Paint Sheen 101


So, you committed to a paint color! You went through a multitude of color swatches and samples, asked the opinions of friends and relatives, and have finally landed on a hue that you love. Congratulations! Well, guess what? Now you need to pick the sheen (or finish) for that beautiful color.

Sheen means the level of glossiness a color appears on your walls ranging from: high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell or flat. The level of sheen indicates how shiny and how durable the paint will be. Therefore, different rooms need different levels of sheen. Here is a quick guide to paint finishes to help you choose the right level for the room you are painting.

High- Gloss –  This sheen has a brilliant and shiny appearance. It’s the highest level of gloss available. It is also known as the most durable and easiest to clean of all the sheens. High-gloss is an excellent choice for areas like kitchens where sticky fingers or dirty hands find a way to leave marks on the walls. High-gloss allows for dirt, grime and grease to be easily wiped away regularly without damaging the paint color.

Semi-Gloss – This paint sheen has a sleek, radiant look that resists mildew, moisture and wear. This is a great choice for bathrooms and trim that takes a lot of abuse. The durability is also high on this finish so it is a good choice for areas that see a lot of traffic.

Satin – This sheen is often described as velvety or “pearl-like” in its appearance as it is deeper in tone but less shiny. It can handle some moisture and is a good choice for well used rooms such as: family rooms, foyers, hallways, or dens.

Eggshell – This sheen falls somewhere in the glossiness factor between satin and flat in that it has much less shine and only a little luster to the appearance. Named for the shell of a typical chicken egg, it is great for finishing areas that don’t bet a lot of bumps and dings. Again, depending upon your preference, this sheen would be a great choice for a living room or bedroom.

Flat – This sheen has the least reflective finish and the lowest luster level. It applies easily to walls and soaks up the light rather than reflect it. This sheen is a good choice for adult bedrooms and areas where the walls do not need regular cleaning.

No matter what sheen you choose, try out your color choice in several finishes before making your final choice. Each sheen will look a bit different in the light and reflective nature of the room. If you need help deciding what sheen will be best for each room ask our paint professionals at Jerry Enos to help.