What Are The Numerous Paint Sheens? (Shocking)

various paint sheen samples

As a paint skilled, purchasers typically ask, “What are the varied paint sheens?” The reply is as follows:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Satin 
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss

I’ll look at every sheen in additional element and record the professionals and cons, so you’ll be able to select the most effective sheen in your subsequent portray challenge.

I’ll be specializing in inside paint tasks, though the fundamentals of every end apply to exterior work, too.

What Is Paint Sheen, And Why Does It Matter?

Paint sheen is the quantity of mirrored mild from a paint end. In different phrases, the sheen is how we describe a painted floor’s shininess.

Years in the past, paint contractors and owners chosen sheens based mostly on sturdiness.

The overall precept was the glossier the sheen, the extra sturdy the end. You’ll see shiny finishes in older bogs, college hallways, and gymnasiums. 

Whereas this precept continues to be legitimate in the present day, paint producers have come a good distance since these days. In the present day, contractors and owners have extra choices.

For excellent water resistance in bogs however in a matte end, contemplate Aura Tub & Spa.

Scuff-resistant paints by Benjamin Moore and House Depot supply superior wall protections and are available in flat, matte, and eggshell.

Not All Paint Sheens Are Created Equal

Sadly, there isn’t an trade normal for figuring out sheens. So, sheens will range from producer to producer.

Probably the most vital discrepancies are the mid-sheens like matte, eggshell, and satin. Look at the paint retailer’s sheen card for reference or ask the supervisor for which end is finest in your challenge. 

Let’s have a look at every sheen in additional element…

Flat Sheen

A flat end displays little to no mild and seems boring. Flat paint is among the hottest paints due to these properties. Because it isn’t shiny, it hides drywall imperfections and could be touched up simpler than the opposite sheens. 

It’s subsequent to unattainable for drywall installers to make ceilings completely easy. For these causes, flat paint is good for ceilings.

House builders use flat paint for partitions to cover imperfections, seams, bowed partitions, and many others. Contractors additionally use flats sometimes in lighter colours for a similar causes.

I’m not implying builders are shady characters, however they’re within the enterprise of setting up houses as rapidly as potential. Utilizing a flat end hastens their work.

Whereas we’re on the subject of latest houses, most contractors supply new house consumers the choice of upgrading to a matte or eggshell end. Nonetheless, I’ve discovered that their markup is extravagant.

I all the time advise new owners by no means to go this route. Let your builder paint the house flat as a result of the house will settle after a 12 months, and normally the contractor will repair nail pops and settling points.

As soon as that section is finished, you’ll be able to repaint with a greater high quality paints. And it’ll be cheaper than what the builder quoted!

One more reason flats are contractors’ favorites is that they’re cheaper. You should buy good-quality flat paint from any main retailer for round $20 a gallon.  


  • Least costly
  • Hides defects and wall imperfections
  • Straightforward touch-up
  • Superb for ceilings


  • Not washable (exhibits hand prints and scuffs)

Matte End

matte finish purple dining room

A matte end has a delicate sheen however isn’t as shiny as an eggshell end. This end may be very versatile, and should you splurge on top-end paint, it’s washable and provides rooms a lush look. 

I like to recommend matte finishes when purchasers paint rooms in a deep base shade in eating rooms or places of work.

My go-to favourite is Benjamin Moore’s Regal in a matte end. The colour blends evenly, the paint is a dream to work with, and the end appears to be like velvety. 

Mattes are additionally appropriate for tall partitions as a result of the decrease sheen hides drywall seams and different imperfections. 

The price for matte paint jumps significantly from flat paints. Anticipate to pay $30-40 a gallon for high quality matte paint, whereas these like Regal bounce to $50-60 a gallon.


  • Good for taller rooms
  • Wonderful for lush, regal colours
  • Washer-friendly


  • Costlier
  • Not excellent for high-traffic areas

Eggshell Sheen

Once I began as a painter, I made a standard rookie mistake.

I went to the paint retailer and ordered a gallon of eggshell. The clerk requested me what shade. I rolled my eyes and replied, “Umm, eggshell.” He politely knowledgeable me that it was the sheen, not a shade.

Perhaps you’ve made this identical mistake! Most professionals affiliate eggshell with the end, though they will advocate eggshell colours due to this misunderstanding.

Eggshell sheen may be very in style with paint contractors and owners as a result of it’s washable and sturdy.

