Paint Sheen Guide

November 5, 2018

Picking a color to paint a space can be a daunting decision. There are so many factors to take into account like: the amount of light, the size of the room, the mood you want to portray, and the color palette of adjacent rooms. Add into this decision the fact that every color on that famed “color wheel” looks a little different depending upon the sheen or finish of the paint. Today, we are examining the different types of paint sheens. Hopefully, this will aid you in your decision-making process as you narrow your choices for your paint project.

What are Paint Sheens?

The idea of paint sheen is really a question of how shiny you want your paint to look? Do you want it to reflect the light or absorb the light in a room? Do you want it to be easy to clean, or is the surface low maintenance and will need little cleaning? There is a spectrum of paint sheens from no shine (flat paint) all the way up to very shiny (high-gloss). Making things even more confusing is the fact that different brands use different terminology when it comes to these sheens. For example some paint brands label the sheen levels flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and high-gloss, while other brands include satin as a sheen level and call the “flat” sheen “matte.” Don’t worry, once you have started looking at the different sheens, you will begin to spot the differences in no time.

What’s the Difference?

While at first you may think, a color is a color no matter what sheen it is, this is not true. The higher the gloss, such as semi-gloss and high-gloss, the easier the surface is to clean and wipe down after a smudge, streak, or mess has occurred. The lower the level of gloss, such as flat and eggshell, the more difficult that cleaning can be.

In addition, the higher the gloss, the more the paint color is reflected, while in lower level sheens, the color is absorbed. If your walls have imperfections they can be hidden better with a lower sheen level like satin, eggshell, or flat. Also, if you are looking for something that looks soft or almost velvety, you may want to look into satin or eggshell enamel.

What to Use in Each Room?

House Logic online has broken down the sheens or finishes and which rooms they may work well in. Here is a handy graphic from their site.

If you have questions about which sheen may work best in your space contact Jerry Enos Painting at 978-546-6843, or visit our website.

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