Picking the color for your room is only half the battle.  Paint comes in a variety of different finishes – that’s what determines their shine and sheen, and can be the reason why that white paint you bought from the store doesn’t match the white paint that was already on your walls.

Different finishes provide very different looks – and it’s just as important to get that right as it is to make sure your colors don’t clash.  There are a few primary categories of finish to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Flat Finish

Flat finishes have no sheen whatsoever.  They soak up, rather than reflect, light.  That makes it an exceptionally forgiving finish – imperfections and joints are hidden with flat finishes, rather than highlighted.  It’s well-saturated pigment, as well, meaning less paint can cover more of your wall.

The downside is that it’s not a very durable finish.  It needs to be cleaned carefully, as excess scrubbing can remove the paint from your walls – obviously, something to avoid.  That means flat finishes are best used for ceilings or low-traffic areas, as well as rooms that simply do not require extensive cleaning.  In order words, think bedrooms and dining rooms, not family rooms.

Eggshell or Satin Finish

One step up the luster scale from flat finishes are eggshell and satin finishes.  Eggshell is basically a flat finish with subtle luster added – like an egg, hence the name.  Satin adds a bit more luster, but not as much as you would get from full glossy paints.  Both avoid the sometimes chalky appearance of a flat finish and the sheen of a semi-gloss.

As you go up the gloss scale, you get less forgiving – a satin finish will reveal bad roller or brush strokes, for example.  In return, however, you get more durability – so rooms that require more cleaning, like the kitchen, are better suited for eggshell or satin finishes than flat finishes.

Semi- or High Gloss

Atop the luster scale are the semi- and high-gloss finishes.  These paints are shiny and light-reflecting – semi-gloss practically glows, especially when contrasted with a flat finish, while high gloss is almost appliance-paint tough.  Both are durable enough to handle high-use areas – and will show every imperfection made when applying them.

It’s rare that you would paint an entire room in semi- or high gloss.  The kitchen or bathroom, perhaps, is an option, but even then, eggshell or satin might be a better choice, depending on your situation.  However, doors, cabinets and wood trim are great places for high-gloss paint, providing glow and reflecting light, adding to the feeling of space, and generally highlighting your highlights.

To pick the right finish for your job, trust the experts at Premier Painters!  With over 20 years of experience, we’ll help find the best look for your home.