can always stick to neutrals for a more classic flair and to have more aesthetic versatility.

However, we encourage you to delve deeper into colors. Matte finishes in black and white might look elegant, but other colors have their own classic charms too. Here are some examples.

Marine Green

A teal colored modern bathroom with white bathtub and laminated flooring

Marine green has a rich hue that is muted by its neutral undertones. Matte finishes make the color richer without looking tacky, making it a timeless bathroom color that gives your home value. 

With this color, you're guaranteed to feel refreshed every time you enter your bathroom to take a relaxing shower. Green is a color reminiscent of nature, making you feel more grounded and balanced.


Matte finishes in lavender give off a whimsical feel while still maintaining an air of elegance. Soft tones naturally blend well with bathrooms, especially if your bathroom is small and you want to give it a more spacious and bright appeal.

If you can't put this finish on walls or your bathtub, you can incorporate it on smaller fixtures such as a showerhead, faucet, or trims. 

Deep Blue

Two huge round mirrors mounted on a blue wall vanity

If you're not quite ready to let go of darker matte hues, going for deep blue is a logical next step. This will help you ease into more vibrant or brighter colors, and it will still give you the versatility you need to switch up your bathroom style. 

Blue finishes will also give a sense of tranquility, easing you into relaxation.

What colors go well with a satin finish?

Satin finishes have a slight sheen that makes them attractive to people who don't feel comfortable with finishes that have too much shine. The color options for satin are a bit limited but timeless and chic nonetheless!

Pale Green

Matte green painted bathroom walls with dangling lamps and a green tiled vanity with irregular shaped mirrors

This shade is the perfect foundation if you want to build a relaxing bathroom.

The color is similar to clear, shallow waters at the beach, instantly making you feel like you're on vacation. Pair it with other natural colors such as teal and brown, and it's perfect!


Ultra modern white bathroom with white walls, a pebble path walk and sunroof on the shower area

If you want a more opulent feel, go for satin finishes in gold. Although it may not replicate the refined look of high-gloss finishes, the color can still remind you of fancy hotels and classic vintage fixtures.

However, you don't want your bathroom to look too tacky. So instead of having purely gold-finished satin paint all over your bathroom, paint the color over an accent wall or on your countertops.

Gold finishes in satin hide fingerprints and watermarks relatively better than others. This may suit you if you don't always have time to wipe them off. The low-maintenance quality and elegant appeal of gold finishes make it luxurious both in form and function.

Read: "How To Paint Bathroom Countertops In 8 Steps."

What colors go well with a glossy finish?

Semi-Gloss fixtures are popular for their timelessness and clean look that makes the bathroom eternally posh. If you want the bathroom to remain timeless for years to come, stick to neutral colors and add pops of color on the fixtures instead.


Ultra modern and minimalist inspired bathroom with a glass walled shower area

White paint in a semi-gloss finish increases its ability to reflect light, giving almost the same effect as a high-gloss finish. White paint is generally preferred by many for complementing natural light, giving the bathroom fresh bursts of energy. 

However, you need to make sure that the white paint has warm undertones. You don't want white paint that reminds you of hospital rooms--you want something that reminds you of a bright sunny day!

Dark Neutrals

Rustic interior bathroom with brown tile cladding, round mirror and and brown tiled flooring

Dark neutrals such as brown-grey and deep beige go well with shiny finishes. They make the room feel more structured and dimensional without feeling dull. You can coordinate this finish with terra cotta flooring or marble tiles and add pops of color to the fixtures.

Final Thoughts

Modern inspired bathroom with white walls, a small window and two lavatory vanity and black tile flooring

The right finish is essential to how your bathroom would look after application. It will also determine the bathroom's functionality, atmosphere, and aesthetic. Make sure you choose ones that fit your style and suit your cleaning routine so they could benefit you for a long time.

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