Tips For Choosing Paint Sheen

Posted on: 6 January 2016

You went through a countless number of swatches in order to find the right color for your painting project. You're not done choosing, yet. Now comes the task of choosing a sheen for your paint. While the sheen type you choose won't alter the actual color of the paint, it can have an effect on the way the color appears, as well as the durability, or longevity, of the paint. Make sure you're choosing the right sheen option.

Eggshell or Satin

In terms of shine, satin or eggshell sheen is going to be the middle-ground. It's not shiny, but it's also not matte. For the average room, like a bedroom or living room, this type of finish is often sufficient. The challenge with this paint comes with application. Since it is somewhat flat, it's fairly easy for roller or brush marks to show once the paint has dried if you're not a skilled painter.


If your project involves painting a wall, it's best to use a high gloss paint because of the increased durability this sheen offers to paint. High gloss is also an ideal choice for your kitchen. When food splatters or your dirty fingers touch a wall, you can simply wipe off the stain without fear that you will wipe off the paint also. As a general rule of thumb, high gloss is best suited for any object or area that will receive high traffic.  


Semi-gloss paints aren't quite as shiny as high-gloss paints, but they are still shiny enough to reflect light and create a rich look. This option makes a great choice for kitchen cabinets, doors or trim. The reason for this is the fact that they are very easy to clean with a damp cloth. Since these surfaces will have a lot of hands touching them, the easier cleanup is especially important. However, they aren't quite as durable as high-gloss sheen.

Matte or Flat

For the most part, you only want to consider a matte or flat paint for surfaces like a ceiling. The problem with this type of sheen is that it makes it almost impossible to clean the painted surface without at least some of the paint rubbing off. Putting this type of paint in a high-traffic area is a guaranteed way to have to repaint the surface much sooner than you had expected.

Working with a painting contractor can take much of the difficulty out of this process. A painting contractor will consider the color of the paint, as well as the functionality of the room you are planning to paint to help you make a wise choice.