Paints, Sheen and Spaces: A how-to guide by Painters in Austin


At Painters in Austin, we define sheen as the glossiness of a paint finish. Glossy and flat (or matte) are typical extreme levels of glossiness of a finish. Glossy paints are shiny and reflect most light in the mirror-like direction, while on flat paints most of the light diffuses in a range of angles. The gloss level of paint can also affect its apparent color. Between those extremes, there are a number of intermediate gloss levels. Their common names, from the dullest to the most shiny, include: matte, eggshell, satin, silk, semi-gloss and high gloss. This might seem like a lot to take in at the first go, especially with the kind of paint variety available on the market, but we’re here to help walk you through this process. At Painters in Austin, we bring a curated range of paints that suit your taste and the space. What are the principles behind curating a range of paints based on their sheen and functionality? Read on to find out!

When beginning your painting project, you’ll want to consider the sheen of the paint – or the gloss level. The higher the gloss level, the shinier the appearance and the more scrub-able the finish. Accordingly, different types of sheens can be ideal for different areas of your home. Here are some general recommendations to help you navigate your sheen options by project:
a) Flat or Matte sheens are ideal for low-traffic areas such as formal dining rooms and master bedrooms. They provide a beautiful finish, with little to no shine, and are ideal to hides minor surface imperfections. Flats/Mattes can be used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms where fingerprints, scuff marks and stains are less likely to be an issue.

  1. b) Eggshell paints are more washable and scrub-able than a flat or matte option. They have a slightly lower sheen than satin but offer a similar level of durability. Eggshell paints are ideal for living rooms, bedrooms and family rooms with more traffic and fingerprints since they can be wiped clean more easily.
    c) Satin paints go a step further than eggshell in wash ability and scrub ability, providing a nice balance: a practical choice for easy clean up, but not too much shine. They perform and look great in just about any room.
    d) Semi-gloss paints offer maximum durability. They are commonly used in children’s rooms and high moisture like bathrooms, as well as for trim and doors. Great for active families with kids and pet; but take note – the higher sheen does highlight wall imperfections more so than a lower sheen will.
    e) High-gloss paints are highly reflective and work well for highlighting details, such as trim and decorative molding. They are also the best choice for doors and cabinets – or any area that sees a high volume of abuse. A beautiful high impact finish, at its best when used on a well prepped surfaces.
    f) Ceiling flats are designed specifically for ceilings. These are extra spatter-resistant, have no sheen and are the best finish to hide surface imperfections. Now that you know what sheen to use, it’s time to choose your Product.

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