Choosing The Right Finish When Painting Your Home

You want to re-paint your home but maybe you don’t know where to start? Or, maybe you do have painted a few times but could use a little help. Either way, here is some advice on picking out the right finish for the room you are painting.

You may hear it be called finishes, sheen level, or shine level. Regardless, they are all the same when it comes down to it. There are certain areas in your home that may require a higher sheen level. Then there are some areas that do not require a higher sheen level, but rather a low one.

Our first question is where your are paint and what you are painting. Those answers will determine what sheen level you will need. As you go up in sheen level, Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss, the wash ability and scrub ability go up, meaning they tend to be stronger. So we will go through each sheen level and tell you where they would be best applied.


CONCEALING Most, if not all flat paint will be applied to your ceilings in your home. Reason being you typically don’t have to worry about scrubbing your ceiling because it’s not exactly something you can reach in most instances.

Where to apply: ceilings, dining room, living room, closets

Eggshell & Satin

EASY MAINTENANCE Your eggshell finish will be applied a majority of the time in your living spaces along with the hallways in your home. So the living rooms, maybe a den and so on. The hallways are pretty self-explanatory, but if you do not have the best of lighting in your hallways, and want it to pop a little bit more, my recommendation would be going to a satin.

Using a satin finish gives you more of a shine than the eggshell, and is more durable. With that being said, you should think about places in your home that may need a little bit more of a durable paint. You can use a satin in a bathroom, kitchen and even a garage. As I’ve said before, you will be able to wash this a lot easier or scrub harder on those things that may end up on your walls. It’s also nice because it doesn’t pop like a semi-gloss or gloss would, and if you were looking for something like this, it would be the perfect fit.

Where to apply: high-traffic areas


DURABILITY When it comes to using a semi-gloss, you want to think of surfaces that might get banged against, or a high traffic area where it is susceptible to being damaged. A strong finish that is typically used on kitchen cabinets, trim around your home and doors and other woodworking that you may want to do. I would always tell my customers for cabinets that this finish is the way to go if you have children. We were all young at some point, and we’re not necessarily easy on objects like that.

Where to apply: trim, woodwork, cabinetry


HIGHLIGHT As for using a gloss finish within the home, it’s not widely used. A majority of the time when thinking of a gloss finish, it is on old furniture that needs some touching up. Which in most instances from what I’ve experienced has been outdoor chairs that sit on the decks and patios of homes. Gloss finishes deliver the highest level of shine and durability.

Where to apply: doors, trim, other architectural elements

Although this is just some of the basics of getting started on your house for painting, I hope it does help you when the time rolls around and you want a new look. Obviously everyone has their own opinion on what finishes they want where, and that is perfectly okay. If you are not sure about doing it on your own, or want more in depth advice, I would stop by somewhere with paint and pick their brains for more details. If you don’t want to paint your home at all by yourself, then I would recommend finding a contractor because they will be able to take you step by step through the process of what will be done and what is best.