Different Kinds of Interior Paint Sheens

In simple terms actually just refers to how glossy the paint tends to be. But, it can be a very important factor when picking out paint for certain interior painting for your rooms in your home. It’s important to note that the glossier your paint is, the shinier it’s going to be. It also means that it reflects light a lot easier the glossier it is.

We’ll try to help you understand the different sheens and where they’re best used. If you don’t really care about the gloss, that’s okay too. If you are more concerned about just sprucing up the place, there’s nothing wrong with using the same sheen for the entire house. But if you’re looking for creating a certain mood or effect, or you are concerned about high-traffic areas, then knowing more about sheens is for you. What’s important is that you find a sheen that you really like and can live with once you’ve finished painting. But if your home is one that has children and pets, then you may seriously want to look at a variety of sheens for different rooms.

Different Interior Paint Sheens

Below you’ll find a quick reference chart that shows the different sheens and the rooms that they work in the best. We’ll give more in depth descriptions below the chart here.


Requirements: Kitchens are often one of the most busiest of rooms in the home with all the cooking and family gatherings. This room generally has a lot of messes, grease, and other activity related incidents.   Recommendations: High-gloss or semi-gloss works well in this room.


  Requirements: This is another room that will often see a lot of traffic and will need more cleaning than others. You need a paint that’s somewhat durable and easy to clean.   Recommendation: Satin finish.


Requirements: This is probably a room that has a lot lower traffic than other rooms in the home so there’s less need for durability and easy to clean walls.   Recommendations: Eggshell finish.


Requirements: Unless it’s a kids room, the bedroom is one with very low traffic so it doesn’t require a paint that is super durable or one that needs the walls washed often.   Recommendation: Flat or matte finish.


Requirements: This is definitely a room that has more traffic than others and this means there’s going to be more wear and tear than some other rooms.   Recommendation: Semi-gloss.

High-Gloss Paints

We often recommend that you use a high-gloss paint for your kitchens, doors, and your windows. All of these will see a lot of traffic and touching. High-gloss paint is definitely the most reflective of paints and they help to brighten up a room. This type of sheen is also extremely easy to clean when compared to the other sheens and stains won’t seep into the paint as easily as they will with other sheens. Fingerprints and smudges can be easily wiped off that’s why it’s good for doors and windows.

Semi-Gloss Paints

When it comes to semi-gloss, it does have some of the same good benefits as the high-gloss, but it’s just not quite as shiny. This type of sheen can be versatile and it looks great in almost any type of light or shade. It’s easy to clean and we recommend using it for bathrooms, because it holds up good against humidity. You can also use it in your kitchen if you don’t like high-gloss. It’s a good sheen for trim work as well.

Satin Paints

This sheen is probably one of the more popular paint choices and it can fit a good variety of applications and look great. You can easily clean satin however, you can’t scrub it like you can high-gloss and semi-gloss. Since you can’t scrub it off we recommend that you use a satin paint in places that may need just occasional cleaning. This type of sheen is best suited for family rooms, foyers, and kid’s rooms.

Eggshell Paints

This type of paint doesn’t reflect light and are more subdued. They are more difficult to clean. But they still tend to be popular for interior paint. We recommend that you consider using this type of paint in rooms that don’t have a ton of traffic and don’t need a lot of cleaning. This paint works well for dining rooms and sometimes in the living room depending on it’s traffic. You should try to avoid areas that get a lot of hand prints.

Matte or Flat Paints

This paint fits in the latex class of paints and it lacks any luster at all and it makes for a good paint to paint a quiet and private area such as adult bedrooms or a den/study.

There really are no set in stone rules when it comes to picking a sheen for a certain area in your home. In the end, it’s up to you and what will work best for you in whatever room you might be painting.