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How to Select The Right Paint Sheen

Initially, choosing an interior paint colour for your home may seem like an easy decision. However, you might feel overwhelmed once you’re standing face-to-face with the seemingly endless number of colours and finishes to choose from. SInce each type of paint sheen serves a unique, practical, and decorative job, deciding on the right one is crucial and requires some thought. Fortunately, we’ve created a handy guide to help you choose the perfect one.

Different Types of Paint Sheens

It may surprise you to learn that paints come in a number of sheens. The gloss level determines how reflective the dried paint surface will be. Let’s take a look at some of the most common paint gloss options available:


These paints are highly reflective, with a gloss level over 45%. Since high-gloss paints are so shiny, they show far more textures and imperfections on a painted surface. For some people, that can be a desired characteristic. One of the perks of this type of paint gloss is that it’s durable and easy to clean, making it a great choice for high-touch areas like cabinets, trims and doors.


Semi-gloss paints have a gloss level of 30-40%, meaning they’re fairly reflective of light sources. Because the paint surface is smoother, these types of paints are easier to clean and maintain. Semi-gloss is a great choice for walls that encounter moisture, drip and grease stains.


Satin paint has a gloss level of about 20-30%. Even though it’s more resistant to staining than lower sheens, they’re still not as reflective as higher-level paint glosses. Satin paint can be a bit difficult to apply, but it’s easy to clean once the paint has drive.

Flat or Matte

What’s unique about flat or matte paints is that they soak up light rather than reflect it. These paints have little sheen, so when light sources hit it, it diffuses and creates an even, soft-looking surface. Because flat paints have the most pigment and offer more coverage, they’re a great choice for people wanting to save time and money.

How to Choose the Right Paint Gloss

While selecting your paint gloss, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Aesthetic: Consider how the final paint colour and sheen will look. Try applying sample paints onto your surface to get an idea of how the combination will appear after it dries.
  • Use: What will be the utility of the room you’re painting? For areas that require more cleaning like a kitchen, bathroom or doors, you might want to opt for a glossier paint.
  • Light: Think about the light sources in your room and choose a sheen that works well with them.

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