One important aspect of painting your home is choosing the best paint sheen. We want to help you do just that. There are many paint sheens to choose from such as flat, matte, satin, semi-gloss, pearl, eggshell and high gloss. Don't be overwhelmed by the options. That's where our help comes into play!
You have that perfect paint color now you need to know what the best paint sheen is for your home improvement project. Let's jump right in by explaining the differences between paint sheens.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links below. All opinions are all my own.
WHAT IS A PAINT SHEEN?
You are probably asking what is a paint sheen?
Paint sheen is the difference in the gloss intensity. The higher the gloss intensity the shinier the paint will look on your wall and the more scrubbable it will be.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PAINT SHEEN?
Now, that you know what a paint sheen is you are probably asking yourself what are the different types of paint sheen?
There are many options and each company and can of paint has a different name for sheens. The photo above is from Sherwin Williams so their sheens are from a flat to a high gloss.
Basically one company may call their washable flat eg-shel while another calls it satin but they are the same finish.
So, let's jump into what paint sheen options there are and what each finish means.
WHAT IS THE FLAT PAINT SHEEN?
The sheen of flat paint has a non-reflective appearance that will make the wall look smooth once you get the paint applied. It contains more pigment than other paints which is another reason why it covers flaws so well.
Flat paint is not one that you can wipe clean, but it can be touched up with ease.
Office buildings, apartments, and such like to use flat because it's quick and easy for the maintenance people to touch up a spot rather than paint the whole space again.
Residential ceiling are another great candidates for flat paint finishes.
WHAT IS THE MATTE PAINT SHEEN?
Matte paint falls in the same category as flat paint. It also has the ability of hiding imperfections. This sheen choice is great on a wall that might need to be wiped down, as it cleans easily.
The sheen of matte has a low reflection once it dries. This is a popular sheen right now in the modern, farmhouse, boho styles.
WHAT IS THE EGGSHELL PAINT SHEEN?
Let start with the fact that if you're looking for the eggshell sheen, you might find it also spelled eg-shel. The finish of eggshell paint has a hint of gloss, but very little.
This is another perfect option if you are looking for a luster that can stand up to being wiped down with a damp cloth. More traditional homes like to use eggshell for their wall paint.
WHAT IS THE PEARL PAINT SHEEN?
The sheen of pearl falls between eggshell and semi-gloss. Pearl is categorized as a cashmere-like elegant, silky rich paint sheen. It gives a great dimension to a room.
This is a great option for trim if you want a really nice washable finish without a lot of gloss. But pearl doesn't come in all paint types so you will have to check with the paint store.
WHAT IS THE SATIN PAINT SHEEN
If you're looking for a paint sheen with a slight gloss, then satin might be the choice for you.
You will often see eggshell and satin in the same classification. The busiest room in your home is begging for a coat of satin paint, but it will not cover imperfections well. However, satin is the most popular finish for people to paint with.
Here is a little trick to painting a room and trim the same color white. Paint the walls and trim with the same finish. In my daughter's room we used satin on the walls and trim.
Look at the chair rail and the wall under the chair rail to see an example. It is hard to tell from the photo but painting the wall and trim the same color and sheen creates a uniform look.
WHAT IS THE SEMI-GLOSS PAINT SHEEN?
The sheen of semi-gloss is a medium shine. This sheen is durable and works perfectly in high traffic areas.
A semi-gloss finish will most of the time resist mildew and moisture which makes it great for the bathroom. It is also a popular sheen for trim.
WHAT IS THE HIGH GLOSS PAINT SHEEN?
High gloss has a mirror-like sheen to it. It has an elegant shine and is stain-resistant. The luster of high gloss will require more coats of paint than less shiny finishes.
When installing our wainscot and the trim we painted the trim in a high gloss and the walls in eggshell. It's a great example of how the same color can look different when you paint it in different sheens.
