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Choosing a Painting Sheen Type

Your choice of paint sheen has a big influence on the way your colors will look for your next Calgary painting project. Matt or gloss can be a styling choice, but the choice can also be a practical one: matte paint hides little irregularities, and high-gloss makes them come out. On the other hand: high-gloss paints are the strongest paints, and with the right preparations they give the most durable results.

When selecting a paint sheen, several factors should be taken into consideration such as your colour selection, durability and look. If you have small children, pets or your project is a revenue property then going with a higher sheen such as egg shell or even satin would be a good choice for durability and cleaning.

If you are looking at style over practical then matte and low sheen is the way to go, especially if you have selected darker colours. Low sheen in darker colours do not reflect light so your colour will appear more rich in large rooms or stairwells that receive a lot of natural light.

This example shows a medium green in a satin finish. As you can see it reflects a lot of light. Using a low sheen would have been a better option for aesthetics in the room so you see the colour and not the glare.

satin sheen

In this example another green has been selected using a low sheen product. As you can see there is minimal light reflection which enhances the colour.



In addition to how the paint will look with a different sheen, colour difference should also be taken into consideration as a different sheen will affect the darkness of the colour. Simply, the more sheen, the darker the colour will look. Therefore if you are picking a darker colour to match accessories, the colour will be different if you select a matte finish over a gloss finish.

This picture is a perfect example of how sheen affects the paint colour. This decorative stripe affect has been accomplished by using the same colour in a matte finish and a semi-gloss finish.  The colour is the same colour code, only the sheen type has changed.

sheen types

Sheen can be a personal or practical choice depending on your lifestyle and durability and should be taken into consideration before picking your colours and painting your project.  When picking a sheen the following should be your project guide. Sheen is always discussed with Calgary Painting Company WallNuts at your on site quote.


Types of Paint Sheen and Applications

  • Flat – Provides a smooth look and hides surface imperfections. An ideal choice for living rooms, dining rooms, dens and home offices. Perfect choice for dark, rich colours. Not practical for children, pets and income properties.
  • Eggshell – Has a soft, washable sheen that looks great in living rooms, dining rooms, dens and home offices.  Will reflect light for darker colours such as reds, greens and blues.
  • Satin – Offers a slightly shiny appearance that holds well to washing. Use in heavily trafficked areas, such as hallways, kid’s bedrooms and playrooms. Will produce a glare in high light areas.
  • Semi-Gloss – Has a higher sheen level than satin, but not as shiny as gloss. Use in kitchens and bathrooms or on trim and windows.
  • Gloss – Highest sheen level. Perfect for use on doors, cabinets and trim areas that are washed often.

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