What Are The Varied Paint Sheens? (Shocking)

various paint sheen samples

As a paint skilled, purchasers typically ask, “What are the assorted paint sheens?” The reply is as follows:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Eggshell
  • Satin 
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss

I’ll look at every sheen in additional element and listing the professionals and cons, so you’ll be able to select the most effective sheen to your subsequent portray venture.

I’ll be specializing in inside paint tasks, though the fundamentals of every end apply to exterior work, too.

What Is Paint Sheen, And Why Does It Matter?

Paint sheen is the quantity of mirrored gentle from a paint end. In different phrases, the sheen is how we describe a painted floor’s shininess.

Years in the past, paint contractors and householders chosen sheens based mostly on sturdiness.

The overall precept was the glossier the sheen, the extra sturdy the end. You’ll see shiny finishes in older loos, faculty hallways, and gymnasiums. 

Whereas this precept remains to be legitimate at present, paint producers have come a good distance since these days. At this time, contractors and householders have extra choices.

For very good water resistance in loos however in a matte end, contemplate Aura Bathtub & Spa.

Scuff-resistant paints by Benjamin Moore and Residence Depot provide superior wall protections and are available flat, matte, and eggshell.

Not All Paint Sheens Are Created Equal

Sadly, there isn’t an business commonplace for figuring out sheens. So, sheens will range from producer to producer.

Essentially the most important discrepancies are the mid-sheens like matte, eggshell, and satin. Study the paint retailer’s sheen card for reference or ask the supervisor for which end is greatest to your venture. 

Let’s have a look at every sheen in additional element…

Flat Sheen

A flat end displays little to no gentle and seems uninteresting. Flat paint is among the hottest paints due to these properties. Because it isn’t shiny, it hides drywall imperfections and may be touched up simpler than the opposite sheens. 

It’s subsequent to inconceivable for drywall installers to make ceilings completely clean. For these causes, flat paint is right for ceilings.

Residence builders use flat paint for partitions to cover imperfections, seams, bowed partitions, and many others. Contractors additionally use flats usually in lighter colours for a similar causes.

I’m not implying builders are shady characters, however they’re within the enterprise of setting up properties as rapidly as potential. Utilizing a flat end hurries up their work.

Whereas we’re on the subject of latest properties, most contractors provide new house consumers the choice of upgrading to a matte or eggshell end. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that their markup is extravagant.

I at all times advise new householders by no means to go this route. Let your builder paint the house flat as a result of the house will settle after a yr, and normally the contractor will repair nail pops and settling points.

As soon as that part is finished, you’ll be able to repaint with a greater high quality paints. And it’ll be cheaper than what the builder quoted!

Another excuse flats are contractors’ favorites is that they’re cheaper. You should buy good-quality flat paint from any main retailer for round $20 a gallon.  


  • Least costly
  • Hides defects and wall imperfections
  • Straightforward touch-up
  • Splendid for ceilings


  • Not washable (reveals hand prints and scuffs)

Matte End

matte finish purple dining room

A matte end has a delicate sheen however isn’t as shiny as an eggshell end. This end may be very versatile, and for those who splurge on top-end paint, it’s washable and offers rooms a lush look. 

I like to recommend matte finishes when purchasers paint rooms in a deep base coloration in eating rooms or workplaces.

My go-to favourite is Benjamin Moore’s Regal in a matte end. The colour blends evenly, the paint is a dream to work with, and the end appears to be like velvety. 

Mattes are additionally appropriate for tall partitions as a result of the decrease sheen hides drywall seams and different imperfections. 

The fee for matte paint jumps significantly from flat paints. Anticipate to pay $30-40 a gallon for high quality matte paint, whereas these like Regal leap to $50-60 a gallon.


  • Good for taller rooms
  • Glorious for lush, regal colours
  • Washer-friendly


  • Dearer
  • Not supreme for high-traffic areas

Eggshell Sheen

Once I began as a painter, I made a standard rookie mistake.

I went to the paint retailer and ordered a gallon of eggshell. The clerk requested me what coloration. I rolled my eyes and replied, “Umm, eggshell.” He politely knowledgeable me that it was the sheen, not a coloration.

Perhaps you’ve made this identical mistake! Most professionals affiliate eggshell with the end, though they will advocate eggshell colours due to this misunderstanding.

Eggshell sheen may be very well-liked with paint contractors and householders as a result of it’s washable and sturdy.