BEST PAINT SHEEN CHOICES THROUGHOUT YOUR HOME
Let's take a tour through your home now and talk through which is the best paint sheen choice for rooms and surfaces. We'll be covering what finish for every spot from the window shutters to the kitchen, even your bathroom, and ceilings.
Curb appeal is important, so let's start there.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR OUTDOOR SIDINGS
Any of the low shine paints are great choices for the outdoor siding sheen of your home. They hide the imperfections that are often found outside and can be touched up with ease.
BEST PAINT SHEEN FOR SHUTTERS
Satin and semi-gloss are the top recommendations for the on your window shutters. A little gloss to frame your windows is a great idea.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR FRONT DOORS
Glossy paints such as semi-gloss and high-gloss are great on the front door of your home. This highly used door needs to be eye-catching and easily cleaned up.
Our front door is painted in a semi-gloss color Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR ENTRYWAYS
Satin or eggshell is the perfect paint finishes to paint on your entryway or foyer. It's a high traffic area and you want to be able to touch up or wipe down the walls.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR CEILINGS
You want to paint a flat or matte paint finish on your ceilings. It's important because of the textures of the ceilings, imperfections, and light reflection on a ceiling.
For our porch ceiling, we used a satin finish in a haint blue color. Porches are a little different because you will need to wipe it down on occasion.
BEST PAINT SHEEN FOR TRIMS
Semi-gloss is the finish you want to paint on the trims and floorboards of your home without a doubt. Easy wipe down is important when it comes to trims on the walls.
Our sitting room has satin painted walls and semi-gloss painted board and batten.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR KITCHENS
When you're choosing the finish for your kitchen, consider pearl or semi-gloss. Remember the semi-gloss finish is durable and good on walls that are exposed to moisture.
BEST PAINT SHEEN FOR CABINETS
Satin or semi-gloss would be perfect on cabinetry. If you want to know the Popular Sherwin Williams Paint Colors for your kitchen cabinets, check out our post.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR LIVING ROOMS
The sheens that look best on the walls of a family/living room is satin. The subtle gloss adds a nice look and isn't too shiny.
BEST PAINT FINISH FOR BEDROOMS
Flat, matte, and satin are the three most popular sheens for a bedroom. However, when painting a kids room, you might want to consider a semi-gloss so that it can be cleaned a little easier in case of messes.
Also here is a tip for touching up walls. A magic eraser is just like its name…magic. Try it on crayon or anything that gets on the walls.
BEST PAINT SHEEN FOR BATHROOMS
For your bathroom, it is recommended to do satin or semi-gloss. They are durable options. But out daughter choose matte for her bathroom. You can check out her small farmhouse bathroom remodel on our post.
With good ventilation you can go with a matte in a bathroom.
POPULAR PAINT BRAND FINISH OPTIONS
It's good to know what paint options you will see when looking for your favorite paint brand. Not every brand carries each finish and some carry a couple that has different names but looks the same as other finishes when dried.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS SHEEN OPTIONS
Sherwin Williams carries ten sheen options. We have told you about seven of the ten and the other three only have slight sheen differences.
You'll find flat, matte, velvet, satin/eg-shel, low lustre, pearl, semi-gloss, medium lustre, gloss, and high gloss in Sherwin Williams stores.
BENJAMIN MOORE SHEEN OPTIONS
There are also ten finish options in the Benjamin Moore brand. There is flat, ulti-matte, matte, eggshell, low lustre, pearl, satin, soft gloss, semi-gloss, and lastly high-gloss.
You will see flat and ulti-matte grouped together and eggshell and low lustre in the same grouping as well as satin and soft gloss in the same category of sheen.
BEHR SHEEN OPTIONS
When shopping for Behr paint, you might be pleased to know that there are only six finish options. Sometimes less is more.
The Behr sheen options are flat, matte, eggshell enamel, satin enamel, semi-gloss enamel, and hi-gloss enamel.
We hope we have shed some light on the best paint sheen options and shown you the difference in sheens. It's so important to choose the best sheen for the place you're painting.