Difference between Satin and Gloss: A Complete Guide

The shine on your furniture is one of the biggest eye-grabbing aspects out there. Especially if you are doing the finishing yourself, then understanding the elements required to make them pop is absolutely fundamental. However, people often find themselves at a loss when deciding between satin and gloss.

Did you know there are five main finishes available to you? Each is unique in its own specific way. Some people even believe that satin and gloss are both one and the same.

When in reality, each individual finish has its own unique shine and attraction. Especially when it comes to wood finishes, the choices can be difficult.

Hence, we will talk about the difference between satin and gloss today. Let’s get started.


Wood finishes have been around for centuries, making all our wood color coats pop. The satin finish leaves you with a medium coat of glossy goodness, and that is something you can't seem to achieve with just gloss.


It will not be as reflective as glossy finishes and will often at times be great when hiding imperfections on the surface material.

This type of finish will also have a very velvety feel, making them easier to clean. Finishes are usually measured by their sheen. This means the amount of light reflecting off of the color coated material’s surface. Hence, when it comes to satin, the reflections are comparatively very matted to its counterparts.

There are certain things at play, however. For example, satin is not entirely limited to simply being used for varnish. They can be used for both paint and fabric. There are many sorts of satin available within the apparel, as well.

Antique satin, Baronet, Charmeuse, Double faced, Duchess, Poly Stain and Gattar are some available examples.


If you want the most sheen, then look no further. The gloss medium is probably one of the best forms of finishes available at your arsenal if you are looking for the ultimate shine. This aspect is applicable to varnish, as well as paint. In plain definition, gloss is the perfect reflective finish for any surface or material.

The glaze you might achieve does come with a few drawbacks, however. For example, when painting walls or varnishing wood, the gloss will make all imperfections apparent. This can be quite a problem when painting over old wooden surfaces with extensive amounts of blemishes.


This requires more beforehand preparation on your material to obtain the perfect result. However, that should not be the reason stopping you from trying out this finish. The glasslike end result that you will achieve on your surface material is quite unique and amazing.

Additionally, because of its wondrous reflective aspect, it can pair exceptionally well with other objects in your room as well. This will give you immense amounts of options to try out unique and creative interior designs.

Difference between Satin & Gloss

What makes them unique from each other is their lack of sheen or shine. Regardless of it, simply stating aspects won’t cut it. We must look at types of satin and gloss and differentiate them from each other.



Their differences in varnish applications are quite clear. For example, satin, when applied to wooden surfaces, can oftentimes seem very clean or polished. They have medium amounts of shine to it and can be amazing if multiple coats are applied.


However, gloss finishes require more attention. That is specifically the case because of how much light the surface reflects. If not done well, trained craftsmen can easily pinpoint every blemish on the surface of the material.


This polymer finish can be absolutely wondrous for your floors, making the woodwork seem absolutely lustrous in every aspect. What makes these two forms of coats different, however, is the amount of gloss they accentuate off the woodwork after applied.

For example, satin will always hide what is underneath it with a flat, less shiny coating. Whereas, gloss finishes will highlight the woodwork extensively. However, in this case, blemishes can easily be hidden with multiple coats, even for a glossy finish.


When it comes to colors and finishing on walls; the differences between satin and gloss are quite unique.

Satin paint overall is very matted and will give you a medium shine, whereas gloss will be more reflective. Additionally, satin finishes will always be exceptional when hiding blemishes on surfaces. However, gloss finishes will be more reflective and make the blemishes be more noticeable.

Just like polymer coats, an additional coating on surfaces can help hide the blemishes but will not entirely eradicate them. In both cases, however, they are very similar, as one of the key elements in every noticeable element is its shine.

The shine will always tend to make the key difference when coloring or finishing upon any material. In gloss, however, there is a coating called semi-gloss, which is a tad bit less reflective and can deliver a much finer finish.

This specific form coating, like any other form of gloss requires more additional beforehand preparation.


Even within each of their individual sections with multiple categories, the key aspect that makes them unique is their glint and glow.

Apart from that aspect, what must be noted and mentioned as well as the amount of work that needs to be done beforehand. Gloss will always require you to take a good amount of time studying the material and fixing the blemishes on it beforehand. This means you might need to sand or cut the wood according to its needs.

Hence, with all that in mind, we wish you the best of luck. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the difference between these two materials and how you must approach them.

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