We’ve all heard the phrase: “there’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint”. It’s absolutely true! No matter if it’s completely repainting your interior, or just switching up the color of accent pieces, paint has the potential to completely change how a home looks.
After years of learning about paint and testing out every single finish, I now have a good feel for how I like my paint to sit on the walls. It’s crazy how much paint sheen can change the appearance of paint and I know there are some who aren’t making that decision until they get to the paint counter. Today on the blog, I’ll be chatting all about how to choose the perfect paint finishes every time!
Types Of Paint Finishes Available
Before I go into more specifics, it’s important to know all the options available to get your paint in. A general rule of thumb is the higher the sheen, the higher the durability and stain resistant. Sheen is defined as “a soft luster on a surface”, but in this case it is often used interchangeably with “shine”.
How shiny do you want your paint? That’s a personal question!
Here are the six types of paint finishes available in order of sheen:
Paint finishes are not just used for aesthetic purposes, but actually promote a lot of durability depending on your choice. The sheen within each finish will help to achieve an easy clean and minimize the appearance of scuffs. Shiny paint like a semi-gloss or gloss is much easier to clean because cloth and sponges glide over the surface like a dream!
Why would’t everyone choose a high-sheen paint?
Partially because the trend is a more neutral sheen on the walls and reserving high sheen paints to trim and doors. Lighting also a huge factor when trying to decide a paint finish. Rooms with bright lighting may need different paint finishes than those with more mood lighting. I know it sounds like a lot to consider, but my tried-and-true paint finish tips will make your trip to the store a breeze.
Deciding On The Perfect Paint Finishes
Flat & Matte
Flat and matte paint finishes are non-reflective (none to very little sheen) and perfect for low-traffic areas in your home. These two types of finishes are the hardest to clean, but the end result is a stunning velvet finish.
What’s great about both of these choices is how opaque the paint is, due to no sheen being put into the mix. It’s not very popular or common to do flat paint on the walls of your home because it can fall….flat! But of course, there are always reasons and personal prefrences to consider! There is nothing inherently wrong with flat paint, it’s just not something you see often.
My recommendations for where to use flat/matte paint finishes:
- Formal living rooms
- Dining rooms
Eggshell – My most used paint finish
Eggshell is the most versatile out of all the paint finishes available. It’s the perfect mix of not too much sheen, but just enough to provide durability. All the walls in my home are painted using an eggshell finish and I cannot recommend it enough. No matter the paint color selected, it always looks great.
My recommendations for where to use eggshell paint finish:
- Any and all walls
Satin is one step up from the traditional eggshell we know and love, but not so much I’d call it shiny. The finish is more pearl and works really well in rooms that tend to see a lot of wear and tear. That being said, it isn’t significantly more durable than eggshell.
My recommendations for where to use satin paint finish:
- Younger kids rooms
Semi-gloss is a stunning paint finish, but don’t let the semi in it fool you- it is glossy. I’ve loved adding semi-gloss finishing to all the trim in my home. The subtle contrast between a more muted eggshell and shinier semi-gloss is just stunning.
My recommendations for where to use semi-gloss paint finish:
- DIY furniture projects
Last but not least, gloss is the shiniest paint finish available out of the options. I really only recommend this paint finish for unique projects, but not on large areas in the home. If you’re interested in a special piece with a little extra drama, gloss may be the way to go!
My recommendations for where to use gloss paint finish:
- Special projects
Still Not Sure What Paint Finishes To Choose?
After all these options, it still can be difficult to choose paint finishes that you completely love. My advice for you: when in doubt, choose eggshell for the walls and semi-gloss for the trim. I’ve never once regretted using either of these in my home- they wear and look fantastic!
Do you have a favorite paint finish? Please let me know in the comments! And to keep up with everything on the blog, check out my recent posts: