Matte, Satin and Gloss – Paint Finishes Explained

If you are painting your home or business you may have heard that your job is not done once you have chosen the paint color. Now you need to focus on what paint finish or sheen you want to use in the space. Sheen refers to the how shiny the finish will look. Most paint brands come in several sheens or paint finishes including:

  • Flat/Ultra Flat
  • Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Pearl
  • Satin
  • Semi Gloss/Gloss
  • High Gloss

It is important to note that each brand of paint uses similar terminology, however they do not always offer all the levels of sheen. Some may refer to low sheen as Eggshell/Matte or combine the levels to make it less confusing for customers. Ask your painter or the store where you are purchasing what level of sheen you are getting and how it will impact the paint color – whether the color will reflect or absorb the light.

  • Flat or Matte Sheen – This has low shine and is usually a good choice for low traffic areas such as ceiling and bedrooms. The biggest selling point about these low shine options is that they hide flaws in the walls and bring out the color beautifully.
  • Eggshell and Satin – Both have a bit more shine to them than the flat/matte options. These choices are great in living rooms and dining rooms as they are a little easier to clean and allow the color to absorb light.
  • Pearl – According to Benjamin Moore retailers, Pearl is in the middle of the sheen spectrum. It has an almost iridescent quality and, because it creates a smooth, less porous surface, it’s easier to clean and is often used in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as for trim details, such as doors, window frames, base moldings, and crown moldings.
  • Semi Gloss and Gloss – If you are looking for a sheen in your highest traffic areas, these two sheens are optimal. They allow for repetitive clean ups without discoloring the paint and the allow for a shine!

If you are painting and trying to decide what sheen to use, consider the condition of the walls, level of shine you want, and how much traffic the areas get. Still undecided? Call Jerry Enos Painting instead at 978-546-6843, or visit our website to find out more.