Two paint rollers being held by hands in white gloves placed on a wall

What is "Paint Sheen," and Why Does it Matter?

What is Paint Sheen?

Are you looking to add some extra bounce and light to a room? A high-gloss sheen might be the right pick. Planning to paint your front door a bright, attention-grabbing color? You’ll want a semi-gloss or gloss sheen so it will hold up to all the handshakes and hugs.

There are four basic types of interior paint sheens: flat, eggshell, satin, and gloss. Each sheen has its own particular look, feel, and level of durability. Which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

What Type of Paint Sheen Should I Use?


Flat sheen is the most popular choice for homes because it's easy to maintain. Flat finishes can be found in any color and offer an attractive alternative if you're looking to create a more modern vibe without shining too much light on your walls; this type of paint works well with ceilings, formal dining rooms, as well as large contemporary spaces where natural lighting is plentiful.


Eggshell sheen is perfect for living areas like family rooms and bedrooms because it's not too dull and not too shiny, offering just the right amount of washability. Eggshell paint is also ideal for walls that will see a lot of activity, such as in kids' rooms or playrooms.


Satin sheen is perfect for hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms because it stands up well to moisture and cleaning. Satin paint can also be a good choice for trim since it's not as reflective as gloss paint but still has a nice finished look.


Gloss sheen should generally be avoided in living spaces like bedrooms and family rooms because it tends to highlight every little blemish and fingerprint on the wall. However, gloss paint can be a good choice for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms because it's more durable and easy to clean than other sheens.

What Kind Of Paint Is Best For A Bathroom?

Consider using a higher-gloss paint in your bathroom to give the space an extra sense of protection and durability. But if you have a bit of fear about painting a high-gloss surface (or just really don’t want to deal with the extra hassle), semi-gloss is always a great option that will give you some of the benefits of gloss without all the shine.

Just be sure to test the paint in the space before you commit – there’s nothing worse than painting a room and realizing that the finish doesn’t look quite right.

Which Sheen Should You Choose For Your Kitchen Paint?

Kitchens are another high-traffic place that calls for tough interior paint. A glossier sheen will definitely not be a disappointment, especially since scuffs and marks can be washed off fairly easily (backpack bumps, smudges from hands, etc.).

It All Comes Down to Preference

There are general guidelines for painting with different sheens, but in the end, it comes down to personal preference. For example, flat paint is the best choice for hiding surface imperfections, while gloss paint will create a high-shine finish. However, many people prefer satin or semigloss paint because they have less shine than gloss paint, but still look polished.

It's important to keep in mind that the type of lighting in your room can also affect how the paint sheen looks. If you have bright sunlight shining on your walls, a high-shine finish may be too reflective and uncomfortable to look at. In this case, it might be better to choose a lower sheen paint.

Trust the Painting Experts

If you’re looking for a new look for your home, or just need to touch up some paint, contact the ALLBRiGHT PAINTING team today at (661) 464-0771. We can help you choose the right sheen and color for your project, and take care of all the painting for you. With over 30 years of experience, we know how to make your home look its best.