What Are The Different Types of Paint Sheen

The walls of a property are more than just an aesthetic canvas. They can influence how people feel. Color has a profound emotional power that we should take advantage of to create truly unique spaces.

Consider the vibrancy of a yellow room or the warmth in one with peach walls. You know it when you see it! 

But besides the paint color, the type of paint finish gives your walls a specific feel, from velvet to glossy. That, DIY experts, is sheen!

When choosing the right sheen, the rule is simple: The more the sheen, the higher the shine, and the higher the shine, the better the durability.

So, with that in mind, let’s go over the types of paint sheen to transform your dreary walls into a living work of art!

Types of Paint Sheen

High Gloss

Imagine a clear, mirror-like surface that reflects light like a diamond. That’s a high-gloss sheen! This paint finish is ultra-durable and easy to clean. And it adds an extra oomph of glamor and sophistication.

High gloss is best for areas that receive sticky fingers and grubby handprints, like cabinets, trims, and doors.

However, if you’re considering high gloss for your interior walls, you’ll need a lot of prep work. This type of sheen, like an ill-fitted Spandex, will highlight every surface imperfection. Plus, touch-ups aren’t an option since any difference in sheen will be apparent.


It is the go-to sheen for most DIYers. It has a nice shine, but not too sparkly like high gloss. Plus, it’s easy to apply and clean. Semi-gloss is perfect for areas where moisture and grime challenge your walls, like kitchens and bathrooms. You can also consider it for your trim – the poor fellow that takes a lot of beating.

On the durability scale, semi-gloss falls somewhere between high gloss and satin. It is durable and washable. You can easily wash it without ruining the sheen. Guess we finally have something for the kids’ room:)


Are you looking for paint with a subtle, velvety finish? Then, satin is your perfect match! It offers a smooth, low-luster sheen that’s very popular in modern homes.

Satins are ideal for interior walls and ceilings as they are less reflective than glossier finishes. They don’t show dirt or grime as much as their shiny counterparts. But the brush and roller strokes show. So, keep your application game strong!

You can paint your hallway, foyer, family room, or bedroom with satin and give them a soft look.


Have you ever noticed the flat, matte finish of a raw eggshell? That’s precisely what this sheen looks like! Yep, you heard it right. It has a low shine and smooth finish.

Eggshell is perfect for those who don’t want to go all the way to a flat sheen but still want a matte look. This sheen can hide imperfections and withstand moderate everyday wear and tear.

So, paint your dining room, living room, or den in eggshell for a modern yet cozy look!


Does your wall have secrets it doesn’t want to divulge? A flat finish is an ideal pick! It has a flat, matte finish that soaks light.

Packing a powerful punch, this paint offers maximum coverage and pigment to guarantee you time-saving results while saving your wallet.

But (there’s always one) cleaning a wall with a flat/matte finish can be tricky. You’ll likely strip off the paint, so better use a diluted cleaning solution like mild soap and water.

If you have an area that sees limited activity, like a formal dining room or a guest room, flat paint can be your best bet!

How to Choose the Right Paint Sheen

That’s the ultimate question, isn’t it? After you decide on the color, your choice of paint sheen defines how the wall looks.

So, let’s look at some factors to keep in mind while choosing the paint sheen for your project:


Anyone with creative kids with crayon box dreams and walls that bear the brunt of everything should pick a high-sheen paint. The higher the sheen, the better its durability.

More importantly, cleaning this finish is easier, so you can get away with a sponge and some detergent.

If you’re considering a low-luster finish, you should ensure the area doesn’t see much wear and tear.

Light and Space

The amount of light in your room and its size will also dictate the sheen you should pick. For example, a high-gloss finish will reflect bright light in smaller spaces and make them look bigger. But it will also create an overwhelming effect if used too much. So, pick spots here and there around your house to bring the sparkle in. Ceilings and trims are a great place to start!


Where is the wall located? Is it in a high-traffic area or limited to occasional visitors? Are there chances of water splashes?

For areas that face the daunting challenge of dirt, stains, and moisture (kitchen or bathroom), you should pick a mid-sheen paint like semi-gloss or satin.

But if it’s an area with low traffic and you want a peaceful, serene finish (like a bedroom), pick the eggshell or flat finish.

Tips on Prepping the Walls

Painting the walls lifts the entire look of the room. And it’s easy on the pocket. It is why most homeowners enjoy spending their weekends with brushes and rollers in hand.

If you don’t want your DIY paint job to go wrong, ensure your walls are prepared well.

Here are a few tricks that’ll help.

  • Start by cleaning the wall with a soft cloth and soapy water. It’ll help remove the dust particles and grease that accumulate over time. You’ll get a smoother finish when the paint is applied later.
  • Fill any cracks or holes in the wall and sand them down. You can use sandpaper or a sanding block for this. Once you’ve done that, wipe the surface with a damp cloth and let it dry completely.
  • Prime, prime, prime! It’s one of the most critical steps in the painting process. Primer helps to fill any flaws and create a smooth finish. Make sure you pick the right one for your wall.
  • Use painter’s tape to mask off any area that doesn’t need painting. It’ll create a neat and precise finish.

Final Word

Yes, sheen matters. So, the next time you spend hours selecting the colors, collecting shade cards, and debating your choices, don’t forget to choose the right sheen too.

With the right sheen and preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy the looks of your walls for years. Remember: the trick is to find the perfect balance between durability and aesthetics!

Now get ready to brush up your home! Good luck!

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