Paint sheen refers to the amount of gloss or shine on a painted surface. It’s how the light reflects (or doesn’t reflect) from the different types of paint.
This is my flat black painted entryway with gloss black trim (now it’s antique gold to match the mirror)! The door is semi-gloss pink.
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Here are some common paint sheens and their characteristics:
Flat or matte: Flat or matte paint has a non-reflective finish and is good for hiding surface imperfections. It is also easy to touch up. However, it is not as durable as other sheens and may be harder to clean.
Eggshell: Eggshell paint has a slightly glossy finish and is more durable than flat paint. It is a good choice for low-traffic areas such as bedrooms and formal rooms.
Satin: Satin paint has a slightly glossy finish and is more durable and easier to clean than eggshell paint. It is a good choice for areas that get a lot of use such as hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss paint has a shiny finish and is very durable. It is easy to clean and is resistant to moisture, making it a good choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and trim work.
High gloss: High gloss paint has a very shiny finish and is very durable. It is easy to clean and is resistant to moisture. It is often used on trim work, doors, and cabinets. However, it can highlight imperfections on the surface and is more difficult to touch up.
How Light affects Paint Sheen
The light in a room has an impact on the paint sheen as well. Have you ever been in a room where every wall looks like a different color but you know it’s not?
Light and shadow play a big part in how the color of your paint will look. The more reflection or gloss the paint has the more light will reflect from it.
dark Paint Color Sheen
Even dark colors can give good light to a room if the sheen is glossier.
My entryway is painted in a matte black sheen and because it doesn’t reflect light it has a beautiful moody feel to it. If it were a high gloss it would be “brighter” in the entry but it would feel much more formal and my home is not formal at all so I considered that when choosing the look and feel of the Roman Clay Faux Finish in Black.
What to Consider When Choosing a Paint Sheen
When choosing a paint sheen, consider the amount of use and wear the surface will receive, as well as your personal preference.
Flat or matte sheens are good for low-traffic areas, while glossier sheens are more durable and easier to clean, making them a good choice for high-traffic areas.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Paint Sheen is Best For Walls?
Flat, Eggshell, and Satin are preferred for walls.
Having said that…
Play with the sheen and have fun with it!
Paint your laundry room a high gloss teal on every surface and you will love it!
There are no rules as far as I am concerned on walls.
What Paint Sheen Is Best For Cabinets?
Cabinets need to be satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss.
I have been a professional cabinet painter for many years and take it from me, you do not want flat or eggshell paint on your cabinets.
What Sheen is Best For Furniture?
Furniture is dependent on traffic.
I ALWAYS protect painted furniture with a wax or a clear topcoat in the sheen of choice.
You can get clear sealer in any of the sheens as well, but the same rules apply even to clear!
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