How to Choose a Paint Finish - Kansas City Residential and Commercial Painting

Choosing the paint colors might seem like the most important task when planning on how the room will look overall, another consideration is picking the right sheen. The gloss of a paint can make all the difference in how the color looks to the naked eye. The higher the sheen of the paint, the higher the shine and ability to reflect light. Flat, or matte, paints offer no reflectivity of light, while semi-gloss and high-gloss paints reflect light, giving them a slight shine.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Paint Sheen

  • Wall Texture: The flatter the finish you select, the more the paint will hide any imperfections in the wall’s texture. For walls that have patches or are cracking, picking a flat, or matte, finish might be the best choice.
  • Natural Light and Room Size: When selecting a sheen, consider the light or lack-thereof in the room you are painting. While some rooms may have natural light from the sun, other rooms may have no windows at all. Flat finishes have low reflectivity which can give the appearance of a wall receding, while a higher-gloss finish allows more light to bounce across the room.
  • How Will The Room Be Used: By picking a sheen that is best-suited to the room you want to paint, you can ensure the longevity of the paint while maintaining the aesthetic you desire for your home. When it comes to how the room will be used, don’t forget to consider the practical factors specific to the room you are painting. For example, the bathroom and kitchen will need a paint that can tolerate water, humidity, soap and even grease from cooking. picking the right paint finish for more practical applications, such as normal wear and tear, and how easily it will be to clean, is important.

Flat or Matte

Flat or matte finishes have a 0-to-10 percent gloss making them excellent paint sheens for areas of the home that will not see a lot of dirt, or foot traffic.

  • When Should You Use Matte Paint? Matte paint sheen naturally soaks up light providing no reflectivity.This makes it an excellent option if you need to hide imperfections or if you need to cover up a wall quickly. Flat paints also have more pigment, which means they take less work to cover and are the most economical selection in covering large spaces in the home. So, if you’re on a budget, choosing flat or matte sheen may be the best option for you.
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  • Where Should You Use Matte Paint? Matte finishes are best suited for areas that do not see a lot of dirt or foot traffic. We suggest choosing a matte sheen for ceilings, bedrooms, living room and dining rooms. In addition, the flat finish can be used to hide imperfections and damage to walls and makes it ideal for drywall that has been patched with joint compound or new drywall installations with imperfect taping.

Eggshell Paint

Similar to matte, eggshell has lower-reflectivity and can be used for similar applications while still providing the same elegant, smooth sheen. Eggshell finishes have a slight gloss of about 10 to 25 percent, and are slightly more durable than flat finishes. However, they are not as durable as satin, semi-gloss or high-gloss paints.

  • When Should You Use Eggshell Paint? Eggshell is best utilized for areas with little traffic and dirt. If you have pets or children, you should know that cleaning is not as easy with an eggshell paint. If you plan on using eggshell, consider the texture of your walls. Because of the lower reflectivity, eggshell offers a better ability to hide imperfections on your walls.
  • Where Should You Use Eggshell Paint? We suggest using an eggshell paint on ceilings, bedrooms, dining rooms and living areas where there is not a lot of dirt build up or traffic. Due to its medium-level durability, this paint provides added protection that you won’t get with a flat finish.

Satin Paint

Satin offers about a 25 to 35 percent gloss compared to matte and eggshell finishes. Both eggshell and satin paint have a slight luster but satin paints are a bit more durable and have a higher sheen than eggshell finishes. Since they are more durable and easier to clean, satin paint finishes are a perfect middle ground, offering just a slight glow on walls while still providing many of the same benefits of eggshell and matte finishes.

  • When Should You Use Satin Paint? Satin is a bit more durable and slightly glossier than eggshell and matte finishes making it more conducive to other areas in the home. It is also easier to clean than its lower reflective counterparts. We suggest choosing a satin paint for more active rooms in the home or even outdoors. It’s important to consider its application, because unlike the eggshell or matte paints, satin does not hide imperfections as well and it is much harder to apply in a way that does not show flaws, making it difficult to touch up.
  • Where Should You Use Satin Paint? Satin paints are perfect for your high-traffic rooms and can be applied to hallways, foyers, guest bathrooms, on windows and door trims, shutters, family rooms, children’s bedrooms, kitchens and laundry areas.

Low or Semi-Gloss Paint

Low or semi-gloss paints have a noticeable sheen, making them highly durable and easy to clean. Semi-gloss paints have a reflectivity of about 35 to 70 percent and can range greatly.

  • When Should You Use Low-Gloss Paint? To determine if low-gloss is right for you, consider both the texture of the walls and the purpose of the room. Low-gloss paints are very durable and are ideally suited to very high-traffic areas of the home. They also provide better resistance to stains and damage. However, because of their higher reflectivity, imperfections will stand out.
  • Where Should You Use Low-Gloss Paint? Low-gloss and semi-gloss paints can be used in a variety of spaces, including on doors, windows, trim work, molding, in hallways, bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and even cabinets. Their durability also makes this finish a great choice for indoors or outdoors.

High-Gloss Paint

High-gloss paints offer a 70 percent or higher reflectivity and are the easiest to clean when compared to semi-gloss, satin, eggshell and matte finishes and they are the most durable. One downside to consider when using high-gloss paints is its inability to hide or cover wall imperfections… in fact, nearly every flaw will be highlighted by the reflections in the sheen.

  • When Should You Use High-Gloss Paint? High-gloss paint is perfect for areas in your home that see a lot of traffic and in rooms that have heavy use or are susceptible to fingerprints. While an application of this highly reflective paint might show the imperfections in your wall or dirt build up, cleaning is extremely easy when compared to matte or eggshell finishes.
  • Where Should You Use High-Gloss Paint? High-gloss finishes are perfect for door trims, woodwork, molding, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms and even in outside areas. Since it is the most durable type of paint available, you can also count on the longevity of the application. If you plan on staying in your home for many years, consider the benefits of applying high-gloss paint to high-traffic areas that will see dirt and damage. Due to the highly reflective nature of the paint, hiring a professional to paint your home is highly recommended.
Guide to Paint Sheens -

Get Your Estimate Today

If you live in the Kansas City area, call Distinctive Quality Painting to get an estimate for your newest painting project. We can advise you on what type of paint sheen to use and much more.

(816) 935-3000 Or Contact Us Via Email