Paint Sheen levels – what’s the deal?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on this blog writing about paint colours for walls and trimwork, but I’ve never touched on sheen levels, which can have a huge impact on the results of your painting project. So, here we go…..

Paints come in a variety of sheen levels from matte to gloss and a few in between. Here’s some insight into the differences and the reasons behind my preferences.

Matte (or flat) is the sheen level I use 99% of the time on interior walls. Matte paint will give your walls a velvety look, especially under soft lighting. I find matte paint gives the room a warmer, cozier, more inviting feel than any other sheen level.

Matte paint also hides wall imperfections very well, since it tends to absorb light as opposed to reflect it, so it’s ideal if you live in an older home where the walls are typically plaster or if you’re not great at repairing damaged walls.

A myth about matte paint is that it’s not washable, which is why most people opt for asatin or eggshell finish. In my experience, I have found that a high quality paint such as Regal or Aura from Benjamin Moore, is very washable once it’s had time to fully cure.

A high qulaity paint will also tend to not fade over time and when you do wash it, you won’t see the streaks that are left behind on an inexpensive paint.

As a side note, don’t “cheap out” on the paint. Trust me. If you buy an inexpensive paint, you will find you have to recoat several times to get the coverage you need and the paint is simply not durable enough to withstand fading and washing. You’ll be repainting within a year.

When it comes to trim, I tend to use an Ultra White  satin finish. For me, white is not an option, it’s the only option. White trim will unify your home and tie all the room colours together.

Alot of people will use a high gloss sheen on their trim, which I would tend to agree with if your walla are eggshell. I find that the contrast between matte walls and high gloss trim is a bit too much and a satin or pearl finish on the trim blends well with the matte walls.

I’ve found that satin trim washes well and stands up over time.

If you’re looking for jmore ideas and information, Benjamin Moore has a fanmtastic website full of tons of useful information and on line tools to help you. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and I have often “bounced” ideas off of them and been given ideas I hadn’t thought of.

I’ll spend some time in a future post on some of the different paint brands I recommend and use on a regular basis.

For now, I hope this has been of some help.

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One Response to Paint Sheen levels – what’s the deal?

  1. Pingback: Paint- It’s about the Sheen « Vicki's Home Contracting Help

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