Choosing the Right Paint Sheen: 3 Considerations

Repainting is one of the most common home improvement projects people undertake. With this one change, you can easily change a room’s appearance and help freshen up the entire interior design.

Before beginning in your paint project, you need to consider many things to achieve your desired output. From choosing a color scheme to considering how the hues affect the flow between different rooms, taking a closer look at the details will help you get your expected result from a paint job.

That said, when choosing paint products, you should also think about the right paint sheen for the situation. In this post, we’ll show you why paint sheen is important, and what you need to think about to pick the best one for the room that you are repainting.

Why is Paint Sheen Important?

Also referred to as “paint finish,” paint sheen describes the level of shine or gloss a paint product can create on a specific surface.

Paint sheen affects how a color looks at specific times of the day. It has something to do with the amount of light that bounces off the painted surface, changing how the resulting color is perceived.

The paint’s potential finish should be determined before the application to avoid having to redo it later. SInce darker colors contain more colorant, they naturally have more sheen than lighter ones. This means that, if you’re going for a deep and dramatic look for a room, you should consider toning down the shine of your walls by picking eggshell, matte, or flat paint sheen.

Of course, several factors affect the paint finish (more on this later). The bottom line is that certain sheens work better on specific surfaces than others.

3 Considerations in Choosing the Right Paint Sheen

Below are three crucial factors you need to consider when choosing the right paint sheen:

1. Durability and ease of cleaning

The amount of traffic in a room is vital when choosing the perfect paint finish. This is because the sheen determines how well paint can hold up against scratches, dirt, and other signs of wear over time.

For instance, flat paint with a non-reflective finish and matte with low luster is great for hiding imperfections like dents, patches, nail holes, and other surface flaws.

However, they are not highly washable and don’t hold up well against stains. This is why flat and matte sheens should only be used in the bedrooms of adults and other areas inside the house that won’t get roughed up.

On the other hand, semi-gloss and glossy finishes do well in rooms that are often subjected to dirt and grime since they are easiest to clean with a simple wiping or some light scrubbing. They also work great in the kitchen, bathrooms, and other parts of the house prone to moisture.

2. Appearance

As mentioned earlier, the amount of light that bounces off a surface can affect people’s perception of color. And since paint finish determines the amount of light bouncing off from the wall or ceiling, it also affects the way a room looks and feels.
Metal fence painted with Colortek SX47 StopRust rust-resistant epoxy primer

Besides hiding construction flaws, flat paint sheen also creates a receding visual effect on the walls. Deep hues also appear deeper with this smooth finish, making it ideal for formal rooms like the dining and living rooms.

Meanwhile, gloss and semi-gloss finishes make the walls look shiny, which then brightens up the atmosphere in the room. These sheens also increase the brightness of lighter colors like off-white and pastel shades and make the room look bigger.

Middle finishes like satins and eggshells are often used because they have just the right amount of shine to highlight the beauty of the color you choose. Satin is slightly glossier than eggshell, which exudes a silky finish that makes the walls get a slight glow. Meanwhile, an eggshell finish has a soft appeal that takes on a unique texture, particularly when viewed from a certain angle and with specific lighting.

3. Ease of Application and Touch-ups

Another major factor you need to consider when choosing a paint finish is the ease of application. Different levels of sheen offer different levels of ease in terms of application and touch-ups.

A perfect example of this is satin. Considered a favorite in family rooms, kids’ bedrooms, hallways, and other high-traffic areas, satin’s most significant selling point is its velvety silk-like appearance. It is also easier to clean.

However, one disadvantage of this middle sheen is the number of possible application flaws from paint rollers or brush strokes if it is applied by a non-professional. While it is possible to do touch-ups later, these can also prove difficult to accomplish without expert help.

If you’re looking for a sheen that is easier to apply, go with flat paint as it only needs a few coats compared to glossier finishes. It is also easier to touch up because of the minimal contrast between the original paint and the redone surface.