How to Choose the Perfect Paint Sheen

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What is Paint Sheen?

Paint sheen refers to the level of gloss or shine that a paint finish has. It’s an important factor in determining the final look and feel of a painted surface. Different sheens have varying levels of durability, washability, and light reflection, making them suitable for different areas of your home. Understanding the characteristics of each paint sheen will help you choose the right one for your specific needs and preferences.

The 5 Different Types of Paint Sheen
  • Flat/Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Gloss


INTERIOR: Choosing the Sheen for Inside your home

Different rooms and surfaces require specific sheens to enhance their appearance and ensure durability. In this section, we’ll guide you through choosing the right sheen for each interior space, helping you create a beautiful and cohesive look throughout your home. Learn more about the importance of paint sheen in our blog post: Understanding Paint Sheen: A Complete Guide

Walls in living and bedrooms

For living areas where a cozy, inviting atmosphere is desired, consider a flat or eggshell finish. These sheens offer a subtle elegance while minimizing glare and hiding imperfections. They are best for your drywalled walls. Flat will show wear and tear when it gets stained or banged into. However, it can easily be touched up over the stain/ding and the new paint touch up spot will blend with the old untouched areas. Eggshell is our most popular interior wall sheens. It is the perfect balance between flat hiding and satin durability. Eggshell will take minor bumps and abrasions but also not show the imperfections that occur on the drywall.

Kitchen and Bathrooms walls

In high-traffic areas prone to moisture and stains, such as kitchens and bathrooms, opt for a satin finish. These sheens provide excellent durability and are easy to clean, making them ideal for busy households.

Baseboard Trim, Crown Molding, Windows, Doors

When highlighting trim, doors, and other architectural features, a semi-gloss is our customers most popular finish. These sheens also offer superior durability and are resistant to wear and tear from kids toys, vacuum bumping and pet claws.


EXTERIOR: Choosing the Sheen for the outside of your home

The exterior of your home faces various weather conditions, so choosing the right sheen can help maintain its beauty and protect it from elements like the sun and rain.

Sheen for Exterior Trim

Your trim should be painted with an eggshell or satin finish. These sheens offer a balance between durability and a subtle shine, enhancing the architectural details without overwhelming them. Eggshell and satin finishes are preferred for their ability to resist dirt and grime while being easy to clean. This makes them ideal for trim, which is often exposed to the elements and requires a more robust finish. While some homeowners still opt for flat finishes on exterior trim due to its matte appearance, this is becoming increasingly rare. Flat finishes tend to be less durable and harder to clean, making eggshell and satin more practical choices for long-lasting beauty and maintenance.

Sheen for the Body of Your Home

Examples of body surfaces include stucco, hardie plank siding, brick, vinyl siding, aluminum siding. The body of your home should be painted with an eggshell or satin finish. These finishes provide a nice balance of durability and appearance, making them suitable for various types of exterior surfaces. The slight sheen of eggshell and satin finishes helps the paint job look new with the perfect amount of shine.  These finishes are more resistant to moisture and wear, which is essential for maintaining the large area of the body of your home.

Note: Cedar siding is a different surface and depending on what it was painted or stained with prior, your professional painter may recommend a flat paint or solid stain. The next sheen up from those is moving to an eggshell sheen.


Doors, Windows and Shutters (accents)

Semi-gloss is our customers favorite sheen for accent areas like doors, shutters and windows. It has a great shine to accent those features but also some flex for durability. Pro Tip! Gloss is very, very shiny, it is the shiniest of all paints…so always try on a test patch before committing to painting the entire area.


Expert Tips for Achieving the Perfect Finish
Test Samples Before Committing

Before painting an entire room or exterior wall, test different sheens on a small to see how they interact with the lighting and décor. This will help you make an informed decision and ensure satisfaction with the final result.

Consider Professional Advice

If you’re unsure which paint sheen is best for your home, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional painting contractor. We can offer valuable insights based on our expertise and experience with luster, shine, and durability of your paint jobs sheen inside and out. Explore further tips on choosing a paint sheen from PPG Paints: How to Choose a Paint Sheen

Contact us today for a free, quick quote on your painting projects and color and sheen help!