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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, 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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  1. Step 1

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

     

  2. Flat is a low-sheen paint with a non-reflective finish that touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections. It's ideal for low traffic areas, interior walls and ceilings.

  3. Matte has a low luster reflective finish that is durable, easy to clean, touches up well, and also hides minor surface imperfections. It is great for low to moderate traffic areas, such as bedrooms, and interior walls.

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

  5. Satin Enamel has a soft pearl-like appearance, and is a great choice for painting moderate to high traffic areas or areas that have some exposure to moisture, such as kitchens or baths.

  6. Semi-Gloss Enamel has a sleek, radiant appearance that is great for cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas, and high-moisture areas.

    TIP:
    If you're using Semi-Gloss Enamel, apply multiple thin coats, rather than one thick coat, to achieve the smoothest finish.
  7. Hi-Gloss Enamel creates a brilliant, shiny appearance with a glass-like finish. This is great for high-use surfaces.

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