Home Painting What Are The Varied Paint Sheens? (Shocking)

What Are The Varied Paint Sheens? (Shocking)


various paint sheen samples

As a paint skilled, purchasers typically ask, “What are the varied paint sheens?” The reply is as follows:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Satin 
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss

I’ll study every sheen in additional element and checklist the professionals and cons, so you’ll be able to select one of the best sheen in your subsequent portray challenge.

I’ll be specializing in inside paint tasks, though the fundamentals of every end apply to exterior work, too.

What Is Paint Sheen, And Why Does It Matter?

Paint sheen is the quantity of mirrored gentle from a paint end. In different phrases, the sheen is how we describe a painted floor’s shininess.

Years in the past, paint contractors and owners chosen sheens primarily based on sturdiness.

The final precept was the glossier the sheen, the extra sturdy the end. You’ll see shiny finishes in older loos, faculty hallways, and gymnasiums. 

Whereas this precept continues to be legitimate in the present day, paint producers have come a great distance since these days. Immediately, contractors and owners have extra choices.

For excellent water resistance in loos however in a matte end, take into account Aura Bathtub & Spa.

Scuff-resistant paints by Benjamin Moore and Dwelling Depot supply superior wall protections and are available flat, matte, and eggshell.

Not All Paint Sheens Are Created Equal

Sadly, there isn’t an business commonplace for figuring out sheens. So, sheens will differ from producer to producer.

Probably the most important discrepancies are the mid-sheens like matte, eggshell, and satin. Look at the paint retailer’s sheen card for reference or ask the supervisor for which end is greatest in your challenge. 

Let’s take a look at every sheen in additional element…

Flat Sheen

A flat end displays little to no gentle and seems boring. Flat paint is without doubt one of the hottest paints due to these properties. Because it isn’t shiny, it hides drywall imperfections and will be touched up simpler than the opposite sheens. 

It’s subsequent to not possible for drywall installers to make ceilings completely easy. For these causes, flat paint is right for ceilings.

Dwelling builders use flat paint for partitions to cover imperfections, seams, bowed partitions, and so forth. Contractors additionally use flats sometimes in lighter colours for a similar causes.

I’m not implying builders are shady characters, however they’re within the enterprise of setting up houses as rapidly as potential. Utilizing a flat end quickens their work.

Whereas we’re on the subject of recent houses, most contractors supply new house consumers the choice of upgrading to a matte or eggshell end. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that their markup is extravagant.

I at all times advise new owners by no means to go this route. Let your builder paint the house flat as a result of the house will settle after a yr, and normally the contractor will repair nail pops and settling points.

As soon as that section is completed, you’ll be able to repaint with a greater high quality paints. And it’ll be cheaper than what the builder quoted!

One more reason flats are contractors’ favorites is that they’re inexpensive. You should buy good-quality flat paint from any main retailer for round $20 a gallon.  


  • Least costly
  • Hides defects and wall imperfections
  • Simple touch-up
  • Superb for ceilings


  • Not washer-friendly (exhibits hand prints and scuffs)

Matte End

matte finish purple dining room

A matte end has a delicate sheen however isn’t as shiny as an eggshell end. This end may be very versatile, and for those who splurge on top-end paint, it’s washer-friendly and offers rooms a lush look. 

I like to recommend matte finishes when purchasers paint rooms in a deep base coloration in eating rooms or workplaces.

My go-to favourite is Benjamin Moore’s Regal in a matte end. The colour blends evenly, the paint is a dream to work with, and the end appears to be like velvety. 

Mattes are additionally appropriate for tall partitions as a result of the decrease sheen hides drywall seams and different imperfections. 

The associated fee for matte paint jumps significantly from flat paints. Count on to pay $30-40 a gallon for high quality matte paint, whereas these like Regal bounce to $50-60 a gallon.


  • Good for taller rooms
  • Wonderful for lush, regal colours
  • Washer-friendly


  • Costlier
  • Not superb for high-traffic areas

Eggshell Sheen

After I began as a painter, I made a standard rookie mistake.

I went to the paint retailer and ordered a gallon of eggshell. The clerk requested me what coloration. I rolled my eyes and replied, “Umm, eggshell.” He politely knowledgeable me that it was the sheen, not a coloration.

Possibly you’ve made this identical mistake! Most professionals affiliate eggshell with the end, though they’ll suggest eggshell colours due to this misunderstanding.

