When you go to a home improvement store to have paint mixed for your interior painting project, they will ask you what sheen, or finish, you want as the base. You’ve likely heard the terms before: eggshell, gloss, matte, etc. But what do they all mean, and how do you know what kind you need for your project? In truth, it’s up to your personal preferences, but there are simple reasons to choose certain sheens for certain rooms and purposes. If you aren’t sure which you should choose for your project, this simple guide will give you a basic idea of what each one means, and which is best for the room you are painting.
Different Rooms Have Different Needs
The finish of the paint you choose for your interior rooms serves a purpose, depending on the room’s specific use. Consider these rooms and what they typically require in terms of paint.
- Bedrooms. Your bedroom is a low traffic area that doesn’t take much abuse, so you’re going to want high-pigment wall coverage, which will save you some money.
- Dining rooms. A typical dining room is also a room that doesn’t see a lot of traffic, and most homeowners prefer a clean, smooth look on the walls.
- Family rooms. Dens, family rooms, and living rooms tend to be one of the higher traffic areas of a home, and the walls are prone to getting scratched and dirty.
- Kitchens. Arguably the home’s highest traffic area, the kitchen is where the walls can suffer. Between food splatters when cooking, the kids playing and working on projects, and family and friends gathering for snacks and drinks, the walls in a kitchen require durable paint that is easy to clean.
- Matte and Flat Finishes
These are the lowest gloss interior paints you can get for your home. There is no luster in these paints, so they offer a very quiet, classy look. Most people choose to use these paints in low traffic and private areas, like adult bedrooms.
Paints with an eggshell sheen look very subdued and are not at all reflective. Eggshell is one of the most popular choices for many rooms because people love their soft look. However, they are not always the best choice for rooms that tend to get dirty because the walls can be difficult to clean. An eggshell finish is a great choice for formal living rooms, parlors, and dining rooms—any area that doesn’t see much traffic, and where the walls don’t get bumped or touched very frequently.
This is another very popular choice for homeowners, as it can be used in many areas of the house and has a silky appearance. One of the attributes of satin finishes is that they can be cleaned, although you wouldn’t want to scrub them down the way you can with high gloss paints. Some of the rooms that you may choose to use satin in include children’s’ bedrooms, foyers, and family rooms. Any place that sees traffic, but doesn’t get especially dirty is a good place to use a satin finish.
Semi-gloss sheen is a great choice for areas where you don’t want paint as shiny as high gloss, but the walls tend to get dirty and may need occasional washing. Homeowners often like this paint for its versatility and the sharp look it creates. It is a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens. Other uses include painting trim and furniture pieces like side tables and chairs.
- High Gloss
High gloss paints are the most reflective, which means they are shinier than any other finishes. One of the benefits of this finish is that it can help brighten a room up, depending on your color choice. However, one of the biggest advantages of high gloss is that it is repellant to many stains because they don’t seep through the finish. This finish is also very easy to clean and can be scrubbed a little harder than other sheens without being damaged. The most popular room to use high gloss in is the kitchen, and it is also great for painting windows, doors, and their frames.
- Metallic. These paints sparkle and shimmer when light hits them. They look great in foyers and bedrooms and work well on accent walls and backsplashes.
- Sandstone. This paint has a gritty texture and has a sandy feel when dry. It is a great way to give a smooth wall a little texture without hiring a plasterer.
- Artisan finish. These paints create the look of stone or marble. Many people like the look because it has multiple shades that seem to change depending on how the light strikes the wall.
- Plaster finishes. These products are a bit more complicated to apply than regular paint, but they give a smooth wall texture without hiring a professional. Popular options include Manda Mudd, Metallic Plaster, and Venetian Plaster.
Which Sheen Works Best in Each Room?
When you are deciding what sheen you should get for your job, it is important to remember that the glossier it is, the more light it will reflect. Some homeowners like a distinct finish and choose to use it throughout the entire house, but if you are looking to get the most out of your paint in each room, follow these tips on where each one works best.
If you’re going for a true designer look with your interior paint job, you may want to skip the “normal” sheens and go for a specialty finish. These have become increasingly popular in recent years. Some of the options available include:
Now that you know the basics of paint sheens, you are ready to head to your home improvement store and get the paint for your job. If you still need a little advice on what products will work best for your project, the team at PaintPro is always here to help. Reach out to our friendly Austin painters today for all your interior home painting needs.