But first, what is sheen, anyway?
A paint’s sheen is the amount of light it reflects, which can dramatically change how a color looks in your home. It is determined by the amount of additives in proportion to dye within a paint. The higher the sheen, the more durable the paint will be. But it will require more coats.
Keep that in mind when buying paint, so you can select the best choice for the room you will be painting.
This is paint that contains no sheen. The biggest benefit to a flat finish is the paint coverage: it typically requires only one or two coats, which helps speed the job along. It can also make imperfections in the surface less noticeable. However, it is not nearly as durable as other paints and is difficult to clean.
Best for: low-traffic areas, like ceilings and adult bedrooms
Satin and Eggshell
While still on the low end of the sheen scale, these finishes have a little bit of a sheen to them. They reflect a little bit more light than flat/matte paints and are more durable.
Best for: high-traffic areas, small spaces, living rooms, dining rooms, and children’s bedrooms
The more glossy a paint is, the more resistant it will be to dirt and scuff marks. It’s also easier to clean than any other sheen but high gloss. Its ability to repel moisture also makes it great for high-humidity areas. The trade-off is that any bumps or dents in the surface will be more noticeable.
Best for: kitchens, bathrooms, trim, windows, and doors.
Incredibly durable, stain resistant, and easy to clean, high gloss paint can stand up to the messiest conditions. The downside? It requires several coats and will highlight flaws. And if the surface is too smooth, it will take on a plastic appearance.
Best for: kitchens, doors, and window trims
When selecting any paint, it’s a good idea to apply a small amount to part of the area so you can see how it will look in your home. The last thing you want to do is have to repaint after all your hard work. Download our guide to take with you to the store for the best results.