You might ask, what is sheen?

In simple terms, sheen is the amount of reflection given off by your paint. The highest reflection is a gloss sheen and the lowest is a flat sheen. The most common name for the middle of the road sheen is eggshell. However, there are several different names given to the levels of sheen in between gloss and flat. There is semi gloss, satin, low lustre, velvet, and matte.

Gloss and semi-gloss sheen and where to use them
Gloss and semi gloss sheen is used to highlight a feature of the interior. The reflective quality of the paint draws your eye to that area. It is a durable finish and it is easier to wash. This sheen is used on baseboards, trim and doors because these are the areas that get the most abuse and this sheen can stand up to the wear and tear.

One of the drawbacks to this sheen is that it shows the most flaws on a surface. The light highlights any flaws because it bounces off any imperfections and creates shadows. Therefore, if you have a wall that is old or is damaged, using a gloss or semi gloss paint will draw your eye to the flaw and make your wall look terrible.

Matte or Flat sheen and where to use them
Matte or Flat sheen is a sheen that is being used by a lot of decorators lately. When used on a wall, it can be a soft finish. However, it is best used on non-high traffic wall areas because the sheen is harder to clean since it has a more porous finish. This sheen can also be used on walls that are old and in bad shape. Because it is less reflective, matte or flat sheens hide a lot of imperfections on walls. This smooths out the look of the old or damaged walls and gives it a nicer finish.

Eggshell, satin, velvet sheens and where to use them
These sheens are best used in everyday areas of the home. Each of the sheens can be washed and scrubbed. They have less sheen than a semi gloss but still have some reflective qualities. They are durable and can stand up to a busy household.

Just to confuse you
All manufacturers have a bit of a difference in their sheen levels. Depending on the paint you use, the sheen may be different than what you were expecting. It is best to talk to an expert before assuming the eggshell sheen you purchase in one product is not going to be shinier than the last eggshell sheen you purchased in a different product.

Ultimately, it is your choice
The sheens mentioned above all have pros and cons in using them. Depending on the look you are wanting to achieve, you may want to use a sheen in an area that may not follow the rules. This is completely up to you but the flat paint you used in the mud room may not be washable. So, when the dog comes in and shakes mud on the walls, that splatter pattern might just stay there forever.

It is always a good idea to talk to an expert when choosing paint and paint finishes.

The Pink Painter is here to help you walk through the painting process and educate you before you make your choice.