Paint Sheen Guide: Pick Your Perfect Paint Sheen

Choose the right look, shine and durability for your paint project


Paint sheens come in different categories and each have their own characteristics. The sheen scale can include terms like flat, eggshell and gloss, which reference the aesthetics and performance of the paint. When looking for a new paint for your project, give sheen some careful consideration. 

Shine

"Flat" usually means no shine, while "gloss" usually means the most shine. Eggshell, satin and semi-gloss fall in between these ends of the sheen spectrum. 

In order of left to right, consider:

  • Flat → Matte → Eggshell → Satins → Semi-Gloss → Hi-Gloss
  • Less reflection of light → More reflection of light
  • More-subtle appearance on wall → Higher shine 
  • Lower scrubbability → Greater scrubbability 

Consider your room

Different sheens have become popular for specific rooms due to their performance features and aesthetic qualities. Think about the room you are painting, then find it in the table below. It can help you identify a sheen (or choice of sheens) that usually work well for those projects. 

SHEEN:   FLAT EGGSHELL SATIN SEMI-GLOSS HI-GLOSS
WALLS:            
  FAMILY ROOM * * *    
  LIVING ROOM * * *    
  DINING ROOM * * *    
  BEDROOM * * *    
  KID'S ROOM     * *  
  HALLWAY   * *    
  KITCHEN & BATH       * *
ACCENTS,
TRIM &
ACCESSORIES
           
  DOORS/WINDOWS       * *
  MOULDING       * *
  CABINETS       * *
  FURNITURE     * * *
  CEILINGS *        

Sheen makes a big impact

The sheen you choose for your painting project can have a great impact on the overall look and feel of your result. Light, color and sheen all combine to create your room's overall feeling, so don't skip trying and testing different sheens in the same room. You might be surprised with the sheen you like most!

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