A fresh coat of paint is hands down the easiest way to refresh your bathroom. Even if you can’t fix a leaky faucet, you can easily paint your bathroom a relaxing new color. Finding the best paint finish for bathrooms is almost a science. Each finish gives your bathroom a different look and feel. Some are better than others and there are quite a few factors to consider before deciding on the best paint finish.
We’re going to take a look at the different types of paint finishes and what you should know about each one. Then we’ll share our favorite paint brands to get you started.
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Types of Paint Finishes
Buying paint for your bathroom isn’t the same as buying paint for any other room in your home. There are a few very important factors to consider before buying a finish for your bathroom.
To choose the best paint finish for bathrooms, you have to know a little bit about the different types of paint finishes.
Flat and matte finishes
Flat and matte finishes aren’t a great choice for a bathroom. These types of finishes aren’t very glossy and offer little reflection which is a big deal for your bathroom, which you want to feel light and airy.
Flat paints are full of pigment so they cover better than glossy paints, but they have fewer binders so it’s easier for moisture to seep through the finish.
Excessive moisture attacking the paint on your walls can wreak havoc. The paint might start to bubble and peel. Mold and mildew can grow — none of which you want in your bathroom.
This isn’t the only problem with a flat finish. It’s also not very washable. The texture sucks in and holds onto dirt and grime and when you try to wash flat paint, you run the risk of peeling it off of the wall. For this reason, flat isn’t the best paint finish for bathrooms.
Avoid flat paint for your bathroom at all costs. It works great in other rooms in your home, but not the bathroom.
Eggshell and satin finishes
These paint finishes have just a little bit of luster so they’re a step up from flat paints when it comes to glossiness. Both eggshell and satin paint are durable. They can take more than normal paint which means fewer scratches, dents, and peeling throughout the years. Because of this, they are easy to clean, too.
There is a catch, though. While they’re better for bathrooms than a flat or matte finish, they can still hold some moisture. If your bathroom isn’t particularly humid and has windows and good ventilation, these finishes will work fine. It’s not quite the best paint finish for bathrooms, however.
Semi-gloss and gloss finishes
As their names suggest, these finishes are the glossiest and shiniest. This works in your favor when you’re looking for paint in your bathroom.
Semi-gloss and gloss have more binders that pull the paint together in a tight bond. This means that moisture isn’t going to seep into this type of finish. Instead, it evaporates. You won’t have to worry about mold growing on your walls and ceiling.
The binders also make the paint super durable. A coat of these finishes can take a bit of wear and tear and cleaning these walls is easy.
That said, high gloss finishes don’t look very good on large surfaces. It’s simply too much gloss and shines. We prefer a semi-gloss finish. It has all the necessary features and still has your bathroom looking snazzy.
Paint finishes specifically for bathrooms
Yes, there are paints specifically made for bathrooms, and you can even choose a flat or matte finish. Because they’re specially made for bathrooms, their molecular structure is on point for moisture. These bathroom-specific paints are also made to be tough against damage.
The downside of this paint is the cost. Most bathroom paints cost more than a gallon of any other kind of house paint.
The Best Paint Finishes for Bathrooms
Here are some of our favorite paints to use in bathrooms.
Glidden Semi-Gloss Paint and Primer, Gray
Glidden Paint and Primer is a fantastic interior (and exterior) paint brand. They never disappoint and the paint has a perfect cover.
A bonus with this semi-gloss paint and primer is that you only need one coat. You don’t have to go over and over the area to get it to look right. That means less work and you’ll likely have some paint left over for another project in your home.
This paint has hide and stain blocking. That means it takes less paint to cover any stains and most stains will be hard to see. It also keeps out moisture and is tough enough to wash, making it the best paint finish for bathrooms. There’s minimal odor while you’re painting, too, which is always amazing.
Rust-Oleum Perma-White Satin Mold and Mildew-Proof Interior Paint, White
They made this Rust-Oleum paint specifically for rooms like bathrooms. This interior paint does not absorb all that moisture in the air so it’s both mold and mildew-proof.
Since it’s mold-proof, they were able to give this pain a nice satin finish that even works well on ceilings. It’s made to be stain-resistant and it’s durable enough to scrub without damaging the paint job.
There’s little odor while you’re painting, too, so you won’t be inhaling too many fumes.
The bottom line
For the best paint finish for bathrooms, we recommend semi-gloss, particularly if you’re on a budget.
If you’re diving into a full bathroom renovation, be sure to check out our guide to how to remodel a bathroom yourself as well as our picks for the best small bathroom sinks, the best shower curtains and the best bathroom vanity brands.