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How To Choose A Paint Sheen

The reflection of light that is just right for your room

What is paint sheen?

Painting Advice: How To Choose A Paint Sheen

Picking a paint is more than selecting the product and color, you must also find the right sheen. Sheen, or finish, is fundamentally simple, but not the most widely understood element of paint in the DIY community. If you are not going to hire a painter, you'll find painting advice here to help you choose the right paint sheen for your next project.

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How To Choose A Paint Sheen

Painting Advice

Understanding Shine

The less reflection of light and more subtle appearance on the wall, the lower the scrubbability. The more light the sheen reflects and higher shine it has, the paint will have higher scrubbability.

  • Flat indicates the least shine, with virtually no shine to the paint. 

  • Gloss indicates the most shine.

  • Eggshell paint finish, Satin and Semi-Gloss fall between these extremes, with various shines and other characteristics. 


How To Choose A Paint Sheen

Painting Advice

Pick a Sheen by Room

Specific sheens have become the expected choice for certain rooms. Follow our painting advice for which rooms should be painted with which sheens and you can't go wrong.

Bathroom - Semi-gloss, High-gloss
Bedroom - Flat, Eggshell, Satin
Cabinets - Semi-gloss, High-gloss
Ceilings - Flat
Dining Room - Flat, Eggshell, Satin
Doors/Windows - Semi-gloss, High-gloss
Family Room - Flat, Eggshell, Satin
Furniture - Satin, Semi-gloss, High-gloss
Hallway/Entryway - Eggshell, Satin
Kid's Room - Satin, Semi-gloss
Kitchen - Semi-gloss, High-gloss
Living Room - Flat, Eggshell, Satin
Moulding/Woodwork - Semi-gloss, High-gloss

As you would expect, those rooms with surfaces that need to be cleaned more often will require higher sheens.

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How To Choose A Paint Sheen

Painting Advice

The Impact of Sheen

As an element of your project, sheen can completely change how a room looks or feels.

Don't shy away from trying different sheens in your room before you settle on one. You'll feel even better about the project if you find the sheen that feels best for you. 

Learn How to Paint a Room