Most people tend to think their only choice when picking out paint is the color. What they forget about is the sheen they would like their paint to be. When asking a customer what sheen they would like, I am often confronted with confused faces followed by questions.
With that being said and because of the questions, here is a break down of the sheens and what use they are most appropriate for.
Interior Trends: Wall paint either Flat, Matte, Eggshell or Satin followed by Satin or Semi-Gloss for the trim.
Exterior Trends: House paint Flat or Satin followed by a Satin or Semi-Gloss trim paint.
Flat: A dead flat paint means it has virtually no light reflectivity which tends to hide flaws and imperfections well. The main problem with a Flat sheen is there is not much in the way of scrubability so it is suggested that this type of paint be used in an area which does not require much in the way of clean up. One benefit of a flat sheen is not only the ability to hide flaws but it also tends to cover better than glossier paints. Also, a Flat sheen tends to have a slight rough feel in comparison to other sheens. A Flat Sheen is suggested for use in Bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms and Ceilings.
Matte: A Matte finish is very similar to a flat sheen in the sense there is virtually no light reflectivity so it will also cover up flaws and imperfections well. A matte finish has a smooth, velvety feel. A matte finish cannot withstand a lot of scrubbing. This type of finish is recommended for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and hallways.
Eggshell: An Eggshell Finish is a little more durable than a flat or matte finish except there is slight light refection. When you look at an eggshell finish from one angle, it can appear to be a flat paint but then can almost appear as a satin when looking from a different angle. Much like a flat, an eggshell finish tends to hide imperfections and flaws well. This type of sheen tends to keep the eyes “moving” making it great for bringing a sense of openness to an area that appears small, creating the illusion of a bigger environment. This type of paint also has a nice almost velvety feel and tends to be slightly more durable than a Flat or Matte Finish. An eggshell finish is recommended for use in almost every room of a home except bathrooms or any areas exposed to higher humidity.
Satin: A Satin Finish carries a nicely moderate shine which reflects a good amount of light without being too shiny. A satin finish will not hide flaws and imperfections like a Flat or a Matte but it does provide a very durable finish that brings a sense of elegance to any room. This finish can be scrubbed fairly well without damaging the surface. This type of paint is idea for Trim work but anymore is used instead of a flat finish on exterior paint jobs. Best uses: Family room, playroom, laundry room, bathroom, bedrooms, kitchens, shutters and doors.
Semi-Gloss: A Semi-Gloss finish is significantly higher in sheen than a Satin finish but has a fairly lower sheen than a full gloss finish. This finish has excellent scrubability making it idea for high traffic areas where clean-up may be needed regularly. This finish is pretty resistant to scuff marks and dirt. Ideal uses: kitchens, bathrooms, trim, doors and windows.
Gloss: Gloss is the highest sheen available for purchase. This sheen is extremely durable, stain resistant and can be scrubbed very easily without damaging the surface; however, this very glossy surface tend to highlight flaws and imperfections. Also, glossy finishes do require more coats than other paints due to their highly reflective nature. Gloss paint is a great choice for when you want to make an impact in a kitchen, bathroom or utility room.
Things to keep in mind:
The glossier the paint the less paint coverage you receive.
The higher the sheen the better durability you receive. EXCEPT WITH AURA
One paint company’s satin may be another company’s semi-gloss and vice versa. No one company shares its sheen with another so always be careful. If you are unsure, ask them to take a sample out of the can so you can see what range of gloss you are receiving.
Flat/Matte sheens are prone to absorb dirt and grime. They tend to stain easily and are somewhat difficult to clean up.
Eggshell and Satin finishes offer a sense of depth and warmth to almost any room.
Satin, Semi-Gloss and Glossy finishes are able to withstand moisture making them perfect for bathroom and kitchen uses!