Interior Paint Finishes – Know Your Sheen

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Perusing the paint department of your local hardware store, you’ll likely notice a variety of paint finish options. Paint manufacturers have many names for their different sheens to make this even more confusing. Because the sheen chosen is just as important as getting the paint color right, you want to choose carefully. For most paint projects, you’ll likely have to choose two or more types of finish. Here are the basics of interior paint finishes to help guide your decision.


Flat paint looks just like it sounds. It creates a dull, almost velvet-like finish that is ideal for living rooms, home offices and formal dining rooms. Flat paint is the easiest to touch up and adds a particularly nice depth of color to walls. However, it absorbs stains and can’t be effectively washed. So, it’s not a good idea in children’s rooms or other highly-used areas.

Low Sheen

Also called eggshell, satin, low-luster or silk, low sheen paint is less porous than flat paint, but not shiny. Because it can be wiped down, it’s a smart choice for kitchens and bathrooms. It can even be used for kids’ bedrooms, hallways and family rooms.

Medium Sheen

This type of paint is sometimes called semi-gloss or soft-gloss. Highly durable and easy to clean, it’s most often used for doors, windows and trim. Yet, don’t be tempted to use medium sheen for entire walls as it will result in a cheap, plastic-like look.

High Sheen

With the hardest, smoothest finish, high sheen paint, also called gloss, is the right choice for doors, windows and trim that get a lot of use. Dirt and stains don’t stick to high sheen paint, making it especially easy to clean. This finish is never used on walls or ceilings.

It can be challenging to determine the right interior paint finish for your painting project. This is why it’s always a wise idea to work with a painting professional. At Ellsworth Home Services, we have the experience and know-how to help you choose the finishes that will work best for your home. Call us at 480-593-2265 to find out more about how we can help you.