Is Semi-Gloss Paint for Bathrooms the Best Choice?

Eddie Shekari
August 2, 2022
A fresh coat of paint works wonders in giving any space a new look, but it can be tricky because the paint finish matters. Bathrooms have more humidity than other rooms, so mold and mildew are more likely to develop. Semi-gloss paint for bathrooms is popular but not the only choice. Read more about what paint finish is best for bathrooms and how to transform your space. 

it's important to consider paint finish for bathrooms

Why is the Paint Finish Important?

The bathroom is a hotbed for mold and mildew due to frequent hot showers and relaxing bubble baths. Ventilation and moisture are significant factors to consider when selecting your paint finish. Do you have a good vent? Do you use a window for ventilation? How often is the shower or tub used? Is the water steaming hot, lukewarm, or cold? 

Small bathrooms used for guests typically aren’t prone to as much moisture since they don’t usually have a shower or bath. You will have more flexibility in choosing your interior paint in this case, but for most, a durable and long-lasting paint that also tolerates damp conditions is a must for bathrooms. If you find paint with antimicrobial additives, this is perfect for fighting mold and mildew because it kills any existing growth and prevents new growth. 

Flat or eggshell finishes don’t work because they are more porous and absorb moisture, and frequent exposure to moisture creates mold and mildew. Even if these paints are not around the splash zone, the condensation created from the hot water used and the cool air of your home will create a breeding ground for mold. 

gloss finishes popular for bathrooms

Paint Finishes that Work


Semi- and high-gloss finishes are the most popular and one of the best choices for bathroom walls, especially if there is a proper exhaust fan. Glossy finishes are mildew resistant, repelling moisture, thus reducing the risk of mold development. The shinier paint finishes are also easy to clean in case bath time goes awry or dogs shake all the suds from their bubbles everywhere. 


Satin paint finishes are also an option if you don’t want the shiny appearance of a semi- or high-gloss finish. Satin gloss is often used in powder rooms, guest bathrooms, or bathrooms that don’t get much use. Like semi- and high-gloss, satin-gloss is easy to clean and durable. 


We highly recommend avoiding using a matte finish for your bathroom walls, but it is possible as long as it has excellent ventilation and water doesn’t get on them too often. If you are dedicated to the matte look, use a premium brand that ensures it’s easy to clean your walls without degrading the paint. 

before you paint bathroom walls, make sure they are clean and clear of mold and mildew

How to Paint Bathroom Walls

There are too many differences between painting your bathroom walls and the other walls in your home, but there are a few to note. 

You need to start with a clean surface, which means removing any existing mold and mildew. A bleach solution can help you accomplish this, but be sure to open a window or turn on the exhaust fan to ensure plenty of clean air circulation. 

This home improvement project does get easier since Consumer Reports states that you can skip the primer. The exception to this rule is if mold and mildew are already an issue in your house; in these situations, a primer that kills mold is best to use. 

Once you finish painting the fresh coat of paint on your bathroom walls, you should wait at least 24 hours before taking a shower or bath. 

bathroom colors can be customized to your style

Picking Your Paint Color

Whether updating a bathroom from the 70s or a remodeling project, the objective is to give your bathroom walls a fresh coat of paint and style. Paint color is entirely up to you, but here are some guidelines if you’re unsure where to start. 

If you want a timeless look, we usually recommend a simple white. Why? White reflects any light in the room or incoming from a window, and it helps to see your natural appearance in the mirror without the influence of any color. Plus, it also keeps an appearance of cleanliness and freshness that is generally desired in a bathroom. We also recommend choosing a white that’s warmer in an undertone to steer clear of hospital-like sterileness.  

For a more modern style, your bathroom walls can be bold with colors like brown-gray, light gray, or off-black. Darker beige colors pair well with metallic hardware or other natural colors for a nature-inspired look. Lighter grays keep the neutrality of white without being bare, and black bathrooms give a dramatic look overall and are on point with the trends now

Colors are always fun, but we recommend your brush up on color theory and how the paint color on the walls may alter your appearance in the mirror. Everyone has color undertones of greens, reds, yellows, or blues; that means looking at yourself surrounded by one of these colors may alter how you perceive yourself.  

Let the Pros Handle It

Painting with semi-gloss paint for bathrooms is indeed a great choice, and it’s a relatively simple home improvement project if you don’t mind doing the prep work and getting the supplies. If the latter part doesn’t sound appealing, you can always trust your friendly neighbor painters to get the job done for you. 

If you are in the Greater Houston Area, you can trust Pro Painters to deliver superior results in exterior and interior painting services. Our Pros also know more than paint if you need assistance with any other home improvement project. Call now for a free estimate.

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Eddie Shekari

Eddie founded Pro Painters in 1995 to meet the growing need for high-quality residential and commercial painting needs in Houston. In nearly 20 years, Pro Painters has exponentially grown our client base, serving residents across the greater Houston area. Our core principles have helped us achieve the highest standard of workmanship and customer satisfaction. Our years of experience have allowed us to become an extension to our customers as the all-in-one solution for home makeovers.