Paint Sheen Guide for Interior Painting

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A lot of people are confused when it comes to painting. What is the difference between sheens? Which sheen should I use for my interior walls? Which sheen should I use for the trim? These are all common questions that many people are asking.

Sheen Facts:

There are many sheens including flat, matte, satin, eggshell, pearl, semi-gloss and gloss. A glossy sheen is easy to wash but shows a wall’s imperfections. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a flat sheen hides imperfections but is difficult to clean. Choosing a sheen from the middle, like eggshell or pearl, balances the two extremes.

Best Paint Sheen for Walls

When painting interior walls, people tend to use an eggshell sheen. It provides a good balance of washability and coverage. It’s not as easy to clean as a semi-gloss or gloss, but it still cleans well and also hides many of the walls’ imperfections.

Sometimes you will want something glossier for a bathroom. The pearl sheen may be a better fit. It’s a little easier to clean and still hides some imperfections. It is always a balance and in this case, the priority is on cleanliness. A bathroom is not as likely to get scuffs and scratches anyway.

Best Paint Sheen for Trim and Baseboards

Most painters recommend a semi-gloss sheen when painting trim and baseboard. It is not hard to see why. Think for a minute about how often you touch the trim around a door or how often you scuff the baseboard. These decorative elements get dirty, dirtier than the walls do. Painting them with semi-gloss paint makes them a breeze to clean.

What about the imperfections? Don’t they get banged up a lot? They are susceptible to damage, but their small size works in our favour. We don’t need the paint to hide the imperfections because they are already hard to see.

Best Paint Sheen for Ceilings

The most common sheen for ceilings is called “flat”. Ceilings come into contact with objects very rarely and do not need to be cleaned as often. The flat sheen hides imperfections well. It provides a nice contrast to the higher sheens on the walls and on the trims and baseboards. It is ideal for ceilings.

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