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How to Choose Sheen

The Concept of Sheen

Picking a paint is more than just product and color choice, you must also find the right sheen for your project. Sheen is fundamentally simple, but not the most widely understood element of paint in the DIY community. You might be familiar with the names of sheens, like flat, eggshell and gloss, but what do they really mean when choosing the right one for your project? 

Understanding Shine

Flat indicates the least shine, with virtually no shine to the paint, while Gloss indicates the most shine. EggshellSatin and Semi-gloss fall between these extremes, with various shines and other characteristics. 

In order of left to right, this is what you can typically expect when it comes to performance and shine:

Flat → Matte → Eggshell → Satins → Semi-Gloss → Hi-Gloss
  • Less reflection of light → More reflection of light
  • More-subtle appearance on wall → Higher shine 
  • Lower scrubbability → Greater scrubbability 

Picking Sheen Based on Room

Specific sheens have become the expected choice for certain rooms given their individual qualities. Our table below outlines which rooms should be painted with which sheens.

SHEEN:

 

FLAT

EGGSHELL

SATIN

SEMI-GLOSS

HI-GLOSS

WALLS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAMILY ROOM

*

*

*

 

 

 

LIVING ROOM

*

*

*

 

 

 

DINING ROOM

*

*

*

 

 

 

BEDROOM

*

*

*

 

 

 

KID'S ROOM

 

 

*

*

 

 

HALLWAY

 

*

*

 

 

 

KITCHEN & BATH

 

 

 

*

*

ACCENTS,
TRIM &
ACCESSORIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOORS/WINDOWS

 

 

 

*

*

 

MOULDING

 

 

 

*

*

 

CABINETS

 

 

 

*

*

 

FURNITURE

 

 

*

*

*

 

CEILINGS

*

 

 

 

 

The Impact of Sheen

As an element of your project, sheen can completely change how a room looks or feels. Don't shy away from trying different sheens in your room before you settle on one. You'll feel even better about the project if you find the sheen that feels best for you. 
 

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