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Paint Sheen 101


Are you planning on repainting a room in your house? Maybe you’re doing a full renovation that requires a lot of painting, but you’re not sure exactly what kind of paint to get? We’re here to help! Today we are going to be talking all things paint sheen; what you need to know, and why. There are six different levels of paint sheen, and each serves a different purpose. So what is the best type of sheen to use for your project? Let’s find out.

What exactly is paint sheen?

Sheen in paint is measured by reflecting light off of a dried paint surface at an 85 degree angle. The higher the sheen, the glossier and more reflective it’s going to be. As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to have lower sheen paint in lower traffic areas because it is more difficult to clean. Low sheen paint is good for dark, rich colors because it is less reflective, and it’s also good for covering up blemishes and imperfections. Higher sheen paints are good for accents, finishes, and high traffic areas because it highlights certain areas and is easy to clean.


The different levels of paint sheen

Flat paint is the dullest and is best used for dark, rich colors and for walls with any sort of imperfections because it helps cover them up. Matte paint has slightly more shine than flat does, and is best used in low traffic areas. If you are looking to paint a bedroom in a statement or darker color, matte is probably your best option!


Eggshell finish has slightly more shine than matte does, and it’s great for interiors and easy to clean. If you are painting your dining room, eggshell is recommended for a smooth looking finish in what is typically a more low traffic area.

A satin finish would be next, with slightly more shine than eggshell it’s great for a really pretty finish. It’s recommended for use in high traffic areas like family rooms.


After eggshell, there’s semi-gloss and high-gloss. Both have better washability and are good for high traffic, but it’s good to keep in mind that they will highlight imperfections, so it’s best to use them on smooth surfaces. High-gloss is especially good for finishes; things like trim, doors and cabinets, and the fact they are so easy to clean makes it great for those high touch areas. If you’re looking to paint your kitchen and/or any fixtures within it, semi or high gloss will be the way to go.


So there you have it, paint sheen 101! We hope you feel ready to make an informed decision about your next painting project. Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below!

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