A Quick Review of Sheens or Finishes

August 8, 2022

Ever seen the same paint color in two spaces and notice that they oddly look different? Strange isn’t it? 

It could be due to the natural or artificial lighting, the surrounding furnishings, or because a different sheen or finish was used. 

A color palette in one space will look vastly different in another when a different level of sheen or finish is used. We have spoken about this aspect of painting in past blogs but let’s review the types of finishes and how they may create a different aesthetic depending on the type you choose. 


Types of Paint Finishes

As a Benjamin Moore Paint dealer, we closely follow the Benjamin Moore sheens or finishes as different paint companies use different terminology and levels of sheen. 

Sheen, also called finish, refers to how shiny the finish coat of paint will look. When deciding on sheen you will want to consider the amount of traffic the space sees, the condition of the wall as well as how much light the room tends to receive, either natural or artificial.

The main types of finish range from flat to high-gloss. The sheen in between these two includes eggshell, pearl, satin, and semi-gloss in order from lowest luster to highest. 

Sheen boils down to how much a homeowner wants the surface to absorb the light or reflect the light. Lower sheens like flat, matte, and eggshell absorb the light while pearl, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss reflect the light making the wall or surface have a shinier coating. 

Where to Use Each Sheen 

When a space has high traffic and lots of hands touch the walls like a child’s room or the trim near light switches, we tend to recommend using a higher gloss paint sheen. The reason for this is that the higher the gloss, the easier messes are to wipe off and clean up without damaging the paint. High-traffic trim, doors, windows, and children’s rooms may want to utilize slightly higher gloss such as satin, semi-gloss, or on rare occasions high-gloss. 

When spaces have uneven walls or blemishes, lower sheens can sometimes hide the blemishes since they will absorb rather than repel the light. In these cases, flat, matte, eggshell, or satin may be the best choices. 

Aside from hiding imperfections, the lower gloss finishes tend to be the favorites of homeowners looking for a soft look rather than a shiny finish. 

Still, having trouble deciding on a sheen? Talk to our color consultants who can help you choose the right level sheen for your space. Remember to test out your sheens in the room before making your final decision. 


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