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Paint Finishes: How To Pick The Correct Sheen

Color is important, but it isn't the only consideration when planning your next paint project. The finish you choose can make a big difference in the final appearance of your space too!

What is Sheen?

Sheen is another word for "Shine". Paints have different intensities of sheen/shine which will determine how reflective the end result will look and how easy or difficult it will be to maintain.


Flat/Matte finishes have low to no gloss. They diffuse the light reflecting off the paint, which means the light bounces off the paint in many different directions, which produces little or no shine.

Best Uses: Flat and Matte sheens you will see often in new construction and on ceilings because they hide flaws extremely well. Because they do not reflect light directly, imperfections in walls and ceilings are much less noticeable. Room Recommendations: New Construction New Drywall Living room Dining room Bedrooms Ceilings Family room Hallways


Eggshell, or low-luster finishes are named that way because the slight sheen they provide is similar in appearance to, you guessed it, an egg! This slight sheen creates a soft, velvety finish.

Best Uses: Low traffic areas. Always have touch-up paint on hand for scrapes and scuffs. Flat/Matte sheens tend to absorb dirt and are not as easy to clean as other sheens. Eggshell finishes are easier to wash than flat finishes and resist stains and scuff Room Recommendations:

Living room Dining room Bedrooms Foyer Family room Hallways Kitchen Trim

Semi-Gloss/Satin/High Gloss Sheens

A semi-gloss or glossy sheen reflects light more directly. Think about a mirror. It reflects light, which will create a slight shine off the surface. Unlike lower-gloss sheens, semi-gloss and glossy sheens create a bright, shiny look. They are both durable and look really great, but keep in mind that glossy sheens show nearly every imperfection in a wall or ceiling’s surface, so it’s best to use them on surfaces with zero imperfections. Semi-gloss finishes offer high resistance to moisture, though they may suffer a little from sticking.

Room Recommendations: Woodwork Molding Doors Cabinets Kitchen Bathrooms Satin sheens provide a slightly more reflective surface and are excellent at resisting mildew, dirt and stains, making them better suited for frequently used rooms. They can withstand cleaning and light scrubbing better than flat or eggshell finishes, however the surface cannot have any imperfections.

Room Recommendations:

Playroom Laundry room Kitchen Guest bathroom Dining room Children’s bedroom Trim Shutters Doors

High-gloss sheens are ideal for highlighting trim, railings, shutters and molding. They are easily cleaned.

Room Reccomendations: Bathooms Kitchens

Don't Stress It

Reviving your space should be a fun and enjoyable experience. It may seem like a lot of different aspects to consider, but when you choose Leave It To Nick! we take care of all of that hard work for you. If you choose one of our color consultation sessions, we will explain which sheens and color palettes will work best for each space so you don't have to worry about it. Just sit back and relax! Click on the button below to schedule your color consultation session with us!

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Leave It To Nick!


Summerville, SC, USA