FYI – Spring Painting 101 What is paint sheen and why does it matter?
The sheen of the paint is the level of reflective light that can be seen when looking at the painted surface from an angle. The following are the various paint sheens available today:
Flat: The matte finish of a flat paint looks especially good on drywall and plaster. While it hides surface blemishes, flat paints are prone to show scuffs and grime and they are harder to clean. Ceilings are a good place to use a flat sheen.
Eggshell or Velvet: Eggshell is often used in place of a flat finish for walls since its surface is washable and more resistant to smudges. Some manufacturers now create a velvet finish, a lower-sheen cousin to eggshell that’s growing in popularity.
Satin: A satin finish is ideal for children’s rooms since they’re easy to clean up. It’s also good in bathrooms, kitchens and exterior applications. Excess moisture beads up in the surface instead of being absorbed into the paint.
Semi-gloss: This finish is good for woodwork and trim, when you want to set it off from a low-sheen wall. Some people like to use semi-gloss paint on kitchen walls since it’s durable and can be cleaned up easily. But keep in mind the higher the sheen, the more imperfections you’ll see.
Gloss: Gloss is best used when you want a dramatic shine on floors, woodwork or a dark accent wall. Smooth surfaces can appear like “plastic” when coated in a gloss finish, so use with caution. Be sure to get samples of your paints before you purchase – though the types of sheen may have universal names, the actual sheen levels can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Source: Lori Weiss Ward