Picking the right paint sheen or finish for your project is critical.  Most people enjoy picking the actual color of the paint; that is the flashy, fun part.  However, there is a technical and equally important aspect to paint.  When choosing your paint, you must also be mindful of its sheen.  There are several “levels” of sheen for you to consider.  When deciding, consider carefully the project and the area of your home that you will be painting.  Paint sheen varies from flat to high gloss.  This week we will explore flat, matte, and eggshell finishes.

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choosing the correct sheen

Paint that has a flat finish has zero to five percent gloss.  Such paint has a flat “surface” that does not reflect light.  We generally use flat sheen paints on ceilings and walls of more formal rooms.  Keep in mind that this kind of paint is usually non-washable, and the manufacturers actually advise against cleaning it.  So you would not pick a paint with a flat finish for a child’s nursery or a kitchen.

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matte sheen for ceiling

Using this type of paint on ceilings works since we rarely touch ceilings.  It also works for formal rooms that are not used very often.

A matte finish paint contains about five to ten percent gloss.  This type of paint is durable.  If you use a matte sheen paint, your walls will not be glossy but will look flat and won’t reflect much light.  This paint can handle light cleaning, but for an area that may require heavy cleaning, you want to steer clear of this type of paint.
You have often heard paint sheen described as ‘eggshell’.  This is one of the most popular paint finishes.  This is a durable paint finish with a ten to twenty-five percent gloss.  Even at twenty-five percent, this finish has a low sheen and gloss akin to that of an eggshell, hence the clever name.  We generally apply paints with this eggshell finish to walls.  As you have probably guessed, eggshell paints clean up better than flat or matte finishes and can endure moderate levels of cleaning.  Often, people will choose this paint on living room, bedroom and dining room walls.
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matte finish

I hope you have found this short tutorial about no and low-gloss paint sheen to be helpful.  If you have any questions about your painting project or would like an estimate, send us a “Get a Quote” form or call us at (508) 740-6212.
Be well,