What are the 5 Types of Paint Sheen

Paint sheen refers to the amount of light that a painted surface reflects, which is determined by the level of glossiness or shininess of the paint. Paint sheen can be described as a finish, which ranges from flat (no gloss) to high-gloss. Read on below to learn what are the common types of paint sheens.

  1. Flat/Matte
    This has no shine, and the surface looks smooth with a velvety appearance. It is ideal for ceilings and walls with imperfections as it hides them effectively. When fully dry, matte paint will have the least amount of shine or reflection, if any at all, and they tend to require fewer coats to hide imperfections on surfaces. Do not use cleaning solutions on flat/matte paint. Use this paint sheen in low traffic areas such as ceilings and adult bedrooms.
  2. Eggshell
    This has a slight shine, and it is durable and easy to clean. This type of paint finish will likely conceal most imperfections and is resistant to fingerprints making eggshell paint finishes perfect for higher traffic areas or rooms where lots of people gather. Eggshell paint sheen is best used in areas that require frequent cleaning, such as living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
  3. Satin
    Satin paint finishes are most commonly used for interior projects due to their soft velvety sheen. This is a low reflective paint with medium durability, but still easy to clean. This has a soft shine and can handle cleaning solutions and gentle home remedies. It is perfect for interior walls that are in high-traffic areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and kids’ rooms.
  4. Semi-gloss
    This has a moderate shine and is also durable and easy to clean. Semi-gloss paint sheen still will have reflective properties, it is suitable for doors, windows, trims, and cabinets, but is also commonly used in rooms that contain a lot of moisture such as a bathroom or kitchen because semi-gloss paint finishes are also incredibly mildew resistant.
  5. Gloss
    This has a high shine and is the most durable and easy to clean of all paint sheens. It is ideal for high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, as well as for furniture, trims, and doors. A benefit of this type of sheen or paint finish is that it requires fewer coats of paint. Use this paint sheen in areas with high moisture content rooms and places you’d like an extra shine.


It is important to know what paint sheen you want because different paint sheens have different characteristics that make them suitable for specific applications. Choosing the right paint sheen for your home depends on various factors, including the room or area being painted, the desired finish, and personal preference. Let the experts at SPPI walk you through a free estimate or you can call us and schedule a color consultation so that we can help you in this process.

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