Here's what you need to know about four main paint finishes--flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss--and the best bets for where to use them in your home. Remember: There are no set rules for how certain paint colors look in each finish; that decision is totally up to you!
Alkyd (oil-based) and latex paint aren't finishes. Rather, these terms refer to what makes up the paint product: oil or water.
For most interior paint projects, latex-or water-based paint-is ideal. Latex dries quickly, cleans up easily with water, and doesn't have a strong odor.
Alkyd-or oil-based paint-dries slower and give off a strong smell. The plus to using alkyd paint is that it provides a smoother, almost hard enamel-like finish that resists scratching, fingerprints, and stains.