What is the Best Paint Finish for Interior Trim?

Is your interior trim paint due for an upgrade? Choosing the perfect color to highlight your interior walls and doors may be at the top of your list, but choosing the best paint finish for trim is also key. The type of paint finish and the quality of the paint product you choose plays a huge role in the outcome and of your paint job and its ability to last for years to come. Read on to learn the best paint finish for trim as well as the best sheen for interior trim. 


What is the Best Paint Finish for Trim?

Different types of paint finishes work best on different types of surfaces, such as interior walls, doors, trim, and ceilings. The type of paint finish you choose depends on the level of traffic in the room and how much exposure to grease, grime, water, and other elements it will need to withstand. Not all paint finishes are equal in terms of cleanability and durability, so it’s important to understand the differences so you can choose the best paint finish for trim. 

The 5 types of paint finishes are:

  • Flat and Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss
  • High-gloss

Trim is usually painted with an enamel paint finish that is shinier than what is normally painted on interior walls. This provides an accent piece that stands out to create dimension in your home and to help show off the room. 

The trim on baseboards, door casings, and doors also tends to get a lot of wear and tear from people, hands, the vacuum cleaner running into them, furniture scraping up against them, moving furniture in and out, doors opening and closing, etc. Enamel paints dry slower than acrylic paints, but they dry hard, making them perfect for these high-traffic, high-exposure interior trim surfaces. 

When selecting an enamel paint finish, it’s especially important to choose a satin or semi-gloss finish. When you repaint or touch up areas, it gives those areas a very hard and durable finish to last for as long as possible. 


What is the Best Sheen for Interior Trim?

The paint sheen that you choose for your trim determines the level of light reflected off of the finish. The most common and best sheen for interior trim is a satin or semi-gloss finish. 

Satin paint finishes have a medium sheen and are durable and easy to clean. Semi-gloss paint finishes have a higher sheen and stand out in a room. They are easy to clean and stand up to dirt, stains, mold, and mildew. 

If you prefer to use a lower sheen or if you want to paint the walls and trim the same color and sheen, such as in a full room of trim that has picture molding on the walls, we recommend using a satin paint finish on those areas. We especially recommend using a satin paint finish since drywall shows imperfections and uneven studs or subpar drywall tends to be prevalent on many walls. 

You can also give the interior walls a full skim coat or what we call a “Level 5” finish. However, for most applications, customers choose not to do this as it can be expensive.

If you’d like your interior trim to be extra shiny and glossy and really pop off the walls visually, you may want to opt for a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint finish. They’ll be easy to clean, but just remember, they will show more imperfections due to their high sheen and level of light reflectivity.  

If you’d like to learn more about the types of paint finishes and sheens and how to choose the right one for various spaces in your home, check out these blog posts:

No matter what paint finish and sheen you choose, it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of the paint product you choose will make a huge difference in the outcome of your paint job. You can choose the perfect finish and sheen for your trim and the look you want to achieve, but if you go with a low quality paint product, you may be disappointed. 

If you are in the Raleigh area and are looking to hire a professional paint company to assess your space, help you choose the perfect paint finish and sheen for your trim, and complete your paint job with the highest quality paint products, we’d love to work with you!

Click here to book your free call and quote with us today!

Recent Transformations


Hardware Exterior


China White Exterior


Gauntlet Gray Exterior

ready to transform your space with a fresh coat of paint?

Scroll to Top