Silk vs. Matt Emulsion Paint: Which Is Better? - Greenshop Paints

Silk vs. Matt Emulsion Paint: Which Is Better?

Oct 06, 2022Richard Weager

Durable, quick-drying and easy to apply, emulsion is the perfect paint for internal walls and ceilings. But with so many finishes available, how do you know which one to use?

The two most popular types of emulsion paint are silk and matt. Silk emulsion has a mid-sheen finish, while matt emulsion is flat and non-reflective. The right choice of emulsion finish depends on what you’re using it for.

If you’re not sure whether to choose matt or silk emulsion, read on. We’ll explain their key differences, strengths and weaknesses, and share some of the best emulsion paint brands available.

Consider Auro 555 as a low-VOC emulsion paint:

What Is Matt Emulsion Paint?

Matt, sometimes spelled matte, is the most popular type of emulsion. Matt paint is the opposite of shiny: it diffuses light rather than reflecting it. This gives it a flat, contemporary appearance which has many benefits:

  • Matt walls have no glare, so the colour is not greatly altered by different lighting conditions
  • It isn’t as prone to brush streaks or lap marks (visible paint roller lines)
  • Its low-sheen finish is perfect for disguising small cracks and bumps
  • The velvety, non-reflective texture truly makes colours ‘pop’

The downside is that matt emulsion paints are typically not as durable as silk emulsion paints. Washing or wiping a matt wall may wear down the finish, leaving a visible mark. Some non-breathable matt emulsions may also be affected by humidity, causing the paint to peel.

When Should You Use Matt Emulsion?

Because it’s so forgiving of imperfections, matt paint is ideal for older properties and walls that aren’t in top-notch condition. It’s also the easiest emulsion finish to use if you don’t have much experience painting.

Matt emulsion has a gorgeous depth – perfect for vibrant, deep and rich shades. Its soft texture creates a cosy feel which works well in bedrooms and living rooms. But because it doesn’t offer the greatest wipe resistance, it’s not the best choice for bathrooms and kitchens.

What Is the Best Matt Emulsion Paint?

Whether you’re looking for the perfect white matt emulsion or a more vibrant shade, there are lots of great brands available. One of our favourites is Earthborn Claypaint – a natural, eco-friendly emulsion with a luxurious ultra-matt finish. Its odourless formula is virtually free from VOCs (volatile organic compounds), making it ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers. It’s also 100% vegan.

Earthborn Claypaint is available in more than 80 colours, from the classic ‘White Clay’ shade (matt white emulsion) to pastel and jewel tones. Its thick, creamy texture is incredibly easy to apply and is more hardwearing than traditional mineral-based wall paints. It’s also ultra-breathable, which helps to prevent mould and mildew.

Explore our range of Earthborn Claypaint:


What Is Silk Emulsion Paint?

Silk is the second most popular type of emulsion paint, with a mid-sheen finish that reflects light slightly. It falls somewhere between matt and gloss paint on the shininess scale. The main advantages of silk emulsion are:

  • It’s fairly durable – you can wipe or wash silk paintwork without damaging the finish
  • Its polished surface repels moisture, so it works well in humid environments
  • Because it reflects light, silk emulsion can help make a room appear bigger and brighter
  • Certain silk emulsions, sometimes called satin, can be used on wooden surfaces (e.g. door frames) as well as interior walls

Silk emulsion has one main drawback: its smooth appearance can highlight even the smallest lumps, bumps and cracks. Brush and roller marks also tend to be more noticeable with silk paint. Also, when it comes to natural paints, silk emulsions tend to be less breathable than matt emulsions.

When Should You Use Silk Emulsion?

Silk emulsion works well in children’s bedrooms and playrooms, as sticky fingerprints can be easily removed with a damp cloth. It’s also great for bathrooms and kitchens, as it can be wiped clean of mould and food splatters.

The reflective qualities of silk paint can help make small rooms appear bigger, and darker rooms feel lighter. It’s perfect for creating a bright and airy feel in your home. However, because it can emphasise imperfections, it’s best suited to perfectly smooth surfaces. Consider using a primer on untreated wall surfaces.

What Is the Best Silk Emulsion Paint?

Earthborn Lifestyle Emulsion is a hardwearing, wipeable emulsion available in over 80 beautiful colours. The oil-free formula is effectively VOC-free and boasts great covering power, with a classic low-sheen finish. This durable paint can be wiped clean with ease, making it ideal for busier homes.

If you’re looking for an excellent white silk emulsion for interior walls, we’d recommend our own Greenpaints Emulsion. Available in pure white or soft white, this low-odour paint has a durable satin texture. It’s also eco-friendly and sustainable, made locally in the Cotswolds with natural ingredients.

Where Can I Buy the Best Emulsion Paint (UK)?

If you’re looking for matt or silk emulsion paint, visit Greenshop Paints today. We stock a range of high-quality emulsions in a wide variety of colours and finishes. We specialise in natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly products – better for you, and better for the planet.

Whether you’re looking for silk or matt emulsion for walls or ceilings, you’ll find it in our online store. We’re proud to supply some of the world’s leading eco-friendly paint brands such as Auro, Earthborn, Treatex and Osmo.

You can browse Greenshop Paints’ full collection of emulsion paint here. If you need help finding the perfect paint or have a question about our products, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Explore our range of natural paint:

Colour swatches showing the wide range of natural paint colours

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