When choosing what sheen to use you must consider both how the paint looks and how well it cleans up or how “scrubbable” it is. Different rooms have different sheen needs. Some limits have been lifted in recent years with advancements and innovation in the paint manufacturing industry. There are new flat, matte, and eggshell paints that are very scrubbable like high gloss sheen paints.
How Shiny Is Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, Gloss, High Gloss
- Flat Sheen– Flat means to have no shine to it at all.
- Matte Sheen– A Matte finish will feel much slicker than a flat and will not give off much of a reflection.
- Eggshell Sheen– An eggshell finish will start to show reflections. Maybe a red object close by will cast a slight pink shadow across the finish in a well-lit room. You will not see any distinct shadows of any objects in this finish.
- Satin Sheen– A satin finish is what most laminated surfaces are. It is shiny but don’t expect to fix your hair in the reflection.
- Semi-Gloss Sheen– semi-gloss are what most trim is. This is a totally slick surface.
- Gloss Sheen– A gloss paint will be shiny enough to show a distinct reflection although depending on the color.
- High Gloss Sheen– High gloss is usually only achievable in an oil paint. It will show a mirror like finish.
What Sheen To Use For Bathrooms
Bathrooms should always be done in at least an eggshell. Some high-grade paints are made in a matte finish that is scrubbable.
What Sheen To Use For Interior Walls
Interior walls can be any sheen that you like. Most will prefer an eggshell because it is both slightly clean-able and flat enough to hide imperfections in the drywall.
What Sheen To Use For Dark Colors
Dark colors will often both seem shinier and also be slightly shinier. The colorants used in paint are shiny themselves so they can increase the sheen if used in high quantities. Dark colors should never be in flat paint unless its in an area that is out of reach and will never be scraped..
What Sheen To Use For Ceilings
99.9% of the time flat is the correct choice for ceilings. I have seen many of ceiling painted with dark glossy paint. Some look good and some looked horrible. If it has a texture or imperfections – keep it flat!
What Sheen To Use For High Traffic Areas
High traffic areas can always use a high-grade paint. If you don’t want to make the cost leap to the high-grade paint then you have no choice but to use at least a satin or semi-gloss for high traffic area.
What Sheen To Use For Trim
Trim should stand out and is painted in a glossy sheen. Trim should also be at least two or more jumps away from the wall sheen. So if the walls are flat use satin or higher and eggshell walls should receive semi-gloss or higher. Use the lower satin sheen for older homes as this will help to not show off nicks and imperfections.