This is an older post, but I thought since I have received so many questions from readers lately about which paint finish is best to use where, I thought I would post again:
I seem to get asked quite a bit, which paint finish/sheen should be used on the ceiling, walls and trim. Here are a few quick and easy ways I use to remember paint finishes:
* Paint finish means the same as paint sheen.
* Another way to think of sheen is to think of amount of shine your want.
*Types of sheens include Flat, Matte, Eggshell Enamel, Satin Enamel, Semi-Gloss Enamel and Hi-Gloss Enamel.
I have narrowed it down to only three finishes to remember that you will ever need for 98% of the time: Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss.
* Flat and matte are exactly the same finish/sheen. You only need to remember Flat.
* The flat sheen is low on reflectivity and has the least shine. That means your flaws are hidden on rough and uneven surfaces.
* The best place for flat paint is on the ceiling, where less reflection is a plus.
* As it name implies, it has the same sheen as an eggshell.
* Eggshell is a bit more reflective than flat, but not shiny. It is the most popular finish.
* An eggshell finish covers wall imperfections well. The sheen cleans more easily than a flat finish.
* An eggshell sheen is what I suggest for interior walls.
* Semi-gloss is a semi-shiny finish that wipes clean easily. Semi-gloss is what I recommend for all trim, kitchen and bath cabinets, moldings and doors.
Satin/Pearl is the most confusing sheen terminology for consumers. This finish falls in between eggshell and semi-gloss. They are rare times you might wish to use, but I rarely ever recommend.
Gloss- A shiny finish/sheen used for that lacquered look on furniture:
And that’s it! Easy to remember- Flat, Eggshell or Semi-Gloss. The higher the sheen, the higher the shine — and the higher the shine, the more durable it will be.
There are no set rules for how certain paint colors look in each finish; that decision is totally up to you!