Why I Stopped Painting My Walls in Black and Matt Finish

The look of a dead matt wall is elegant and classy, It doesn’t reflect light as much as a paint emulsion finish with a sheen. This is why I originally go for this paint finish. Moreover, a Paint emulsion in a Matt finish hides wall imperfections better than a paint emulsion sheen or gloss finish. This is great for old plastered walls.

You can see up-close that this wall is old and has imperfections.

It’s an old house and above is a wall that has not been replastered. Black colour and matt paint emulsion finish manages to hide it pretty well.

It gathers dust

However, I have noticed that it gather dusts, especially on dark walls. Dust are white particles so you can more easily spot them on darker walls with a matt finish.

This is not something you will see on light colours like any shades of white, but believe me they are there! Simply do the “lingering finger test” on the walls and you’ll see.

I’ve painted a black wall as a feature wall in Dulux Rich Black Sheen, and I hated the shine/gloss appearance so much. It looked very unattractive so I tried the Dulux Rich Black in Matt and it looked really good. However, over time I have noticed how much this finish (and the colour allowed me to see it) gathers dust particles.

Dust particules on walls are difficult to get rid of and are bad for people with allergies.

Dust allergie will create respiratory problems.

Because those dust particules are stuck on the walls, even with an Air Purifier you can’t remove them. And more obviously a vacuum cleaner (do not recommend using that on old plaster!). You have to use a ladder and a broom or dust cloth and clean the wall like you would a table. This is quite an “annoying” task, to put it simply.

In order, to reduce dust in your home, make sure your walls are not painted in a matt finish! Or be prepared to clean them regularly.

It marks easily

I’ve noticed after painting my walls in an Emulsion white matt paint that walls are easily marked with small knocks or dirt.

“Elementary my dear Mr Watson” you might say but actually the walls in my bathroom and kitchen which have also been painted in white don’t show as many marks.

In a nutchell: For an entrance or narrow corridor, prefer a slightly sheen finish or a matt finish with “easy to wash” properties which is often the case for white paints “special bathroom” or “special kitchen” rooms.

It is not easy to clean

Growing up in a house 90s/00s when walls were painted in a semi-sheen colour (not missing the orange tones though!) and it was easy to wipe the walls with a sponge. If I try to do the same on my matt walls, I know that the wall will absorb the water of the sponge straight away and if I really scrub it some paint may come off on the sponge. It’s not the end of the world as it can be patched up but then I would need to find the paint pot etc and that’s actually becoming a much larger job all the sudden.

Farrow & Ball for example has two option for walls. “Estate Emulsion” with 2% sheen and “Modern Emulsion” with 7% sheen.

My recommendation would be to look at the different sheen levels of emulsion colour, stay away from “dead matt” finishes and consider somewhere in between a Matt and Sheen finish. Unless you want to be dusting off your walls every other month… your choice! Most brands will give you a couple of options for finishes.

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