How to Choose the Best Paint Sheen for Your Walls

Which paint sheen should I choose for my walls?

When you’re getting ready for a party, you think about the venue (is it outdoors or indoors), the dress code (casual or formal) and your accessories (over the top or simple). Believe it or not, picking the right paint sheen for your walls is just like getting ready for a party. The venue = which room? How much time is spent in that room? The dress code = the type of room. Is it a high traffic room?  How much sunshine or light does the room get? The accessories = your room aesthetic. Is your room a formal room or a living room for more casual get-togethers? It’s important to think about these factors so you can appropriately “dress” your room with the right paint sheen.

Paint Sheen Types

Before choosing a paint sheen, it’s important to know the type of paint sheens that exist. Learn how to pick the right paint sheen with these options:

  • No and Low-Gloss Sheens
    • Flat
    • Matte
    • Eggshell
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Glossy

Here is an easy chart to consider, adapted from Home Depot.

Guide to Paint Sheens

Guide to Paint Sheens

How to Choose a Paint Sheen


House Logic provides one important rule of thumb: The higher the sheen, the higher the shine — and the higher the shine, the more durable it will be. When picking a paint sheen, you have to consider how much light the room gets and how much traffic the room experiences on a day to day basis. The chart above gives you an idea of what to expect from each sheen and which sheen is best for which room.

Flat: Perfect if you have a room with a lot of imperfections. Due to this, they may be best for ceilings, such as popcorn ceilings, to make them look a little more flat than normal.

Eggshell: While flat finishes are rather tough to clean, eggshell is easier to clean and offers just a bit more luster. It’s best in rooms with soft lighting.

Semigloss: Consider semigloss for rooms that have a lot of light. Since semi-gloss reflects light, it makes a room look even brighter and airier. Best of all, it’s easy to clean so it’s great for kitchens, bathrooms and other high traffic areas.

Satin: For a pearl-like finish, consider satin. This sheen can withstand modest wear and tear.

High-Gloss: If you want a bright and vibrant paint color, go the high-gloss route. It makes the color seem more vivid. Best used where there are few blemishes as high-gloss highlights flaws.

If you’re still at a loss, call our home painting experts. We can help you choose the perfect sheen for your home room by room. Contact us and let’s talk paint!