Designers and householders choose it for partitions as a result of it presents a superb distinction to the flat ceiling and glossy trim. 

Eggshell is essentially the most versatile sheen, so it may be utilized in any room in the home, though I’d keep away from utilizing it for ceilings. 

The standard of paint you select will even have an effect on your value. Like matte finishes, eggshell paints are pricier than flats. And make sure to verify the sheen chart on the retailer.

I’ve seen some eggshells look extra like a satin end, which reveals wall imperfections.  


  • Standard sheen for partitions
  • Versatile; appropriate for any room
  • Washer-friendly


  • Can’t contact up; sheens will flash

Satin Sheen

Subsequent on our listing is a satin end. Because the title implies, satin gives a chic end and appears like, you guessed it, satin. Whereas some individuals have used satin for partitions, most contractors and householders apply it to trim. 

Years in the past, satin would have been used on rest room partitions or high-traffic areas as a result of it resists moisture and is extra sturdy than eggshell.

The disadvantage is a satin wall will accent each blemish, curler nap, brushstroke, and nail pop.

Let’s discuss particularly about satin for trim. As a result of at present’s paints are superior to these years in the past, a satin end can be as sturdy as a semi-gloss or gloss end.

It comes all the way down to what sheen you like; there isn’t a proper or incorrect reply. 

Whilst you could also be tempted to make use of a less expensive paint to your trim, I at all times advocate utilizing the absolute best. Sherwin Williams Professional Traditional and Benjamin Moore’s Advance are the most effective available on the market.

The settling agent in each signifies that when brushed, the end will “settle” and look nearly such as you sprayed it.

These merchandise aren’t low-cost and vary within the $60-70 a gallon vary. Nevertheless, paint for trim goes a good distance, so that you received’t want many gallons. 


  • Gorgeous end on trim
  • Extra sturdy than eggshell, matte, and flat


  • Not suited to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Semi-Gloss Sheen

semi floss yellow painted eggs

Semi-gloss is the “go-to” end on the trim in most properties. I’m positive some have used this end on partitions however hopefully just for impact or maybe a themed room.

Keep in mind, the shinier a paint, the extra it accents wall imperfections. 

When utilized to crown molding, the wooden pops within the gentle and contrasts between a flat ceiling and a matte or eggshell wall. On doorways and thresholds, the sheen is sturdy and straightforward to scrub. 

Concerning semi-gloss for trim, this comes down to non-public style. It could even be what’s at present in your house, so it’s greatest to stick with semi-gloss until you’re ready to repaint your entire trim.

The one time I’ve used semi-gloss on a wall was for a fake venture. I used to be to color a boy’s room with Captain America colours. The proprietor wished the crimson stripes to be shiny, so I used semi-gloss.

However earlier than ordering paint, I defined that the sheen would spotlight nicks, dips, and seams. They insisted, and I complied. Whereas that’s a small instance, I by no means use semi-gloss on partitions. 

Anticipate to pay the identical quantity for an incredible semi-gloss paint as you’ll for satin. 


  • Standard sheen for trim
  • Sturdy and washable


  • Not suited to partitions
  • Costly when contemplating top-tier paint for trim

Gloss Sheen

Final on our listing is gloss. You’ll additionally discover ultra-shiny finishes like high-gloss and people referred to as “moist look” for a extremely shiny end.

I’ll be specializing in the traits of gloss, however these attributes apply to those shinier finishes.

Because the title implies, gloss end is the shiniest sheen on our listing. It displays essentially the most gentle and presents a shocking look in sure conditions. Predominantly, gloss sheen is reserved just for trim.

As you’ll be able to think about, for those who painted a wall with a gloss end, the dings, patches, seams, and different oddities would seem to leap off the wall. 

Like satin and semi-gloss, there isn’t a proper or incorrect when choosing a sheen to your trim. Nevertheless, concentrate on the tendencies in your space, particularly for those who plan on promoting your house. 

Utilizing a gloss end could deter future homebuyers.

The exception could also be when a entrance door is painted a shiny end. Gloss black on a entrance door may give your house a European look. However remember that darkish colours and excessive gloss present the whole lot, even brush strokes. 

And if you wish to get that door to be as clean and glossy black as a Steinway piano, take a look at Advantageous Paints of Europe.

Whereas I’ve by no means used these merchandise, I’ll advise that that is for knowledgeable painters solely and can value some huge cash and time!