The Best Flat Matt Emulsion

By Mike Gregory


Sheen level makes a huge difference to the quality of a paint finish, particularly on large areas such as ceilings and walls. In most cases, the flatter the matt, the better the result. A flat matt or “chalky” finish is not only far more contemporary, but it also reduces imperfections such as flashing and roller marks. Durable matt emulsion in particular, can have a sheen level which is way too high.


One issue with a lot of the chalky flat paints such as Farrow and Ball Estate emulsion is the lack of durability of the paint. The easiest way for a manufacturer to reduce sheen level is to use less polymer binders, which is what holds the other paint ingredients together.


So, what is the best flat matt emulsion? In my opinion and experience as a decorator, there’s probably only three products worth looking at. I’ll take you through each of them in turn on this blog.


Tikkurila Anti-Reflex


Tikkurila Anti-Reflex is an emulsion mostly used in white to paint Ceilings. As the name suggests, it doesn’t really reflect much in the way of light, and you’re left with a completely flat finish. It has been voted the best flat matt emulsion to paint ceilings many times on a professional decorators’ forum in the UK.


As well as white, you can have Tikkurila Anti-Reflex tinted into any pale colour. This product is becoming popular in the UK, popping up at more and more independent paint merchants. I buy mine online directly from Tikkurila and I use loads of it.


You’ll find this flat matt easy to use, very low sheen, luxurious and durable enough to use in a kitchen and most bathrooms. The only slight issue is the opacity, so apply generous coats of paint.


Tikkurila Ceramic Optiva 3


Another Tikkurila product, this one is a durable matt emulsion suitable for internal walls and ceilings. the “3” in the name relates to sheen level, meaning it is a very flat matt indeed. Tikkurila Optiva 3 is one of my favourite paints for walls because it is lovely to use and leaves a flawless finish. This gear just flies on!! Anyone can use it!!


You’ll see no imperfections such as picture framing or flashing, and your tinted colours will have real depth. Opacity is great too!! I like everything about this paint. It is great for hallways and areas with high traffic. This is another product you can buy online, or from several independent trade paint merchants.


Johnstone’s Perfect Matt


This is a premium emulsion designed to perform as well as it possibly can!! One of the benefits of going for a Johnstone’s product, is you have thousands of different colours to choose from. Another durable matt emulsion, the finish of Johnstone’s perfect matt, is, well perfect. Very flat and a lovely depth of colour.


You will never have any issues with picture framing or roller marks either. Perfect matt has a party trick too, you can touch this paint up years after decorating your room (a very rare quality). Opacity in white isn’t great, especially when you consider the price of it, but everything else is brilliant. Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is genuinely the best flat matt emulsion on the UK market currently.


Perfect matt is a very expensive paint, so if budget is a concern, you should look at one of the Tikkurila options. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, have a look online at the Paint Shed, who are very competitively priced. You can also buy Perfect matt from any Johnstone’s Decorating Centre.


Johnstone’s do a slightly cheaper version of this product which is called Leyland Smart Matt. It is a similar product in colours and the white is slightly whiter. Smart matt is good, and a lot of decorators love it. I use it on ceilings sometimes, but you can’t beat perfect matt for walls.



What do Other Decorators think is the Best Flat Matt Emulsion?

Tikkurila – Anti reflex 2 for ceilings. Must be the flattest emulsion on the market! If we are not talking about durability and purely flatness for walls then nothing beats classic casein distemper (2% sheen usually).. if we are talking a modern durable then Tikkurila optiva 3 is the best 👌

Ben Williams

Teknos teknoceiling 02. Is the best flat matt out there for ceilings. For walls it is Tikkurila optiva 3 ceramic

Anton Marsh

The best flat matt emulsion is Perfect Matt from Johnstone’s. I know it’s expensive, but it isn’t dearer than a lot of the designer paints on the market. Plus I’m on good rates at my local JDC, so I can pass the savings onto my clients.


For ceilings it has to be Teknos Tecnoceiling, or Tikkurila Anti-Reflex. Both amazing products for larger ceilings.

Liz Nuttall

In regards of a flat Matt, Smart Matt (Brilliant White) is a fantastic product!

➡️ Self Levels, leaving little to no brush or roller marks.

➡️ Touches up a treat, even a couple of month down the line.

I tried this after using Jonnos Perfect Matt, which sadly despite having the label of “Brilliant White”, once dry it had a grey tinge.

Tikkurila Anti Reflex 2 in light colours is also a fantastic product for walls when requiring a flat Matt finish.

➡️ 1 Downside it’s not durable enough for walls, but still a great finish.

Oliver J Scarth

Tikkurila have best flat matt products for me. Never flashes and the coverage is 💯 every time

Nick Kenway

I just love the Matt matty mattness of teknoceiling 02 customers seem to love it too! Only been using it for 6 months😍

Vaughan Dibble

I always tend to use McPhersons Eclipse for a good flat matt. I find it doesn’t flash personally.

Paul R Turner

Leyland smart matt. Its covers great and is proper white and not a light grey like some dead matt finishes. Plus, it touches up great 👍

Sean Dunes

Tikkurila Anti-Reflex 2 for lids and lounges/bedrooms (tinted or white) and Optiva 3 or 5 for high traffic wear and tear areas. My current favourites.

Dave Whittaker

Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is the best flat emulsion. Opacity better than Tikkurila Anti-Reflex, and Class 1, so can use on walls as well.

Damien Thorpe

Capasilan. Opacity is superb, looks flawless from every angle, touches up a treat and is a class 1.

I’m using it on a site and it’s just perfect for that 👌

Andrew Florence

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