So you’ve selected a paint color! You’ve even done your research on what brand of paint to buy that will keep your home healthy! (Check out my last blog post “What's in Your Paint?”) But now you've got another decision to make, what sheen to use. You pull out the little chart that shows the gloss levels increasing, but where to start? A quick Google search will tell you to never paint your walls in high traffic areas with anything less than semi gloss. So you decide that semi gloss is durable, and buy enough for your walls, ceiling, and moldings, one easy decision - right?
YIKES - this is a disaster waiting to happen. You’re going to end up with a shiny, reflective envelope full of imperfections. I guarantee you will not be happy with this choice.
I see this dilemma far too often with home owners. Choosing the right finish the first time can save you time, money and headaches.
Many factors go into selecting the perfect sheen for your application. First, let’s review the basics of sheen. Keep in mind, every paint company will have a different version of these terms and the order of increasing sheen intensity may vary.
The Basics of Paint Sheen
Flat Paint/Matte Paint - No Shine
Flat paint provides a rich depth of color and is great for less than perfect surfaces. Flat paint has the most pigment and will provide the most coverage. Since there is no shine, the light is absorbed rather than reflected. Matte paint is one step up in sheen from flat, but still very low luster. Typically, Flat or Matte finish is the least cleanable option and not good for high traffic areas.
Eggshell - Slight Luster
Not surprisingly, this finish is similar to egg shells. Eggshell offers a real depth of color with a soft and polished look. Good quality Eggshell paint is easy to clean, covers wall imperfections nicely, and is good for moderate to high traffic areas.