This is the finish that you’ll see on most walls in most homes nowadays. It creates a flat look (any sheen will be negligible) that means, should you have any slight lumps and bumps on your wall, they’ll be visually evened out with less in the way of shadows or highlights to give them away. That said, a good blend with plenty of pigment like ours won’t feel flat when it comes to the depth of colour: matt emulsion lends a chalkiness to pale colours and a soft but deep tone to dark ones and, in both cases, it’ll change over the course of the day, taking on gentle tonal differences depending on the light.
While emulsion might be the preferred paint for walls, it’s not necessarily the best choice for woodwork and other high-traffic areas. That’s because, in order to achieve the very low sheen levels, the proportion of resinous binders to powdery pigments is lower and, not only do these binders create shine, but they also create durability. Similarly, matt emulsion isn’t always suitable for steamy bathrooms as it can be marked by water droplets. In all these cases, you might want to choose a slightly higher sheen finish, which is where eggshell comes in.
In short, use matt emulsion on: interior walls, woodwork and metal. Best not to use on: high-traffic areas such as skirting and doors, and steamy rooms.