Paint sheen levels explained – everything you need to know

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When selecting a overgarment for your adjacent decorating project, arsenic good arsenic the color, it’s captious to take the close sheen level for the surface, the country and the wide effect you privation to create. 

Paint comes successful varying sheen levels and the higher the sheen, the higher the shine. So, if you privation a truly level looking partition for instance, you request to spell for a matte oregon level emulsion. When you privation thing super-shiny, it has to beryllium high-gloss. The different happening to carnivore successful caput is that the shinier and much sheen a overgarment has, the much durable and hardwearing it volition be, arsenic good arsenic much reflective too. Paint finishes tin person conscionable arsenic overmuch of an interaction connected a country arsenic the color, truthful it is important to marque an informed determination erstwhile trying to bring your paint ideas to life.

‘As good arsenic selecting your cleanable colour it is important to see the overgarment finish,’ confirms Ruth Mottershead originative manager astatine Little Greene. ‘Are you looking for a matt, chalky decorativeness oregon a precocious sheen gloss? The aboveground you are coating volition besides find your choice, as different surfaces person differing requirements. Sheen level, similar color, is truly a idiosyncratic preference. I emotion the luxurious matt decorativeness of Absolute Matt Emulsion, arsenic it appears particularly affluent and sumptuous successful darker shades specified arsenic Obsidian Green, Pompeian Ash or Lamp Black, arsenic its level matte finish affords a existent extent to the colour owed to the subtle texture of its chalky surface.’

Helen Shaw, manager of Benjamin Moore agrees, ‘Sheen, oregon overgarment finish, is simply a measurement of however overmuch airy is reflected from a painted surface, resulting successful gloss – oregon a deficiency thereof. Different levels of sheen tin impact however colors appear, however overgarment finishes look – and adhd magnitude to rooms.’

Paint sheen levels and wherever to usage them

‘There are respective cardinal overgarment sheen levels, ranging from matte (low sheen) to gloss (high sheen),’ explains Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands. ‘In the mediate are eggshell and satin, some mean sheen, and semi-gloss (mid to precocious sheen). A matte overgarment sheen lacks the reflective qualities of its glossy counterparts and is champion for hiding imperfections, portion shinier finishes are much resilient and washable arsenic good arsenic an casual mode to adhd benignant to walls, cabinets, furniture, trim and woodwork.’

To assistance you find which sheen is champion for your adjacent decorating project, here’s a breakdown of what each sheen level means:

High gloss

This is the astir durable and easiest to cleanable of all. It’s super-shiny and reflects airy truly well. As it’s truthful tough, it’s the cleanable prime for woody architectural trims specified arsenic skirting boards, step rails and model frames arsenic good arsenic cabinets and doors and metal, too. Don’t beryllium tempted to usage it for interior walls and ever hole your aboveground well, arsenic gloss volition amusement up each imperfection.

Semi gloss

Gloss paint is simply a large overgarment decorativeness for rooms with moisture specified arsenic kitchens and pulverization rooms arsenic good arsenic architectural trims, this highly durable overgarment combats grease and humidity.


For a overgarment decorativeness with luster that isn’t excessively shiny, satin paint is much of a velvety overgarment that’s casual to cleanable and perfect for precocious postulation areas specified arsenic surviving spaces, entryways, children’s bedrooms and playrooms. It tin beryllium tricky to interaction up if immoderate scuff marks bash hap but it’s a large all-rounder. Use for woodwork and metal.


Lying determination betwixt satin and sheen, eggshell paint is named aft a chicken’s ovum arsenic it has a akin look. This is simply a level overgarment with nary sheen and it tin beryllium utilized to fell blemishes connected walls oregon woodwork. It’s not arsenic hardwearing arsenic gloss oregon satin but works good successful surviving areas and eating spaces arsenic good arsenic bedrooms.

When it comes to choosing betwixt satin vs eggshell paint, the main happening to carnivore successful caput is that eggshell has a little sheen than satin, which means it is duller and person to a level oregon matte emulsion. 

Matte emulsion

The astir fashionable prime erstwhile it comes to decorating interior walls, matte emulsion soaks up airy alternatively than reflecting it, truthful it provides bully sum and hides immoderate imperfections well. It’s not that casual to cleanable however, unless you spell for a specializer easy-clean emulsion. Use successful kitchens, pulverization rooms, surviving spaces and bedrooms.

Flat matte

This 1 is adjacent flatter and reflects adjacent little airy than matte truthful colors look stunning and walls volition look adjacent and smooth. Use successful each rooms for an instant refresh.

How to take the cleanable sheen

When you privation a dark, melodramatic colour without the shiny finish, spell down 1 connected the sheen scale. The richer the color, the much colorant it has, which increases sheen. Also carnivore successful caput that the much sheen a overgarment has, the much immoderate imperfections volition amusement up.