Paint Finishes: How To Choose The Right Sheen For Your Home’s Interior


Paint Finishes

When it comes to painting the interior of your home, there are two big decisions to make besides the paint color. The first decision is the type of color you choose, and the second decision is choosing the right paint finish or sheen. Finishes range from flat to glossy and in between, each with its own look and benefits. In this article, we’ll help you choose the right sheen for your home’s interior.

Understanding Paint Sheen

Before we go into how to choose the right finish, the first thing to know is what paint sheen is and its purpose. To put it simply, paint sheen is used to measure the amount of light reflected off a painted surface. That is, how the light reflects off the painted surface. A paint’s sheen affects its appearance, durability, and cleaning difficulty. The higher concentration of sheen, the more enamel it has.

The Most Common Paint Sheens Are (From Dull To Shiny):


Flat Enamel





Paint Sheen Explained:


The flat sheen is the least reflective of all the finishes on this list, making it ideal for older homes or homeowners who wish to hide imperfections from being too obvious. This type of sheen soaks up the light instead of reflecting it. In fact, flat paint has no shine at all, so it’s not able to reflect any light. Flat paints are easy to touch up since they blend better and are perfect for low-traffic areas like bedrooms, dining rooms, and ceilings.

Do be careful, as this finish is not washable, and if you attempt to scrub it, the paint may come off, leaving a dull spot. Therefore, we are rating this as medium-low durability. A gallon of flat paint can range from $20 to $40.


Matte finishes are also known as velvet finishes. Just like flat sheen, matte has low- gloss but does have a bit more shine than flat paint. Matte paint is great for covering up older walls and is a slightly better finish than flat.


Eggshell sheen is slightly more reflective than flat sheen, giving it a low luster. It is between satin and flat sheen on the scale. Eggshell is easy to clean, making it great for living rooms, hallways, and bedrooms. Eggshell paint also shows fewer brush strokes than semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes. A gallon of eggshell paint can range from $25 to $50, and its durability is medium.


Satin sheen has a soft glow that is more durable than eggshells. It is easy to clean, making it ideal for high-traffic areas like family rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Satin paint is also a good optional use for board trims, such as baseboards and window casings, because of its durability and ease of use. A good tip is to be careful during painting, as it can show its application of brush strokes or roller use. A gallon of satin paint can range from $30 to $60.


Semi-gloss sheen is reflective and durable. It is the perfect choice for high-traffic areas that can require more cleaning, like kitchens, bathrooms, and playrooms. Semi-gloss paint is the best option for doors, cabinets, and trim because it is tough and easy to clean. A gallon of semi-gloss paint can cost from $35 to $70, and it’s the second most durable sheen option on this list.


Glossy sheen is the shiniest of all finishes, providing the highest amount of light reflectiveness. It is also the most durable of all the sheens and is perfect for areas that require constant cleanings, such as kitchens and bathrooms. It can also be used for furniture and painting your cabinets; overall, it is a great option for different paint projects. However, this finish is not suitable for walls, as it tends to bring out its imperfections and make them more noticeable. A gallon of glossy paint can range from $40 to $80.

Other Factors To Consider

When choosing the right sheen for your home’s interior walls and trim, consider the room’s function and the level of activity that takes place in it. Low-traffic areas like bedrooms and living rooms work great with flat or eggshell finishes. For high-traffic areas like the kitchen, bathrooms, and family rooms, choose a paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish for more durability and easy cleaning. Glossy sheens are perfect for trim and furniture projects.

Consider the light in your room as well. Rooms with a lot of natural light, such as those with big windows or skylights, will only highlight the paint’s sheen. To tone it down, you may want to choose a lower-sheen paint.

Lastly, consider the texture of your walls. Flat sheens can hide wall imperfections, but they can also make the walls appear dull. On the other hand, glossy finishes can highlight any imperfections, so they are not suitable for these textured walls. Eggshell and satin sheens are good options for textured walls, as they provide a low luster without drawing attention to the wall’s imperfections.

Tips For Painting

When starting a paint project, here are some tips to ensure a smooth and even Jon:

  • Buy good-quality paint brushes or rollers to ensure even spread.
  • Use a primer before painting to ensure better adhesion and coverage.
  • Use a paint extender to slow down the drying process, allowing for a smoother finish.
  • Work in small sections, blending the edges as you go to prevent lap marks.
  • Use long, even strokes when applying the paint, and avoid going over the same spot too many times.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.
  • Contact a local painting company to provide a color consultation and estimate in case you are unsure of how to start.
  • Local painting companies can also provide special discounts depending on the project if you do not want to attempt it yourself.

Choosing the right sheen for your home’s interior is as important as choosing the best paint color. Consider the room’s function, level of activity, lighting, and wall texture when selecting the perfect sheen for you. And when painting, follow the tips above to ensure a smooth and even finish. With the right sheen and painting techniques, your home’s interior can look beautiful and well-maintained for years to come.

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Preeti Shah is a person who loves checking out different styles and designs of houses. She took interior designing in college and is practicing in the field of home improvement for five years now. In her spare time, she is usually searching the web for interesting and fascinating home designs.


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