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See all Interior paint how-to »

How to Choose an Interior Paint Sheen

Skill:  Novice DIY'er

When choosing a paint sheen, it's important to consider the area you are painting. Types of sheens include Flat (Matte), Flat Enamel, Eggshell Enamel, Satin Enamel, Semi-Gloss Enamel and Hi-Gloss Enamel. Each offers its own distinct benefits.

For Best Results:

A handy sheen guide is available on the BEHR Color Solutions Center display in The Home Depot, so you can see a sheen example before you choose.

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Step 1

Choose your sheen based on how much traffic the area receives.

Flat (Matte) is a low-sheen paint with a easy-clean, non-reflective appearance that's ideal for low traffic areas and ceilings.

Flat Enamel has a low luster appearance and is great for low to moderate traffic areas, such as bedrooms.

Eggshell Enamel has a soft, velvety appearance and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas such as living rooms.

Satin Enamel if you desire a pearl-like appearance, and are painting moderate to high traffic areas or areas that have some exposure to moisture, such as kitchens.

Semi-Gloss Enamel if you desire a sleek, radiant sheen that is great from cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas and high-moisture areas.

Hi-Gloss Enamel creates a brilliant, shiny appearance with a glass-like finish. This is great for high-use surfaces.

If you're using Semi-Gloss or Hi-Gloss Enamel, apply multiple thin coats, rather than one thick coat, to achieve the smoothest finish.