How to Choose the Right Sheen of Paint

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While choosing the colors that you’re going to paint your interior or exterior is often the fun part, there is still one other thing to take into consideration when you’re buying paint, and that is the finish that you choose. It might seem somewhat irrelevant compared to choosing the actual shades but trust us, you really do need to pay attention to the finish as it can have a massive effect on your finished result.

Having said that, before you start panicking, deciding which finish will suit your space is not actually that difficult. And to make sure that the process is even easier, we’ve written this blog post to help you!

While you need to pay attention to the finish of paint for both indoor and outdoor projects, and although the types of paint are different, the finishes will be very similar. The only thing that may cause a little confusion initially is that paint companies describe their finishes or sheens slightly differently, so you’ll need to pay attention to what’s on offer. A normal range will run from matte to gloss with a couple of levels in between. Matte or dull paints (i.e. the first two levels) are normally best used on walls, while the two glossier sheens are more suited to woodwork, including doors, windows and baseboards, as well as furniture such as built-in cabinets.

Let’s take a look at the different paint finishes, what they’re best used for, and their pros and cons.

Matte finish paints

Matte, or flat, finishes are great for hiding grubby marks and slight surface damage. However, due to the porous nature of matte paint, it is harder to clean if it gets marked further down the line. On the plus side, it is easy to quickly paint over and hide any subsequent smudges or stains – it just means you’ll need to get your paint and roller out rather than a damp cloth!

So where is matte paint put to good use? Use it to paint ceilings and rooms that don’t see too much activity. Thanks to its ability to absorb dirt, it’s best not to paint children’s rooms with matte paint – unless you want to be constantly painting over pen marks and sticky fingerprints! Outdoors, a coat of matte paint will give scuffed or dirty wooden sidings a new lease of life.

Low sheen paints

Back to those children’s bedrooms, and other rooms in the home that see a good deal of foot traffic. Low sheen (also called eggshell, satin or silk) paint finishes are easier to keep clean. Most marks, smudges and scuffs can be removed with a damp cloth, saving the need to repaint every time they get knocked or accidently marked. Its low maintenance qualities also make low lustre paint good for outside walls and sidings. The only real downside to this all-rounder is that you may be able to see brush strokes or roller marks when looking closely at walls and other large surface areas.

Semi gloss paints

While semi gloss paints are known for being durable and easy to clean, be careful if this is tempting you to paint your walls or sidings with them as brush strokes and roller marks will be even easier to spot than with a low sheen paint. In addition to this, any damage to the wall, such as dents or nicks will be highlighted due to the paint’s ability to reflect light. Having said that, this reflective nature does mean that semi gloss is great for accentuating woodwork. From interior and exterior doors to window frames and shutters to baseboards, guttering and other trims, semi gloss is an attractive choice.

High gloss paints

Not surprisingly, high gloss paints are the most durable making them extremely easy to wipe clean, in part thanks to the non-porous finish. Their extremely shiny finish makes high gloss paints fantastic if you want to create a statement and add some flair to a room, but they can be extremely hard work to paint with, which makes it best to stick to using them for doors, window frames, shutters and other interior and exterior woodwork.

Whether you have a large area to paint and are not sure if you should go for matte or eggshell, or you’re not convinced you could achieve a flawless finish when painting the front door of your home in an intensive, high gloss color, call Sharper Impressions Painting. We’re your local decorating team with the advice and help you need to achieve the home of your dreams.