Guide to Paint Sheens

Guide to Paint Sheens

 – Walking into a paint section in any home improvement store can be mind boggling. Not only do you have to decide on a color by closely examining the thousands of different colors represented on the paint swatches, but the decision doesn’t end there. Next, you will be asked what size of paint you need. Then onto what type of sheen. The sheen is most often given the least amount of thought and is commonly misunderstood as what type of sheen performs best in each room of the home and also on the exterior of the home.

Let’s break down the different types of sheens available and the most common uses for each:

Guide to Paint Sheens

SatinPerfect for high traffic areas.  A satin finish is easy to clean and is typically found in entry foyers, hallways, family rooms and children’s bedrooms. Satin and gloss are also both utilized on interior woodwork.

Semi – GlossAny place that has moisture is a great place to apply semi-gloss paint. From bathrooms to kitchens, semi-gloss provides high durability and is also washable (and scrubbable).

High GlossThis is the easiest to clean and most durable of the paint sheens. Because it is high gloss, this paint finish is perfect for areas that attract sticky fingers such as the kitchen. Also, think about using a high gloss finish for cabinetry, doors, and trim. While it is very durable, it also can show every imperfection so make sure that you do the necessary prep work before applying it. High gloss paint is known for being light-reflecting, shiny and tough.

EggshellOn the scale of paint sheens, eggshell places between a flat and satin. The eggshell sheen is flat with little luster, much like a real egg shell. This type of sheen is perfect for living rooms and dining rooms, offers a middle of the line durability and can hide imperfections well. Designers like the eggshell finish because of its flat appearance, yet it offers more durability than the flat sheen type.

Matte or FlatThis type of sheen can provide the most coverage and can soak up light, rather than reflect it like most other paint sheen types. If no kids are present in the house, then it can be a great paint for interior rooms that don’t face much abuse. It offers a low to medium durability and can be tough to clean without the paint coming off. But on the flip side, it can conceal any imperfections better than a higher sheen paint. This versatile paint type is perfect for ceilings and also offers various types of finishes such as silk and dead-flat matte.

Choosing the right paint sheen takes consideration of both practical as well as aesthetic items. There are a few general rules of thumb when you are considering paint sheen. First off is that the glossier the finish, the better the durability you will have. To follow that, the higher the gloss, the more washable the surface is. On the flip side, a flatter paint allows for touch-ups more easily and can also hide any surface imperfections. Adding sheen to paint also comes at a cost. On average you’ll pay a dollar or two per gallon more to go up on the sheen scale.

Make sure to determine the best sheen for your next paint project. While painting may just seem as easy as picking out the color and beginning to paint, there is a lot more that goes into the successful painting project. With a little pre-planning, research and forethought, you can transform any room of the home just with a simple change of paint color (and the right sheen).

FSBOwe buy houses, we buy old houses, we buy homes, homes for sale by owner, Guide to Paint Sheens

Rick Toney

View posts by Rick Toney
Rick Toney Is A Seasoned Real Estate Professional With Over 25 Years Of Real Estate Experience, Writes A Weekly Real Estate Blog And Is A Principal of Blue Moon Realty Group And Mesa Realty Advisors. Blue Moon Realty Group Is A Residential Redevelopment Company Specializing In The Purchase And Renovation Of Older And Physically Distressed Homes (Flip This House Boston). Mesa Realty Advisors Is An Affordable Housing Developer Specializing In The Redevelopment Of Existing Low-Income Housing Properties. Rick Is A Certified Public Accountant (CPA - Retired) In The State Of California, A Certified Property Manager (CPM - Retired) And A Real Estate Broker In The States Of California (Retired) And Massachusetts.

1 Comment

  1. JordanJune 18, 2015

    This is an awesome guide to paint sheens! I usually only see those in relation to how they’ll look, not even necessarily what’s best to have where and how easy they are to clean. Thanks so much for sharing this!


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