What Paint Finish is Best for A Bathroom?

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May 10, 2023

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your home so it would make sense if you would want to make it look stylish and comfortable. But considering the space can get humid, your choice of paint finish has an effect on the longevity of your walls.

You’d want to use paint that can withstand moisture while also preventing mold and mildew from growing. Since there are plenty of paint finishes to choose from, below is a quick guide on which ones you should use.

What kind of paint do you use on bathroom walls?

The finish may seem like an insignificant detail when choosing paint for your bathroom walls, but in reality, it can actually make or break its maintenance. For durable paint sheens,  here are a few that you should consider:


High gloss is the most durable paint finish for bathroom walls since it contains the most resin and binder. These create a durable barrier against moisture from seeping into the surface and are easy to clean. It can withstand frequent scrubbing, allowing you to keep your bathroom spotless and hygienic.

Although, Soho Painters warns that high gloss paint has the tendency to amplify any imperfections on the wall, so make sure to prep the surfaces well before applying the paint.


If the glossy sheen is too much for your bathroom and you might want to tone it down, you’ll probably want to go for semi-gloss paint instead. Similar to its glossy counterpart, it’s durable and easy to clean so it can withstand washing and scrubbing. It also contains sufficient resin and binder to make it moisture-resistant, preventing mold and mildew growth.

But because of its reflective surface, any wall imperfections will still show through so the key is to prep the walls beforehand to ensure they’re smooth and even.


If you want your walls to have a bit of a sheen that doesn’t draw attention, satin paint might be the best elegant choice for you. Although it’s also durable, satin isn’t highly recommended for bathrooms that are used often since it’s not as long-lasting as high or semi-gloss paints.

But if you have your heart set on the elegant sheen of satin paint, it’s best to apply it to low-traffic bathrooms, like powder rooms or guest bathrooms.

What paint should not be used in bathrooms?

Now that you know which paint finishes will work best on bathroom walls, it’s only fair to be aware of which types you should stay away from.

Matte and flat paints aren’t the best for humid areas since they have the tendency to absorb moisture. They also have more pigment particles than resin and binder, making them a weak layer of protection against mold and mildew. Matte and flat paints won’t also stand frequent scrubbing, making it tougher to clean your bathroom walls.

But if you insist on using matte or flat paint, make sure to apply them in a low-traffic area, like a guest bathroom. Otherwise, you could opt for mildew-resistant formula – which could cost a pretty penny.

How to paint a bathroom

Once you’ve selected the right paint finish for your bathroom walls, here are the steps you’ll need to do for a flawless finish:

1. The first thing you need to do is to clean the walls from any soap scum, stains, or grime since these will interfere with how the paint will adhere to the surface. You can use a damp cloth or scrub them off with water and mild soap. Make sure to let the area dry completely before moving on to the next step.

2. Next is to remove all of your toiletries, shower curtains, mirrors, toilet tank, and other obstructions in your bathroom to make the process easier. Then, cover the areas that you don’t want to get paint on, like the floor, toilet, vanity, kitchen cabinets, or bathtub with drop cloths.

3. Aplpy 1-2 coats of primer for an extra layer of protection against moisture and mold. Make sure to let each coat dry before adding another layer.

4. When the primer is completely dry, you can finally apply the paint. Cut in the paint with a brush, and use a roller to cover the rest of the surface. 1-2 coats of paint should be sufficient, but remember to allow each coat to dry before adding another layer, and you’re done!

Looking for a painting contractor?

If you want a professional finish for your bathroom, Soho Painters are a fantastic painting contractor option in New York. Whether you need to freshen up a commercial or residential space, their experienced painters are guaranteed to give you the best results. Aside from bathrooms, they also specialize in painting interior or exterior spaces, giving your home a much-needed update. For questions or inquiries, contact their team now to get a free estimate.

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