Paint Sheen – What are the differences?

Walls don’t stay perfect, but the choice of a paint sheen can either hide your wall’s imperfections or amplify them. “Sheen” refers to the amount of gloss in the paint. It might not sound like much, but it can drastically affect the texture of your wall and the overall effect on your space. We can help you choose a paint sheen that will best cover whatever your home struggle is, from kids coloring on the walls to bumps and scrapes along the way. The higher the sheen, the easier to clean.

Here are a couple of ideas regarding paint sheen

  • The lighter the color and the more flat a paint sheen you choose, the more it will hide most imperfections. This works great if you are looking to cover up some dents along the way.
  • The darker a color is and the more sheen or glossy paint you choose, the easier it is to wash. We at Local SD Painting recommend a darker and glossier paint color for those spaces that get dirty more often — or for where little hands and crayons can reach.

Paint Sheen – 5 to Choose From

Flat Paint:

Primarily used for wall or ceiling paint, flat finishes don’t reflect light, so they’re perfect for masking wall imperfections. Flat paints are also more difficult to clean than other finishes, so it’s best to use them in places less subject to mess (bedrooms, dining rooms, etc.). Kids and pets don’t always mix well with flat finishes.


Eggshell paints have a slight sheen and therefore reflect a bit more light than a flat finish, but are not highly reflective. They’re easier to clean than most flat paints, and slightly more durable, but not as durable as a satin finish or semi-gloss. This is a good choice for walls.


Satin paints are sometimes lumped in with eggshells, since they also have a light sheen, but they are slightly glossier than an eggshell finish. The subtle reflective qualities give walls a silky finish, adding just enough light to add a slight glow. Since they are durable enough to withstand most dirt and cleaning, they work well in high-traffic rooms (kitchens, bathrooms, kids’ rooms, etc.), and can also be used for trim.


Semi-gloss paints go on smoothly and have a nice gleam without being incredibly shiny. These paints are great for window casings, molding, baseboards, doors, and other trim. This is a paint sheen that is very easy to clean, and rather durable.


High-gloss paints is a paint sheen that will give your walls a shiny, lacquer-like finish. While these paints can have quite a striking visual effect, they will betray your wall’s every imperfection, so properly preparing the walls for a high-gloss job can be arduous. That said, these finishes are very durable, easily cleaned, and make quite a statement.

More About Paint Sheen

Sometimes a high gloss isn’t what you want. Sometimes the idea of a flat isn’t working for you. Thankfully, there’s always a happy medium.

Choosing eggshell as your paint sheen is probably one of the most popular ones out there (and no, it’s not a color like some people think — you can get any color in an eggshell sheen!) It’s got a healthy, muted gloss that is easier to clean than a flat, but not so much that it’s overly shiny. Because of it’s versatility, it’s a favorite for those spaces where you really need a little bit of the best of both worlds.
That’s a lot of information to take in. We at Local SD Painting are here to help you choose the right sheen and color, with our expert team we can pick the color and sheen that fits your project perfect. Making you say wow!

We aim for your satisfaction. So when its time for your project give us a call! (619) 586-5683

Don’t forget it will cost you nothing for us to come out and give you a free estimate.

Hope to see you soon!