Eggshell sheen may be very widespread with paint contractors and owners as a result of it’s washer-friendly and sturdy.

Designers and owners favor it for partitions as a result of it gives a superb distinction to the flat ceiling and glossy trim. 

Eggshell is probably the most versatile sheen, so it may be utilized in any room in the home, though I’d keep away from utilizing it for ceilings. 

The standard of paint you select can even have an effect on your price. Like matte finishes, eggshell paints are pricier than flats. And be sure you examine the sheen chart on the retailer.

I’ve seen some eggshells look extra like a satin end, which exhibits wall imperfections.  


  • Common sheen for partitions
  • Versatile; appropriate for any room
  • Washer-friendly


  • Can’t contact up; sheens will flash

Satin Sheen

Subsequent on our checklist is a satin end. Because the identify implies, satin gives a chic end and appears like, you guessed it, satin. Whereas some individuals have used satin for partitions, most contractors and owners apply it to trim. 

Years in the past, satin would have been used on rest room partitions or high-traffic areas as a result of it resists moisture and is extra sturdy than eggshell.

The disadvantage is a satin wall will accent each blemish, curler nap, brushstroke, and nail pop.

Let’s discuss particularly about satin for trim. As a result of in the present day’s paints are superior to these years in the past, a satin end shall be as sturdy as a semi-gloss or gloss end.

It comes right down to what sheen you favor; there isn’t a proper or flawed reply. 

Whilst you could also be tempted to make use of a less expensive paint in your trim, I at all times suggest utilizing the very best. Sherwin Williams Professional Basic and Benjamin Moore’s Advance are one of the best available on the market.

The settling agent in each signifies that when brushed, the end will “settle” and look nearly such as you sprayed it.

These merchandise aren’t low cost and vary within the $60-70 a gallon vary. Nevertheless, paint for trim goes a great distance, so that you received’t want many gallons. 


  • Gorgeous end on trim
  • Extra sturdy than eggshell, matte, and flat


  • Not fitted to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Semi-Gloss Sheen

semi floss yellow painted eggs

Semi-gloss is the “go-to” end on the trim in most houses. I’m positive some have used this end on partitions however hopefully just for impact or maybe a themed room.

Keep in mind, the shinier a paint, the extra it accents wall imperfections. 

When utilized to crown molding, the wooden pops within the gentle and contrasts between a flat ceiling and a matte or eggshell wall. On doorways and thresholds, the sheen is sturdy and straightforward to scrub. 

Concerning semi-gloss for trim, this comes down to private style. It might even be what’s at present in your house, so it’s greatest to stick with semi-gloss except you’re ready to repaint your whole trim.

The one time I’ve used semi-gloss on a wall was for a pretend challenge. I used to be to color a boy’s room with Captain America colours. The proprietor wished the purple stripes to be shiny, so I used semi-gloss.

However earlier than ordering paint, I defined that the sheen would spotlight nicks, dips, and seams. They insisted, and I complied. Whereas that’s a small instance, I by no means use semi-gloss on partitions. 

Count on to pay the identical quantity for an incredible semi-gloss paint as you’ll for satin. 


  • Common sheen for trim
  • Sturdy and washer-friendly


  • Not fitted to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Gloss Sheen

Final on our checklist is gloss. You’ll additionally discover ultra-shiny finishes like high-gloss and people known as “moist look” for a extremely shiny end.

I’ll be specializing in the traits of gloss, however these attributes apply to those shinier finishes.

Because the identify implies, gloss end is the shiniest sheen on our checklist. It displays probably the most gentle and gives a shocking look in sure conditions. Predominantly, gloss sheen is reserved just for trim.

As you’ll be able to think about, for those who painted a wall with a gloss end, the dings, patches, seams, and different oddities would seem to leap off the wall. 

Like satin and semi-gloss, there isn’t a proper or flawed when choosing a sheen in your trim. Nevertheless, pay attention to the traits in your space, particularly for those who plan on promoting your property. 

Utilizing a gloss end might deter future homebuyers.

The exception could also be when a entrance door is painted a shiny end. Gloss black on a entrance door may give your property a European look. However remember that darkish colours and excessive gloss present every thing, even brush strokes. 

And if you wish to get that door to be as easy and glossy black as a Steinway piano, take a look at Fantastic Paints of Europe.

Whereas I’ve by no means used these merchandise, I’ll advise that that is for knowledgeable painters solely and can price some huge cash and time!


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