Get the Lowdown on Paint Sheens

In Homeowner Tips, Interior Painting by Jeff DupontLeave a Comment

When choosing the right product for your painting project, you not only have to consider color, but also sheen!  This is much less straight forward than color alone, but picking the right sheen can have a huge impact.  Here is a list of the different types of paint sheens available as well as some of their qualities:

Flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss sheens painted horizontally next to each other in the same color, to demonstrate the visual differences between paint sheens
Photo by Miller Paint

Flat, or matte paint does not reflect light, making it great for concealing surface imperfections. It is best to use flat paint in low-traffic areas, since its porous surface can trap dirt, and does not stand up well to washing or scrubbing.  For these reasons, we most often use flat paint on ceilings.


Eggshell has a smooth finish and subtle shine.  It is a more practical choice over flat for bedrooms and living areas.  With its subtle sheen, eggshell has less of the concealing qualities of flat paint, but is more washable.

Satin has a higher sheen than eggshell and also holds up better to washing.  It is better suited for bathrooms and kitchens compared to eggshell, but it still isn’t ideal for heavy-duty washing or scrubbing. Overall, Satin is perhaps the most versatile sheen of paint, being a good fit for any area in the house.

Semi-gloss has an even higher sheen, and holds up nicely to washing and scrubbing.  It’s great for trim work, kids’ rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and high-traffic areas.

Gloss paint has the highest level of shine, and is also the most durable.  It is the easiest sheen of paint to wash and scrub, making it great for places more prone to messes like kitchens and playrooms, as well as high-traffic areas.  Because of it’s polished-looking finish, gloss paint also looks wonderful on trim work.

Still not sure which sheen to use on your particular project? That’s okay!  When you request a free estimate from Sound Painting Solutions, we always offer professional advice on the most appropriate products and finishes for your project. Call us today (206) 258-6676

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