All You need to Know about Paint Sheen

You’ve chosen the colors and the location to paint, but you’re confronted with one more decision to make before you can paint: the finish or sheen. What is sheen? Why is there a sheen called eggshell? Where can you put satin or high-gloss finish? Do I need a professional painter to assist in application or the choice? Not to worry! With our help, you can make the best decision for your job! 


Sheen (also known as finish) is the quantity of light reflected by a surface after the paint dries. Considerations when deciding on sheens include the volume of traffic in a room, if it is commercial or residential painting, and if it is an interior or exterior paint job. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore offer a wide array of sheen types, but here are the six most common sheens. 

  • Flat: Flat has no sheen at all, meaning that it does not reflect any light. It absorbs light which makes it great for covering up flaws and dings. However, as it is pure pigment, it stains and scuffs easily.  
    • It is ideal for ceilings and very low-traffic areas such as adult bedrooms. 
  • Matte: Matte has the same sheen as a piece of printer paper and it hides flaws well. On top of this, it is more durable than flat.  
    • It can still stain and scuff, therefore it is recommended for medium-low traffic areas such as sitting or family rooms. 
  • Eggshell: Eggshell is the most popular sheen type among homeowners and house painters. It reflects more light than matte and flat. It can withstand more cleaning and does not scuff or stain easily. 
    •  It is best suited for hallways, stairways, bedrooms, dining, and sitting/family rooms. 
  • Satin: Satin reflects more light than eggshell, thereby lending a smooth, soft glow to a room, and it offers better stain resistance, cleanability, and durability.  
    • It is best for busier areas like hallways, and family rooms. 
  • Semi- Gloss: Semi-gloss paint shines in a way that almost catches the eye but is subtle enough that it coordinates with the rest of the room. It is resistant to stains and moisture; and it tolerates wear and tear and cleans easily. 
    • It is best used on exteriors, children’s bedrooms, playrooms, doors, trims, cabinets, kitchens, and bathrooms. 
  • High-Gloss: High-gloss is the shiniest and most durable sheen, almost as reflective as a mirror. It is easiest to clean and is stain- and scuff-resistant. However, it reveals the most flaws and dings on walls because it reflects so much light. 
    • High-gloss paint is best used on doors and trim, but some daring homeowners even paint a kitchen or a bathroom in high gloss paint because it cleans so easily. It is best applied by a professional painter because it is difficult to apply and unforgiving about mistakes. 

Now that you know the sheen types, you can be confident that you can choose the right sheen for the right purposes! If you are still unsure which product to use, feel free to contact Ville Painters in Lancaster, Pa for a free on-site consultation. With unrivaled craftsmanship and attention to detail, Ville Painters provides an exceptional customer experience. Call us today at (717) 396-1176