What Are The Different Paint Sheens?

» Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog | 4 comments

What Are The Different Paint Sheens?

Paint sheen is simply the level of glossiness in paint. Sheen is the component of paint that helps either reflect or absorb light. There are five basic sheens to choose from: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss.

Flat Paint

  • Flat paint (also referred to as a matte finish) reflects about 5 to 10 percent of the light that shines on it. It has the ability to absorb light which usually makes it appear darker. Flat paints conceal wall imperfections and usually appears non-reflective with a smooth, matte finish. on the standard for most walls. It has the lowest sheen available and when it dries, it appears completely non-reflective with a smooth, matte finish. Although flat paint helps surfaces look smoother, because of its dull, pourous texture, it also easily absorbs dirt which makes it difficult to clean.


  • Eggshell paint reflects more light than flat paint, but it also has a smooth finish. It hides imperfections well and has a slight gloss that makes it easier to clean than flat paint.


  • Satin paint is a low-luster paint that falls in the middle of the paint sheen scale. It is more lustrous than flat and eggshell paint and adds depth to a room. Because of it’s medium-sheen, it is more durable and can be used for almost any wall in a home.


  • Semigloss paint reflects about 25 to 45 percent of the light that enters a room. It doesn’t hide imperfections well, but because of it’s glossy finish, it is very durable and easy to clean. It is usually used for trim or areas that receive wear.


  • Gloss paint is the highest gloss and usually reflects over 50 percent of the light in a room. Since it has a high-shine factor, gloss paint is rarely used for walls, but instead is used for trim, baseboards or areas that are susceptible to acquiring dirt or grime.

Understanding what the different sheens are will help you in determining which sheens are best for your home. For more direction, read our blog about which sheens are best for specific rooms of the home.

Call Bear Mountain Painting at 678-455-2887 for help with your painting needs. We serve Atlanta, Mableton, Druid Hills, Hapeville, East Point, Scottsdale, Conley and the surrounding cities of North Georgia.


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