Paint Edit: Understanding Paint Sheens

by | Sep 11, 2023 | Stephens Homes, Stephens Living

Embarking on a painting project and finding yourself a little lost amidst the sea of options? Don’t fret! Today, we’re diving into the world of paint sheens. Understanding paint sheens is crucial to picking the perfect finish for your space, and by the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped to make that decision like a pro.

Let’s start by reviewing the five main types of paint sheens available to you!

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Types of Paint Sheens



  • Great at hiding surface imperfections.
  • Non-reflective, providing a smooth and rich look.


  • Not as durable.
  • Tends to mark easily and can be a challenge to clean.

Durability & Cleaning: Flat paint might not stand up well to frequent cleaning, making it a less ideal choice for high-traffic areas. Gentle wiping is usually the way to go.



  • Offers a slight shine, giving walls a bit of depth.
  • More durable than flat paints.


  • Not as easy to clean as some glossier options.
  • May highlight imperfections if not applied carefully.

Durability & Cleaning: Eggshell can handle cleaning better than flat paint but still requires a soft touch. A damp cloth should suffice for most marks.



  • Has a velvety finish that’s perfect for balancing gloss and matte.
  • More durable and easier to clean than eggshell.


  • Can highlight imperfections if the wall isn’t perfectly smooth.

Durability & Cleaning: Ideal for areas that need regular cleaning. A gentle scrubbing won’t harm it.



  • Reflects more light, making spaces appear brighter.
  • High durability and moisture resistance.


  • Very pronounced when it comes to showing surface imperfections.

Durability & Cleaning: This is where ease of cleaning shines! Perfect for spaces that see lots of action, as it can handle a good scrub.



  • Gives a shiny and glass-like appearance.
  • Top-notch when it comes to durability.


  • Can be too shiny for some interior spaces.
  • Every imperfection will be on display.

Durability & Cleaning: Very resilient. It laughs in the face of stains and can be cleaned aggressively without worry.

Paint Sheens

Where to Use Each Paint Sheen: Tips & Tricks

  • Flat: Best for adult bedrooms, ceilings, and other low-traffic areas where the rich and smooth appearance is desired without much concern for frequent cleanings.
  • Eggshell: Think living rooms and dining rooms. It offers a hint of shine without being too glossy.
  • Satin: Hallways, children’s rooms, or any space that sees a good amount of traffic yet needs a touch of elegance.
  • Semi-Gloss: Kitchens, bathrooms, and trims benefit from its moisture-resistant and easy-to-clean properties.
  • Gloss: Doors, trims, and furniture. Its sheen is bold, so it’s best used in spaces or items you want to highlight.


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