All About Paint Sheens

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When choosing paints, it is important to consider more than just the color. There are also different finishes that need to be researched in order to pick the best paint for your particular project.

We would like to make your life a little easier… So here, we have broken down the different sheen qualities and what they are best used for.

There are Matte/Flat finishes as well as Semi-gloss/Gloss finishes. Below are the types of sheens that fall under each category, as well as their distinguishing qualities listed from matte to high-gloss:


  • No sheen
  • Absorbs Light
  • Hides Flaws
    • Acts as camouflage to rough surfaces or imperfections and disguises blemishes
    • Great for Ceilings, dining room, living room walls
  • Smooth, elegant finish
  • Hard to clean
    • Cleaning may ruin the finish by creating a chalky texture
    • Best to keep an extra bucket on hand for full wall touch ups

Low Sheen

  • Soft Finish
  • Resists stains and scuffs
    • Good for dining areas or dens
  • Gives depth and warmth to rooms
    • Great for bedrooms and offices
  • Resists Moisture
    • Good for areas like the kitchen and bathrooms


  • Slightly Reflective Surface
  • Resists mildew/dirt/stains
    • Good for children’s play areas or game rooms
    • Can be wiped clean
  • Withstands moisture
    • Great for kitchens and bathrooms
    • Can be used outside


  • Smooth, light reflective sheen
  • Easy to clean
    • Great for high traffic areas like hallways and staircases
  • Can be used outdoors
  • Tends to shows imperfections more
    • Need a good surface to apply to

High Gloss

  • High sheen finish
    • Brightens rooms
  • High resistance to moisture
    • Durable and easy to clean
    • Great for trim, railings, cabinets, bathrooms
  • Can be used outdoors
    • Shutters, doors, woodwork
  • Shows imperfections, so you need a clean surface to apply it to
    • Requires more prep work on surfaces

Hopefully this makes your next paint project less intimidating, but if you still have questions about choosing the right paint… give us a call and we can consult with you on what will work best for your project!

Check back next week to learn about our favorite sheen here at The House Painters!