What’s the Difference Between Paint Sheens?

Living Room Painting
Revamp Your Interior Colors to Refresh Your Living Room
December 29, 2017
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Color Schemes

If you are planning to update your space by painting your walls, you will soon be facing lots of decisions such as which color will work best in each room, which brushes to buy, and even what paint sheen you want for each wall. Although these decisions can feel overwhelming, they do not have to be! Read this guide to paint sheens to make at least one decision much easier.


Flat paint has no shine at all and absorbs all of the light that shines onto it. Some people prefer this look as it can give a room a unique and modern look. However, walls with this finish are the hardest to clean so if you have children, you may want to consider paint with a little bit more gloss. Matte paints work best for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms as well as ceilings.


This sheen is a more popular option than matte as it is slightly more durable. There is only about a ten to twenty percent gloss on eggshell paints so it is still good for giving a room a clean and simple look. Because this paint sheen is difficult to clean as well, it is not recommended for homes with children or pets.


Satin paint sheens have up to thirty-five percent gloss, which makes them more durable than both flat and eggshell. Although it does not give a glossy look, satin paint sheens can give walls a little bit of a “glow” compared to the more flat sheens. The increased durability makes this a good sheen for higher-traffic areas such as bathrooms, hallways, and kids’ rooms.


This paint sheen can vary greatly in gloss; the range for this type of paint is between thirty-five to seventy percent reflectivity. This type of paint is noticeably glossy, durable, and easy to clean. Use this paint in busy areas of the home as it is easy to remove dirt and stains from. It will show imperfections in the wall, however; in that case, flatter paints are better to hide imperfections. Semi-gloss paint can be used in any room in the house and is especially good for kids’ rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. It is also often used on details such as molding, doors, and more.


High-gloss paint offers the most reflectivity over any other type of paint. It has over seventy percent glossiness and is durable and easy to clean. This type of paint is difficult to apply and will highlight any imperfections in the wall so be careful where you apply it. It is especially popular to use on cabinets, trims, molding, and even outdoor areas.

Now that you know all about paint sheens, you are ready to begin your project. Take into consideration how much an area will get used, how dirty it will get, and what style you desire for your home and then choose a paint sheen. Now you just have to decide on colors!

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