How to Choose the Right Paint Sheen for Your Home Interior


Paint has many different sheen options and finishes. Each one has a different level of glossiness. defining the degree of durability and concealing properties. Basically, paint sheen is how much shine paint contains and each sheen presents a different level of durability and ability to hide. Every type of paint has an assortment of sheens and they portray the level of shine that is in the paint.

Coastal Modern Eat In Kitchen Dining Area

Each sheen has a unique set of attributes, which encompass it’s ability to withstand wear and tear as well as masking imperfections. The paint’s sheen defines how much light is reflected and it’s important to note that every sheen delivers a clear blend of durability and the power to conceal flaws. Let’s dive into this and find the right paint sheen for your home interior.

High Gloss Highest Level of Shine, Easy to Clean,
High Traffic Area
Doors, Cabinets, Trim, Stair Rails
Semi GlossModerate Level of Shine, Easy to Clean,
Moderate Traffic Area
Trim, Doors, Cabinets, Furniture
SatinSubtle Level of Shine, Moderate Traffic AreaEntryways, Hallways, Bathrooms, Laundry Room, Kitchen,
Kids’ Bedrooms, Trim
EggshellLow Level of Shine, Difficult to Clean,
Low Traffic Area
Family Room, Guest Bedroom, Kids’ Room
Flat/MatteLowest Level of Shine, Difficult to Clean,
Low Traffic Area
Master Bedrooms, Formal Dining Rooms, Formal Living Room
Home Office Space with Blue Shiplap

What Variations of Paint Sheens are Available?

High Gloss:

High gloss paint contains the highest level of shine and creates a smooth and polished appearance. It also reflects light very well and is easy to clean. This paint sheen is ideal for high-traffic areas like doors, cabinets, and trim since it is very durable and creates a very smooth and polished appearance.


Semi-gloss paint contains a moderate level of sheen and a subtle shine. This paint sheen is also durable like high-gloss paint and works well in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Semi-gloss can also be used for trim and moldings. It enhances the overall appeal of those rooms without being overly reflective.


Satin sheen provides a subtle, almost velvet-like finish. It is less reflective than semi-gloss sheen and is a versatile choice for a wide range of indoor spaces that contain moderate traffic like bedrooms and living rooms. This finish works for kitchens, baths and trim like semi-gloss. It has an attractive glow but doesn’t overwhelm the space and works well with walls, doors, and trim if looking to add an element of sophistication.


Eggshell paint does contain a slight sheen and gets its name because it resembles the texture of an eggshell. It contains low-level gloss and resembles a soft glow while concealing minor imperfections on walls. This kind of paint sheen creates a warm and inviting atmosphere and the best results are in living spaces such as bedrooms, family rooms, or hallways.

Flat or Matte

This paint sheen contains no shine at all. Rather, it creates a non-reflective and smooth surface which is a great choice for hiding surface imperfections. However it is considerably less washable than glossier paint. You will commonly see the flat or matte paint on ceilings or walls in low-traffic areas.

2 story hallway with white board & batten

Why Apply Different Paint Sheens on Different Areas?

There are several important factors that play a role in the selection of paint finishes for different rooms. The most important being durability, appearance, and the resistance to moisture. Each of these aspects have their advantages and disadvantages when considering each living space.

Durability is a crucial factor when deciding what paint sheen to work with. In high traffic areas that are prone to wear and tear glossier finishes are typically more durable and much easier to clean. This would be more suitable for bathrooms or rooms with lots of foot traffic.

High gloss, semi-gloss, and satin paint all have a shiny and reflective surface which in turn, brightens up a space. However, the downfall is it can show imperfections much easier. The flat or matte finishes show a softer approach that works well in spaces like bedrooms, formal dining areas and living rooms. Think cozy and sophisticated!

Don’t forget moisture resistance. This is essential when thinking about rooms like bathrooms where the humidity is higher. The best paint sheen is either satin or eggshell finishes due to their ability to withstand moisture.

Remember, the paint finish should go along with the visual appeal, functionality, and longevity of the space.

Dresser with Coastal decor

Which Sheen Works Best for Different Areas

Choosing the right finish for each surface helps contribute to the overall aesthetic and functionality of your living spaces.

When considering the finish for trim, a satin, semi-gloss finish or high gloss finish is the answer. High gloss is typically preferred in areas that are prone to heavy wear like stair rails. However, if you prefer a less shiny appearance, semi gloss or satin finishes will do well in this case as it balances out gloss and matte.

Flat or Matte work best in master bedrooms, formal dining rooms, and formal living rooms due to the softer light reflection. This in turn creates a calm and cozy environment. In other areas like family rooms, guest bedrooms and kids’ rooms, Eggshell sheen could be a good choice. It provides a subtle sheen which creates a warm and inviting feel and it’s easy to clean.

Entryways, hallways, bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and kids’ bedrooms all need a paint finish that is easy to clean. Therefore, a Satin finish works well here as it offers a touch of gloss while maintaining a solid level of shine. When working with ceilings, Flat finishes are recommended due to the amount of light reflection. This in turn helps create a smooth and uniform appearance.

Coastal Style Sitting Area with Shiplap Fireplace

These Aren’t Rules, Just Recommendations

Keep in mind, these aren’t rules, just recommendations. Following these guidelines serve as a helpful reference to achieve the overall look want for your home. But remember, have fun with it. When working with paint, be flexible and allow for creativity and personal preference to flow. Paint is definitely one of the easiest and most affordable big changes you can make, too.

These recommendations are guidelines to help provide you with a solid foundation for when you are in search for the right paint sheen for specific areas in your home. The goal is to help strike a harmonious balance between durability and visual impact to your beautiful home. If you have any questions when looking at paint sheen, feel free to reach out to me.

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