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. 


     Advantages

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

 

     Disadvantages

    •  Usually not washable

 

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

 

     Advantages

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

 

     Disadvantages

    • Not as washable as some people like

 

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

 

     Advantages

    • Very washable
    • Great for trim work and doors

 

     Disadvantages

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

 

     Advantages

    • Great wash-ability

 

     Disadvantages

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

 

 

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

 

     Advantages

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

 

     Disadvantages

    • 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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