What Are The Varied Paint Sheens? (Shocking)

various paint sheen samples

As a paint skilled, shoppers usually ask, “What are the varied paint sheens?” The reply is as follows:

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

I’ll study every sheen in additional element and listing the professionals and cons, so you may select the very best sheen to your subsequent portray undertaking.

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 owners chosen sheens primarily based 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 immediately, paint producers have come a great distance since these days. Immediately, contractors and owners have extra choices.

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

Scuff-resistant paints by Benjamin Moore and House Depot supply superior wall protections and are available in flat, matte, and eggshell.

Not All Paint Sheens Are Created Equal

Sadly, there isn’t an trade customary for figuring out sheens. So, sheens will differ from producer to producer.

Probably the most vital 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 undertaking. 

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

Flat Sheen

A flat end displays little to no gentle and seems uninteresting. Flat paint is without doubt one of 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 easy. For these causes, flat paint is good for ceilings.

House builders use flat paint for partitions to cover imperfections, seams, bowed partitions, and so on. Contractors additionally use flats sometimes in lighter colours for a similar causes.

I’m not implying builders are shady characters, however they’re within the enterprise of establishing houses as shortly as doable. Utilizing a flat end accelerates their work.

Whereas we’re on the subject of latest houses, most contractors supply new residence consumers the choice of upgrading to a matte or eggshell end. Nonetheless, I’ve discovered that their markup is extravagant.

I all the time advise new owners 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 section is completed, you may repaint with a greater high quality paints. And it’ll be cheaper than what the builder quoted!

One more reason 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
  • Simple touch-up
  • Preferrred 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 in the event you splurge on top-end paint, it’s washable and provides rooms a lush look. 

I like to recommend matte finishes when shoppers paint rooms in a deep base colour in eating rooms or places of work.

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 seems to be 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. Count on to pay $30-40 a gallon for high quality matte paint, whereas these like Regal bounce to $50-60 a gallon.


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


  • Costlier
  • Not supreme for high-traffic areas

Eggshell Sheen

After 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 colour. I rolled my eyes and replied, “Umm, eggshell.” He politely knowledgeable me that it was the sheen, not a colour.

Perhaps you’ve made this similar mistake! Most professionals affiliate eggshell with the end, though they’ll suggest eggshell colours due to this misunderstanding.

Eggshell sheen may be very fashionable with paint contractors and owners as a result of it’s washable and sturdy.

Designers and owners favor it for partitions as a result of it presents a wonderful 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 can even have an effect on your value. Like matte finishes, eggshell paints are pricier than flats. And be sure you test the sheen chart on the retailer.

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


  • Common 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 sublime end and appears like, you guessed it, satin. Whereas some folks have used satin for partitions, most contractors and owners apply it to trim. 

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

The downside 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 immediately’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 right down to what sheen you favor; there isn’t a proper or incorrect reply. 

When you could also be tempted to make use of a less expensive paint to your trim, I all the time suggest utilizing the absolute best. Sherwin Williams Professional Basic and Benjamin Moore’s Advance are the very best in the marketplace.

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. Nonetheless, paint for trim goes a great distance, so that you gained’t want many gallons. 


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


  • Not fitted 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 houses. I’m certain some have used this end on partitions however hopefully just for impact or maybe a themed room.

Bear 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 simple 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 except you’re ready to repaint your whole trim.

The one time I’ve used semi-gloss on a wall was for a pretend undertaking. I used to be to color a boy’s room with Captain America colours. The proprietor needed the pink 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. 

Count on to pay the identical quantity for an amazing semi-gloss paint as you’ll for satin. 


  • Common sheen for trim
  • Sturdy and washable


  • Not fitted 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 surprising look in sure conditions. Predominantly, gloss sheen is reserved just for trim.

As you may think about, in the event you 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. Nonetheless, pay attention to the tendencies in your space, particularly in the event you plan on promoting your property. 

Utilizing a gloss end might 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 property a European look. However needless to say darkish colours and excessive gloss present all the pieces, even brush strokes. 

And if you wish to get that door to be as easy and glossy black as a Steinway piano, take a look at Tremendous 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!

Ultimate ideas on the Query “What are the varied paint sheens?”