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Choosing The Right Paint Sheen For The Right Project


Have you ever spent an hour picking out just the right color of paint? Then when you think you’re done, you move on to the next step to be overwhelmed by the all the different types of sheens! 

We’ve been there, too. 

Here’s a guide to all the different types of paint sheens. So next time you walk into the paint department, you can feel (and sound) like you know what you’re talking about. Below, we’ll explore the different types of paint, from flat/matte to gloss, and everything in between. 


  • The different types of paint (flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss) is called “sheen.” The higher sheen, the higher shine (and price).  
  • If your paint color is dark and rich but you don’t want a super shiny effect, step down at least one level on the sheen scale. That’s because the darker and richer the paint color is, the more colorant it has, which boosts sheen.

Flat: This type of paint is as matte as you can get. Is it ironic that matte and flat rhyme? Maybe. But it’s a good way to remember! This paint is best used for ceilings, or if you want to hide imperfections in old walls. (But be careful, crayon marks are hard to wash off from this type of paint!) 

Eggshell: This paint type has a little more sheen than the flat paint, but still looks matte. It’s also easier to clean than flat. If you’re thinking about painting a bedroom or an older wall, this is a good option because it hides imperfections. 

Satin: With slightly more sheen than the eggshell paint, this paint still has a slightly matte look. This is a no-fail paint that is especially good if you can’t decide.  It looks (and cleans) great in the bathroom, kitchen, and even the messiest toddlers’ playrooms. 

Semi-Gloss: This paint has a good amount of sheen but isn’t glossy. It’s easy to clean, considered scrubbable but like all the high-sheen paints, it tends to highlight imperfections in an old wall. 

Gloss: Let’s not beat around the bush. This paint is downright shiny. While it washes like a breeze, it’s so glossy you’ll be seeing even the tiniest fingerprints.