Paint Sheen: 7 Types of Paint Finishes

Painting is probably on your list of things to do if you’re starting a home renovation project. But picking the proper color is only one aspect of it; you also need to take the paint’s gloss into account. The degree of glossiness and shine that the paint finish exhibits is referred to as paint sheen.

It is very important in defining the general appearance and longevity of your painted surfaces. We’ll examine the various paint sheens in this tutorial, along with their uses, so you can plan your painting tasks with confidence.

Table Of Contents

  • What is Paint Sheen?
  • Different Types of Paint Sheens
  • 1. Flat Paint
  • 2. Matte Paint
  • 3. Eggshell
  • 4. Low luster paint
  • 5. Satin
  • 6. Semi-Gloss
  • 7. High Gloss
  • Final Words

What Is Paint Sheen?

Firstly, let’s discuss sheen. According to Wikipedia, “Sheen is a measure of the reflected light (glossiness) from a paint finish. Glossy and flat (or matte) are typical extreme levels of glossiness of a finish. Glossy paints are shiny and reflect most light in the specular (mirror-like) direction, while on flat paints most of the light diffuses in a range of angles. The gloss level of paint can also affect its apparent color.”

The amount of glossiness or shininess present in a painted surface, which affects how light bounces off it, is referred to as paint sheen. It can be flat (low sheen, no shine) or high gloss (strong shine), which has an effect on both appearance and usability.

Here are some common uses of paint sheen you must know:


Different Types Of Paint Sheens

Sheen varies from brand to brand. Gloss sheens have the highest light-reflective characteristics. A higher sheen means a higher shine that will be more durable. On the other hand, flat paint has the lowest shine.

Here are some major types of sheen.

  1. Flat
  2. Matte
  3. Eggshell
  4. Low Luster
  5. Satin
  6. Semi-Gloss
  7. Gloss

1. Flat Paint

Flat paint sheen is a shallow reflective finish that dries instantly. It helps to give the best color payout. Flat paint is best for walls having patches, uneven textures, or any other imperfections. Flat paint color makes flaws and imperfections less noticeable and gives an overall matte look.

Flat paint offers unique benefits:

  • Bedrooms: Flat sheens create a comfortable environment that encourages relaxation.
  • Accent Walls: You can use these sheens to provide accent walls depth without overpowering the room.
  • Textured Walls: If there are flaws in your walls, choosing a flat sheen can help hide them.

2. Matte Paint

Matte finish is almost as shiny-free as flat, and it still has excellent hide and depth of color, but it’s a little more durable. Matte finish paint can also withstand a lot of washing, even in places like hallways and family rooms that get a lot of traffic. A matte finish adds a sense of luxury to many types of rooms in the home, including bedrooms and dining rooms.

Matte paint offers unique benefits:

  • Bedrooms: Create a comfortable environment that encourages relaxation with matte paint.
  • Accent Walls: You can use these sheens to provide accent walls depth with this.
  • Textured Walls: If there are flaws in your walls, must choose a flat paint sheen.

Related article: Types Of House Paint: Everything You Need To Know About House Paints

Living Room Colors, epoxy paint

3. Eggshell

Eggshell is one of the most popular paint finishes. It looks like flat or matte paint, but it’s much more durable. It is popular with professional and DIY painters alike. Eggshell is a paint sheen or gloss that looks flat but slightly glossed.

Eggshell paint is between matte and satin paint sheens. Eggshell sheen might be called universal. It reflects more light than matte to produce a low luster. This low luster pulls out more of the paint’s color than a flat sheen.

A versatile option that complements many interiors is eggshell sheen. It provides a subtle finish that is neither either shiny nor excessively matte. It’s typically used for:

  • Living Areas: Eggshell paint adds a subtle sheen to walls without calling attention to any furniture.
  • Dining Rooms: Eggshell’s understated elegance compliments dining areas to create a classy atmosphere.
  • Home offices: This shine achieves a polished harmony between form and function.

