Difference Between Flat and Matte

Difference – Flat vs Matte

Flat, matte, egg-shell, satin and suede are some types of paint finishes. Gloss or sheen is the main difference between these types. Flat and matte are finishes that have no or minimum gloss. However, it is also important to keep in mind that various paint manufacturers use these terms interchangeably. So whether a paint has high sheen or low sheen would also depend on the brand you choose. Flat and matte are often used interchangeably by many paint manufacturers. Thus, there is no difference between flat and matte. The main fact to remember about this finish is that it has the lowest sheen. 

This article will explain,

1. What is Flat/Matte

2. What are the Qualities of Flat/Matte
       – Advantages and Disadvantages

3. Where to Use Flat/Matte Finish

4. Summary

What is Flat/Matte

As mentioned above, flat is synonymous with matte. So most paint companies use these two words interchangeably. Note that matte is also sometimes written as matt, but there is no difference between these two spellings. Flat/matte finish has no or little sheen since it absorbs light. They give your walls a smooth and subtle look.

Difference Between Flat and Matte

What are the Qualities of Flat/Matte

As mentioned above the main quality of flat finish is low sheen. There are both advantages and disadvantages of this finish.


Matte/flat finish can hide imperfections in the surface of walls since it absorbs light rather than reflecting. This finish has the most pigments and provides the best coverage out of all other finishes. So it also saves money. 


At the same time, this finish can attract dirt easily, making it difficult to clean. Cleaning can also remove the paint. However, some paint companies like Behr, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have made scrubbable versions of this finish which are easier to clean.

Where to Use Flat/Matte Finish

Flat/Matte finish is ideal for use in ceilings and walls in adult bedrooms and other interior rooms that have low traffic. It can be also used in dining rooms and living rooms.

However, they should not be used in places like children’s rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Main Difference -Flat vs Matte


  • Flat and Matte are often used interchangeably by paint manufacturers.
  • Flat or Matte has the least reflective sheen out of all other paint finishes.
  • This paint finish can cover imperfections on walls.
  • They are typically used for walls and ceilings, especially in rooms that have less traffic.
  • This finish is sometimes difficult to clean.
  • It should not be used in children’s rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Image Courtesy:

“Home Improvement – 35/52″ by   via

“1940169” by  (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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