Types of Paint Finishes and Sheens and How to Choose the Right One

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    When people think of house paints, they often think only of the actual paint and gloss-over all the different kinds of paint finishes and sheens available, from glossy to matte, that can add so much character to your favorite paint color. These different types of interior paint finishes can utterly transform a room. When choosing the right paint finish, it is always a good idea to consult with a painting professional.

    What Is Sheen Paint?

    Paint sheens are the paint finishes that are measured by how much light reflects off the paint. The two ends of the paint sheens spectrum are glossy and matte, and everything else falls in between. Glossy is a very shiny finish while matte is the flattest paint finish.

    5 Types of Paint Finishes

    There are different sheens of paint, but they can all be categorized into five different types of finishes for paint such as matte, eggshell finish, satin finish, semi-gloss finish, and high-gloss finish paint. 

    Matte or Flat Finish Paint

    A matte/flat finish paint is great in rooms where the walls are slightly cracked or damaged. This type of paint finish absorbs light rather than reflects it, which helps mask any imperfections. On the other hand, flat finish paint can attract dust more easily. 

    • Applications: Used on cracked or stucco walls.
    • Coverage: This paint finish has the most pigments and offers the best coverage.
    • Cost-effective.
    • Gets dirty easily.

    It is important to note that matte paint is known as a very low gloss paint finish, as in very little shine, while flat paint has no shine. Typically, the two names are interchanged but there is a small difference.

    Eggshell Finish Paint

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    Eggshell paint finish is a sheen that is slightly glossier than matte or flat finish paint. When it comes to different types of paint finish, this one is great for both rooms that are in high-trafficked parts of the house, walls with imperfections, and even ceilings that require a slight shine.

    • Hides flaws: The more matte the finish, the more it is likely to hide the imperfections on a wall.
    • Easier to clean: Unlike matte finish paint, eggshell paint finish is easier to clean because it has enough gloss to not stain the surfaces.
    • Application: It is versatile and easy to apply even when breaks in the painting process are done. 

    Satin Finish Paint

    What is satin finish paint? A satin finish reflects more light than matte or flat. This is one of the best types of interior paint finishes because it is easy to clean and maintain. Its pearl-like appearance offers the perfect balance of glossiness. 

    • Application: It can be used in high-traffic areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and trims.
    • Easy to clean: This paint finish is easy to clean and allows for easier maintenance than the matte or flat finish. 

    It is important to note that this type of finish does not hide wall imperfections well and touch-ups will be easily noticeable. 

    Semi-Gloss Finish Paint

    A semi-gloss paint finish has very reflective properties, shiny. 

    • Moisture resistant: Because of the moisture resistance its applications are common in kitchens, bathrooms, and playrooms. 
    • Durability: Highly durable paint finish and easy to clean.

    High Gloss Finish Paint

    High Gloss finish paint uses oil or acrylic to give it that sparkly shine. Light particles just bounce off the surface.

    • Application: All areas that attract humidity or areas that are often touched like kitchens, bathrooms, windowsills, and cabinets.
    • Durability: It is the most durable of all sheens.
    • Easy to clean: It is also very easy to clean.

    It is important to note that this kind of sheen may be too bright or shiny for all the walls in the house because of its reflective properties. 

    The Perfect Finish Starts With You

    Breathe new life into your space. Entrust Oahu Pro Painters with your property and expect results of the highest quality.


    Depending on what you are painting, it is important to choose the right sheen. Different paint finishes have different properties and applications. Please contact our team at Oahu Pro Painters and we will make sure that you find the right finish for your painting projects. 


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