Designers and owners favor it for partitions as a result of it gives a superb distinction to the flat ceiling and glossy trim. 

Eggshell is probably the most versatile sheen, so it may be utilized in any room in the home, though I’d keep away from utilizing it for ceilings. 

The standard of paint you select can even have an effect on your price. Like matte finishes, eggshell paints are pricier than flats. And make sure to verify the sheen chart on the retailer.

I’ve seen some eggshells look extra like a satin end, which exhibits wall imperfections.  


  • Fashionable sheen for partitions
  • Versatile; appropriate for any room
  • Washer-friendly


  • Can’t contact up; sheens will flash

Satin Sheen

Subsequent on our record is a satin end. Because the title implies, satin supplies a chic end and appears like, you guessed it, satin. Whereas some folks have used satin for partitions, most contractors and owners apply it to trim. 

Years in the past, satin would have been used on lavatory partitions or high-traffic areas as a result of it resists moisture and is extra sturdy than eggshell.

The disadvantage is a satin wall will accent each blemish, curler nap, brushstroke, and nail pop.

Let’s speak particularly about satin for trim. As a result of in the present day’s paints are superior to these years in the past, a satin end can be as sturdy as a semi-gloss or gloss end.

It comes all the way down to what sheen you like; there isn’t a proper or unsuitable reply. 

When you could also be tempted to make use of a less expensive paint in your trim, I all the time advocate utilizing the very best. Sherwin Williams Professional Basic and Benjamin Moore’s Advance are the most effective available on the market.

The settling agent in each implies that when brushed, the end will “settle” and look virtually such as you sprayed it.

These merchandise aren’t low cost and vary within the $60-70 a gallon vary. Nonetheless, paint for trim goes a good distance, so that you received’t want many gallons. 


  • Gorgeous end on trim
  • Extra sturdy than eggshell, matte, and flat


  • Not fitted to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Semi-Gloss Sheen

semi floss yellow painted eggs

Semi-gloss is the “go-to” end on the trim in most houses. I’m certain some have used this end on partitions however hopefully just for impact or maybe a themed room.

Keep in mind, the shinier a paint, the extra it accents wall imperfections. 

When utilized to crown molding, the wooden pops within the mild and contrasts between a flat ceiling and a matte or eggshell wall. On doorways and thresholds, the sheen is sturdy and straightforward to wash. 

Concerning semi-gloss for trim, this comes down to non-public style. It could even be what’s presently in your house, so it’s finest to stick with semi-gloss until you’re ready to repaint your entire trim.

The one time I’ve used semi-gloss on a wall was for a fake challenge. I used to be to color a boy’s room with Captain America colours. The proprietor wished the purple stripes to be shiny, so I used semi-gloss.

However earlier than ordering paint, I defined that the sheen would spotlight nicks, dips, and seams. They insisted, and I complied. Whereas that’s a small instance, I by no means use semi-gloss on partitions. 

Anticipate to pay the identical quantity for an amazing semi-gloss paint as you’d for satin. 


  • Fashionable sheen for trim
  • Sturdy and washable


  • Not fitted to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Gloss Sheen

Final on our record is gloss. You’ll additionally discover ultra-shiny finishes like high-gloss and people referred to as “moist look” for a extremely shiny end.

I’ll be specializing in the traits of gloss, however these attributes apply to those shinier finishes.

Because the title implies, gloss end is the shiniest sheen on our record. It displays probably the most mild and gives a surprising look in sure conditions. Predominantly, gloss sheen is reserved just for trim.

As you’ll be able to think about, should you painted a wall with a gloss end, the dings, patches, seams, and different oddities would seem to leap off the wall. 

Like satin and semi-gloss, there isn’t a proper or unsuitable when deciding on a sheen in your trim. Nonetheless, concentrate on the traits in your space, particularly should you plan on promoting your house. 

Utilizing a gloss end might deter future homebuyers.

The exception could also be when a entrance door is painted a shiny end. Gloss black on a entrance door can provide your house a European look. However remember that darkish colours and excessive gloss present every thing, even brush strokes. 

And if you wish to get that door to be as easy and glossy black as a Steinway piano, take a look at Advantageous Paints of Europe.

Whereas I’ve by no means used these merchandise, I’ll advise that that is for skilled painters solely and can price some huge cash and time!

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