Sheen, in the paint world, is the level of gloss or shine in the paint product. The more gloss paint has, the shinier it is and the more washable the surface. So, different sheens work better in some regions of your home. Finding the right shine depends on your project and location.
Types of sheen
- Flat, also called matte, glosses work best in lower-traffic areas where walls are less likely to gather fingerprints, smudges or scrapes. Matte has almost no shine and works best on bigger walls such as living rooms, master and guest bedrooms, and formal dining rooms. Because it does not reflect as much light, a flat finish may hide minor imperfections and repairs.
- Ceiling flat is a paint specially designed to paint ceilings. These paints have a flat finish but are more splatter-resistant and work well to hide imperfections in the ceiling. Some ceiling paints also have a temporary colorant (often purple or pink) to help you see any missed areas as you paint the ceiling. As the paint dries, the color disappears, leaving behind a smooth white surface.
- Eggshell, sometimes called kids’ room paints, have slightly more sheen than flat paints which makes them more washable. Such paint finishes hold up to a bit of scrubbing and work well in children’s rooms, family rooms, and entryways and other areas where touching walls is more likely.
- Satin finishes are another step up the sheen ladder. While not as shiny as a semi-gloss or gloss, satin finishes are easy to clean and can be an excellent choice for nearly any room where easy clean up is a necessity.
- Semi-gloss paints are very durable. Often used in moist areas such as bathrooms, semi-gloss wipes down very quickly with a simple sponge or cloth. Walls painted with semi-gloss paint repel water, so walls above the shower stall, for instance, are less prone to mold or mildew. Semi-gloss paints also work well in laundry rooms where you can just dust off the dryer lint without damaging or marring the paint. Semi-gloss also works well for trim along doors and windows, giving that extra light-reflections combined with easy care.
- High-gloss paints create an especially reflective surface and work nicely on doors, cabinets, shelving, and any area subject to constant use. It is the easiest sheen to clean, gives a beautiful shine, and when properly prepared and applied, lasts a long time.
If you’re unsure which sheen is best for your paint project, chat with a specialist at your local professional paint store. There, you’ll get advice and the proper tools to complete your project and clean up afterward.