Explanation of paint sheen

Are you confused about which paint sheen level to use in which room, or which will be the most durable for your project? This guide will show you the advantages and disadvantages of paint sheen along with what sheen to use in which room.

Flat -- A matte finish that provides a dead flat sheen.


Excellent touch-up ability

Provides a dull, soft look

Hides imperfections


Typically not washable, premium quality flat finishes may have washable characteristics

Eggshell (Velvet) -- A very dull finish with a slight angular sheen.


Low sheen, yet washable

Looks flat but has an angular sheen

Good touch-up qualities


Not as washable as paints with higher shine

Satin -- An enamel finish with a medium amount of shine.


Very washable

Great for trim work and doors

Good for bathroom and utility rooms


Poor touch-up

Magnifies imperfections on walls

Semi-gloss -- A glossy finish used for high-traffic areas.


Great wash-ability


Poor touch-up

Magnifies imperfections more than satin on walls

Full Gloss -- The shiniest paint sheen available. Used on products that need superior protection.


Great for high-traffic areas

For use in schools, doctors offices

Can be used on floors and counter tops


Very shiny, not intended for walls

Sheen by room (walls)

Kitchen -- Satin or semi-gloss

Dining Room -- Flat or eggshell

Bathroom -- Satin or semi-gloss

Bedrooms -- Flat or eggshell

Hallway -- Flat

Basement -- Flat or waterproofing paint

Ceilings -- Flat

Trim work & doors -- Satin

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