Best Paints for Homes with Children

Children going downstairs on a newly painted home

Best Paints for Homes with Children

Our clients with children often ask about paint that can be easily cleaned in case their little ones leave marks, scuffs, or other evidence of their presence. (No shaming here. Everyone with kids has been there!) The answer is relatively straightforward: the shinier the paint, the more durable and the easier to clean. Does that mean you should paint all your walls high gloss? Nope. Here’s what you need to know about selecting durable paint that will be easier to clean.

Paint Sheen

There are various degrees of shine, including no shine, in paint. As we said, the higher the shine or sheen, the more durable. However, that doesn’t mean everyone should paint everything high gloss. Also important to note is that different manufacturers refer to their sheen by other names. For example, one brand might say flat while another says matte.

The Basics:

        • Flat/matte paints have no shine/gloss/luster and absorb more light than they reflect. Thus, no sheen.
        • Semi-gloss, eggshell, and gloss paints reflect light, which gives them a certain degree of gloss or shine.

High Gloss

The shiniest of paints are called high gloss. These are the most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens. They dry hard, reflect a lot of light, and are very shiny. They are typically used for high-touch surfaces like trim, doors, and cabinets. They are also used on accent walls for added interest. High gloss paints also show every surface flaw, which requires a lot of prep work to smooth out the surface as much as possible. As a result, they are the most labor-intensive paints to apply, making them the most expensive to use.


These have a bit less shine than high-gloss paints while still being durable. They’re great in high-moisture rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. They also hold up well against grease and marks, making them a good option for trim work, including baseboards.


Another step down in shine. They’re still relatively easy to clean. Like higher-shine paints, they show surface flaws, so it’s important to properly prep the surface before applying. Also notable is that they’re not easy to touch up later.


Eggshell is a popular choice because, in many ways, it offers the best of all sheen worlds. Its shine and durability put it between satin and flat. It has a touch of shine, but it’s good at hiding surface flaws. It’s ideal on walls or surfaces that won’t get high traffic or touch, like a dining room, study, or living room.

Flat or Matte

This is usually a building contractor’s go-to choice. Flat or matte paints absorb light, which means it does the best job of hiding surface flaws. It provides the highest coverage, which translates to time and money savings. Its downside is that it is the least durable of all the sheens and not the best option for cleaning wall scuffs or marks. If given a choice, a contractor will defer to this sheen because it requires the least amount of wall preparation before painting. If you’re going to use it, we recommend it for low-traffic spaces like adult bedrooms or home offices.


The most expensive and durable paints are those with a higher sheen. Depending on where you’re painting, it might be worth the investment.

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