The sheen of a paint refers to the amount of light reflected from its surface. The higher the gloss level, the shinier the paint and the more scrubbable the finish. Different sheens are good for different areas of your home. Following is a breakdown of options that will help you pick the right sheen for your project.


Flat and Matte paints have no sheen as they absorb more light than they reflect. This paint is durable, touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections (nail holes, small patches). It’s perfect for low traffic areas where fingerprints, scuff marks and stains are not an issue. Try it in dining rooms, bedrooms, living rooms and on ceilings.


Eggshell paint has a low sheen and a velvety smooth appearance. It’s more scrubbable than flat or matte paint, making it ideal for low to mid traffic areas. Try it in bedrooms, family rooms, hallways, living rooms and entryways.


Satin paint has a pearl-like finish and soft sheen. It resists mildew and fading and is easy to clean, making it the most versatile paint type. Use it in moderate to high traffic areas (playroom, home office, children’s bedrooms) and areas with moisture (kitchen, bathroom, laundry). It’s also great for trim, shutters and siding.


Semi-gloss paint offers maximum durability making it a great choice if you have children or pets. Use it in high traffic areas such as utility rooms, children’s bedrooms, entryways, family rooms and hallways. Its shiny, sleek appearance makes it a perfect choice for cabinets, trim and doors while its moisture resistance lends itself to bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.


High Gloss paint is very reflective and has a shiny glass-like finish. It works well for highlighting detail (trim, moulding, shutters, casings) and is the best choice for high use areas that take a lot of abuse (doors, cabinets). This paint adheres best to smooth clean surfaces and often requires more than one coat for good coverage.


Ceiling flats are spatter-resistant, have no sheen and are the best paint for hiding imperfections. They’re specifically designed for ceilings.


When choosing the level of paint sheen, consider the room you are painting and the use that you make of the space. The higher the gloss, the shinier the paint and the easier it will be to clean. No matter what sheen you decide upon, always choose a high-quality paint. Higher pigment levels will result in the need for fewer applications, and more resins will make the paint more durable. Consult your local paint expert for help in choosing the best paint sheen for your project.

Need help choosing the right sheen? Looking for advice on a painting project? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com Our knowledgeable, professional design associates provide high-quality paint, a wide selection of blinds and advice for home projects. We offer excellent service and a variety of products to match any budget. Call for a consultation today!

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