I love to talk about how paint is a wonderful and inexpensive way to update your home. It’s probably the easiest way to change style and feel of a space, the power of paint is pretty magical. There is more to consider than color when it comes to paint, including paint finish for trim, walls, ceilings, etc.
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When choosing paint, it doesn’t just come down to paint color brand, but one must also consider paint sheen. I get a lot of questions about the different sheens I use and what sheen is appropriate where. Let’s talk about all the different paint sheens and where they are best used.
Here’s A Quick Preview and then we will get into each category a little later.
- Interior Doors-Satin or Semi Gloss
- Trim & Baseboards-Satin or Semi Gloss
- Bathroom Walls-Satin
- Exterior Walls/Brick-Satin
- Exterior Trim-Semi Gloss
- Exterior Doors-Semi Gloss
What Are The Different Paint Sheens?
There are 6 different paint sheens, let’s explore them all further.
Flat paint is just like it is described, Flat. There is little to no sheen. It gives a matte finish to wherever it is applied. This sheen is best for hiding imperfections. If the walls are damaged or textured, this is a good choice of sheen. The con to this sheen is it is not very wipeable at all so it’s hard to clean.
Matte is similar to Flat, but it has slightly more sheen. It has a touch more durability and washability, but still not as high as other paint sheens.
Eggshell is Aptly named because this finish looks very much like the sheen on an eggshell. It has roughly more sheen than flat or matte, but looks very similar to Flat. Eggshell is much more wipeable which is a bonus for Eggshell.
Satin is up next after Eggshell. It is a slightly higher sheen than Eggshell with a little more gloss, but not too reflective on the wall. The higher sheen we get, the more light it reflects and the more imperfections will show. It is still very easy to clean!
Semi-gloss is really glossy. This sheen is really great for high traffic areas that need regular cleaning. It reflects light back into the room so it could brighten up the room a bit too.
High Gloss is the full monty of gloss and sheen. It has extreme durability and washability. The shine on this sheen is really strong and it reflects the most amount of light.
The Best Paint Sheen For All The Places
Here are the best paint sheens for trim, doors, walls, ceilings, baseboards, cabinets, etc. Another note is that the type of paint is more important than the sheen. If the paint is poor quality, the paint finish won’t matter.
The Best Paint Finish For Ceiling
The best paint finish for ceilings is Flat. Flat paint does not reflect light which is something you don’t want from a ceiling. Most ceiling paint is only available in a flat finish. Ceilings can also be textured so the flat will be great at hiding the imperfections so the ceiling doesn’t clash with your walls.
The Best Paint Finish For Trim, Doors, and Molding
The best paint finish for trim is Semi Gloss or Satin. Satin has the durability and ability to be cleaned like the semi-gloss, but it is way less reflective. In old homes, (yall know how I feel about old historic homes) semi gloss is usually what you will find and why I used semi-gloss in my home to mimic that.
The Best Paint Finish For Walls
Most people prefer Flat, Matte or Eggshell on walls. I have used Satin on walls before and that worked well too. You need to take your lifestyle and how the things will be used into consideration.
I have young children so the eggshell gives me the flat finish with the option to clean it if I need to because…children.
If you have textured walls, I would go with the flat or matte because it can hide the texture and make it look more like a smooth surface where as eggshell will show. This would be the same if you have damaged walls for any reason.
Say you have an desire to do color drenching, where your ceiling, trim, walls, doors, moldings, and everything is the same color. Especially if using a dark color, I would use Flat or Matte for your walls. If you have kids you can still use Eggshell for walls, Semi Gloss or Satin For Trim and Flat for ceilings.
The Best Paint Finish For Cabinetry
Satin is typically the best paint finish for cabinetry. This includes cabinetry in a kitchen or bathroom. I have seen some cabinets in kitchens with semi or high gloss and they are too reflective and shiny for me. It reminds me of those glossy uber modern cabinets from Ikea. Not my style.
Certain brands have specialty paint that is meant for cabinetry that doesn’t have a sheen, but have enamel in the paint to make it durable, have low shine, and really easy to clean.
The Best Paint Finish For Exterior Doors
The best paint finish for exterior doors like your front or back door is Satin finish. Satin is a great choice since the door is outside in the direct sunlight, it will reflect a little light, but not so much that it blinds you walking up to it. It will also keep dents and scratches hidden pretty well while still being easy to clean.
The Best Type Of Paint To Buy And Where To Get Samples
Here is a list of paint that is quality paint that I use often for all of my painting projects:
- Sherwin Williams Super Paint
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Line
- Sherwin Williams Cashmere
- Benjamin Moore Regal Select Line
- Benjamin Moore Scuff-X
If you want to get a paint sample to test out on these various surfaces, try samplize! It is a company that delivers real paint samples direct to your door! The pros for using this over a sample from the hardware store are:
- Mess Free
- Real paint samples
- right to your door
Some things to remember about Paint Finishes. There are 6 ranging from Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi Gloss, and High Gloss. They start at the lowest luster for reflecting light and appearing glossy and go up from there. The paint quality also is important when choosing your paint color and sheen.
Just remember what kind of uses your surfaces will be used for and decide from there the best paint finish to fit your life and family. It may look different for everyone.