Different Sheens of Interior Paint

Interior Painting | March 23, 2021

There are many different sheens of interior paint available, each with their own unique qualities. Though these differences can appear minor or insignificant, they can have a substantial impact on the look and feel of a room. Understanding the unique qualities of various paint sheens is important for choosing the sheen that best suits your needs, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. At Dunbar Painting, we offer complete interior painting services for all types of homes. Our team will perform a thorough assessment and provide recommendations on suitable paint sheens and other important elements.

Learn more about how to choose the right paint sheen.

Interior Paint Sheens and Common Uses

With the help of the experts at Dunbar Painting, choosing the right sheen can be a stress-free and simple experience. Though paint sheen is largely based on preference, there are several practical aspects that make particular sheens more common in certain areas of the home. The most common types of paint sheens include:


This type of paint does not reflect light at all, resulting in no sheen. Flat paint is more forgiving of flaws in a surface as it masks imperfections by allowing more pigment to come through. That being said, it is also more difficult to clean than glossy paint. A flat sheen is often used for ceilings and walls for low-traffic spaces.

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A matte sheen is similar to flat, but it is not completely shine free. Matte paint provides excellent depth of colour and has a smooth feel after proper application. Unlike flat paint, a matte sheen can withstand more frequent washing. This makes it suitable for high-traffic areas including walls, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.


Eggshell is nearly shine free and easy to clean. It reflects more light than flat and matte sheens, but not as much as semi- or high-gloss sheens. Eggshell paint is suitable for high-traffic walls in dining rooms, bedrooms, and living rooms.

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Satin paint is a medium-gloss option that grants depth to trim while remaining easy to clean. Satin paint is also great for high-traffic walls, doors, and cabinets, but is more susceptible to showing flaws such as lap marks.


Semi-gloss paint is luminous and reflective, making it a great choice for highlighting details within your home such as trim and kitchen cabinets. It is easy to clean, but also difficult to apply without flaws.

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A high-gloss sheen offers a mirror-like finish that reflects light exceptionally well, especially for lighter colours. It is highly durable, easy to clean, and stain resistant, but also the most difficult to apply properly.

Regardless of the sheen, it is important to ensure that the paint is applied carefully with a roller or sprayer. This is especially true for satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss sheens. A poor or rushed application can result in a gritty texture, uneven finish, and numerous blemishes. To guarantee the best possible result, reach out to the experts at Dunbar Painting.