What Sheen Level of Paint Should I Use?

There are many different types of paint sheen levels: Matte, Flat, Eggshell (Velvet), Satin, Semi-gloss and Gloss


Some manufacturers may use different sheen level names but these are the most popular.  Typically the more sheen a paint has, the more washable it will be.   However, there are washable and scrub-able flat paints so you need to figure out which sheen you prefer for your project and then find a suitable paint to purchase.


Explanation of paint sheen levels


Flat -- A matte finish that provides a dead flat sheen. 


    • Excellent touch-up ability
    • Provides a dull, soft look
    • Hides imperfections



    •  Usually not washable


Eggshell (Velvet)  --  A very dull finish with a slight angular sheen. 



    • Low sheen, yet washable
    • Good touch-up qualities



    • Not as washable as some people like


Satin --  An enamel finish with a medium amount of shine.



    • Very washable
    • Great for trim work and doors



    • Poor touch-up
    • Magnifies imperfections on walls
Semi-gloss -- A glossy finish used for high-traffic areas.



    • Great wash-ability



    • Poor touch-up
    • Magnifies imperfections more than satin on walls



Full Gloss --  The shinest paint sheen available.  Used on products that need superior protection.



    • Great for high-traffic areas
    • For use in schools, doctors offices
    • Can be used on floors and counter tops



    • Very shiny, not intended for walls


Sheen by room (walls)


Kitchen --  Satin or semi-gloss


Dining Room -- Flat or eggshell


Bathroom --  Satin or semi-gloss


Bedrooms --  Flat or eggshell


Hallway  -- Flat


Basement  --  Flat or waterproofing paint


Ceilings --  Flat


Trim work & doors -- Satin

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