How to Choose the
Right Paint Sheen

If you’re not a seasoned painter, thinking about the different types of paint sheens will likely make your head spin. How are you supposed to know what kind of paint to choose? What’s the difference from one to the other?

How to Choose the Right Paint Sheen

We’re here to help simplify what can be a very confusing and overwhelming decision! Finding the right paint sheen for your project, and understanding what it looks like in the end, is easier than you think. Let’s dive in:

Flat and Matte:

You’ll want flat or matte paint for low-traffic areas, like formal dining rooms, ceilings and bedrooms. The reason for this is that this type of paint can easily get dirty, so you definitely don’t want to use it in a spot where fingerprints (we’re looking at you, kids!) might find their way onto the surface.


Eggshell is perfect for moderate traffic areas, like living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and hallways. This paint will offer a slight sheen, and is washable. It’s also more forgiving of wall imperfections than matte, and has a smooth appearance.


If you’re painting a high-traffic area, then you will likely want to choose a satin finish. Rooms like family rooms, children’s bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are great candidates for this paint. And since satin doesn’t allow water to absorb, it’s good for moisture-prone areas (with showers and baths, as an example.)


If you want to take the sheen up a notch from satin and you’re painting a high-traffic and high-moisture area, then you should consider semi-gloss. Rooms that might benefit from this paint include kitchens, bathrooms, trim, doors, and cabinets. Any dirt or mess that ends up on these walls will be easy to clean. 

High Gloss:

Since high-gloss paint is easy to wipe down, it’s ideal for trims, doors, cabinets, furniture, and accents –all of those busy, high-touch areas around your house. This paint is long-lasting, has a polished look, is extremely durable, and of course, reflects lots of light. 

Not sure which paintbrush to use for your job? Take our Brush Quiz to get the perfect brush for the project.

Don’t forget to tag Zibra on social media when you post pictures of your gorgeous new bathroom. Use @zibrapainting and join our mailing list to learn more tips and tricks!

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