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What Sheen of paint should I use?

There are several different types of paint sheens currently available, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.


DEAD FLAT – Great for ceilings.  Almost no wash-ability but does not reflect back any light.  This finish gives ceilings a clean crisp look while hiding most imperfections.  It is also very easy to touch up.


FLAT ENAMEL– Also known as a “washable flat”.  Great for rooms that don’t see a lot of use – Guest bedrooms, formal dining rooms, etc.  Hides imperfections while maintaining a little wash-ability.


Matte – Great for large foyers, Bedrooms, and areas that see light to moderate use.   A high quality matte finish will allow some wash-ability – but not scrubbing.   Low sheen hides some imperfections while keeping smudge marks and finger prints off. (My personal favorite)


Low Sheen – Slightly more washable than Matte.  This is the highest level of sheen I would recommend for long hallways and very tall foyers.


Eggshell / Low Lustre – Standard washable finish.  Great for higher traffic areas, vented bathrooms, and kids rooms.  More sheen makes this finish very washable but makes imperfections more visible.  Not recommended for rooms with a lot of natural light.  The sunlight tends to reflect off of this finish showing roller patterns, drywall patters, tapelines, and other imperfections.


Satin – This finish carries more sheen as well as more durability.  Some colors in this finish will be scrubbable. Great for laundry rooms, unvented bathrooms, kids rooms, high traffic hallways, and some trim.


Semi-gloss / Medium Lustre – Excellent for trim, unvented bathrooms, laundry, and high traffic hallways.  This sheen in darker colors will show ALL imperfections in the walls.  Unless being used on trim the darker colors should be avoided in this finish.  The best way to think of this is to imagine a freshly waxed black car – that has several door dings.


High Gloss – Used for predominantly for commercial applications.  Hand rails, doors, some cabinets, anything that see will see constant daily traffic.


I would recommend also checking with your local paint stores.




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