a kitchen with a matte finish paint job in black

Matte Finish

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/21/2021

An important part of any home improvement or DIY project is deciding on the finishing touches, such as how shiny or flat surfaces will appear. Quite often, the options are determined by a few different factors, such as the function of the surface and the amount of moisture in the room. But, if you’re looking for softer, more inviting surfaces, you may want to consider a matte finish.


When talking about the appearance of a finished surface, such as a painted wall or kitchen countertop, the phrase matte finish often refers to a dull appearance that does not reflect light. Matte finishes are sometimes referred to as flat and have a softer and smoother appearance. Matte finishes also tend to hide imperfections better than harder glossy finishes but tend to absorb moisture and are harder to clean.

The Pros And Cons Of A Matte Finish

A matte finish may seem like a good idea from a strictly cosmetic point of view but there are a few downsides that may not make it the best option for every project:

  • Because a matte finish absorbs light instead of reflecting it, the finish tends to hide imperfections and smudges better than a glossy surface. However, in most cases, a matte finish also tends to be harder to clean and more prone to stains.
  • Although matte finishes tend to add a softer and more tranquil feeling to a room, they also tend to make areas appear smaller as light gets absorbed. Matte finishes tend to work better in larger rooms.