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What Is Paint Sheen And What Are The Different Types?

Posted on Feb 29, 2016 5:00:00 AM by Eric Dokey

What_Is_Paint_Sheen_And_What_Are_The_Different_Types.jpgAmateur painters, this is the blog you’ve been waiting for. If you’ve been a regular reader (thanks!), then you know we’ve discussed a variety of topics on this blog. But we’ve yet to delve deep into sheens. Flat; eggshell; satin – what does it all mean? We’re here to explain.

Before we dive in, let me answer this question: what’s the point of sheens? Well, the sheens or “finish” of paint determine where they would best be used. Each finish has its own benefits and purpose, and some work better in certain areas. Here are the sheens you should be familiar with:

Flat paint

I like flat paint because it helps hide imperfections, but it’s not great at getting dirty. New stains will show up pretty easily on flat paint, which is why it’s usually reserved for ceilings. Flat paint also doesn’t reflect light, which is what makes it so forgiving to blemishes (pre-paint job).


Is it possible to type satin without thinking of something more sinister? But I digress… Satin is the paint that can withstand a beating, which makes it ideal for high traffic areas such as living rooms or hallways. It can also be wiped clean rather easily, which makes it one of the most versatile finishes available.


If you like to stick “right in the meaty part of the curve” (a la George Costanza), then eggshell is the paint for you. It’s most notable feature is that it’s in the middle of all the other paint finishes. It’s not as cleanable as satin (but still kind of cleanable) and not as shiny as gloss or semi-gloss. It’s also considered “low luster,” which makes it ideal for common areas with medium traffic (such as bedrooms).


As the name implies, semi-gloss is slightly shiny, which is why it’s best in rooms with a lot of natural light. Painters recommend using semi-gloss for trim and areas where there’s significant moisture – the semi-gloss can handle it.


This type of paint is for the prettiest room in your house, or the one you want the most attention for. High-gloss is the paint sheen that gives us the most vivid colors, and it’s also the easiest to clean. However, it will also highlight any imperfections. All of these features make it great kitchens and bathrooms, but not so great for interior walls of bedrooms.

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Topics: Residential

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