Related article Eggshell Paint: Everything You Need to Know about Eggshell Painting or Eggshell Sheen

4. Low Luster Paint

Low Luster paints are more glossy than flat and matte paints. This paint is excellent for areas requiring some gloss and has good cleaning properties and moisture resistance. It is used in exterior coatings and is best suited for siding and masonry surfaces.

Low Luster paint provides a soft gloss that is less pronounced than eggshell but somewhat more reflective than matte paint. For individuals who desire a hint of refinement yet want to appear subdued and modern, this shine is a nice balance.

Low Luster paint is adaptable and can be used in a variety of locations, including living rooms and bedrooms. Without highlighting surface flaws excessively, it adds a hint of refinement.

Low Luster paint works especially well for:

  • Entertainment Places: Low-luster paint gives places where you entertain visitors a hint of refinement.
  • Open Concept Areas: This shine flows between several spaces to produce a unified appearance.
  • Rooms with Moderate Use: Low luster achieves a compromise between durability and attractiveness, making it appropriate for a variety of settings.
types of paint sheens

5. Satin

Satin delivers a higher gloss while offering better stain resistance and durability. It is ideal for areas that crave definition. It highlights windows, shutters, trim, and interior doors.

Stain paint sheen is easy to clean, which makes it excellent for high-traffic areas. Its biggest flaw is it reveals application flaws, such as roller or brush strokes. Touch-ups later can be challenging.

The balance between beauty and utility is achieved by the satin paint gloss. It provides a gentle glow that enhances diverse settings and is useful for:

Satin paint works well for:

  • Bedrooms and Living Rooms: Satin sheens add a touch of elegance while being durable enough to handle daily activities.
  • Hallways: Hallways can feel more airy and welcoming thanks to the subdued sheen of satin.
  • Children’s Rooms: Satin is a good choice for rooms where messes are more likely to happen because it is simple to clean.

6. Semi-Gloss

Semi-Gloss is suitable for rooms with a lot of moisture, drips, and grease stains. It’s also suitable for walls and trim work that get a lot of wear and tear.

The luminous look of semi-gloss paint is perfect for highlighting the architectural details of your home and giving millwork, trim, and doors a sense of depth. Because it looks so shiny and smooth when it’s dry, it’s one of the best paint finishes for kitchen cabinets.

Semi-gloss paint sheen works well for:

  • Kitchens: Ideal for kitchen cabinets and trim due to its elegance and easy cleaning.
  • Bathrooms: Resistant to moisture, making it a smart choice for bathroom walls and ceilings.
  • Doors and Windows: Durable enough for doors and windows that experience frequent use.

Related article: How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

paint sheen with brushes

7. High Gloss

High-gloss paint sheen is challenging, ultra-shiny, and light-reflective and is the most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens. Consider the durability of appliance paint.

Practice your technique and prime any surfaces to make sure they’re completely clean before painting if you’re doing it yourself. To avoid making things look bad, don’t use a gloss finish on anything that isn’t completely smooth.

High-gloss paint sheen works well for:

  • Trim & Moldings: Glossier sheens emphasize architectural features by creating a stark contrast to the main wall color.
  • Bathrooms and kitchens: Because they are easy to wash off and clean, glossy surfaces are perfect for areas that are prone to spills and splatters.
  • Doors and Windows: Durable enough for doors and windows that experience frequent use.

Final Words

Paint sheen is the glossiness or shine of a paint finish. Glossy paint is shiny and reflects more light. On the other hand, most of the light diffuses in a range of angles in flat paints.

For more details and superior paint sheen quality, count on your local experts at WC Painting Services. We can help you with your project. To learn more, Call WC Painting Services at (508-657-4104) or schedule an online estimate today. Thanks for reading. Have a good day!

Also, read the mentioned article: Paint Cleaning: 7 Amazing Tips to Clean Paint, Walls, and Paint Sheen