The Art of Paint Finishes: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Sheen for Your Walls

December 28, 2023

When looking to revamp your home with a new coat of paint, choosing the right color is not the only thing to consider. The type of paint finish or sheen you choose is equally important, but often overlooked. This guide will help you navigate the world of paint finishes and select the perfect sheen for each surface in your home.

Understanding Paint Finishes

Paint finishes come in various sheens, each with its own set of characteristics. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Flat Finish: This finish is most commonly used on ceilings and low-traffic areas, such as closets. It provides a smooth surface and is good at hiding imperfections, but it is less durable.
  2. Eggshell Finish: This is the most commonly used sheen on walls, providing decent durability while hiding imperfections.
  3. Satin Finish: This is a versatile paint used for walls in commercial spaces and trim in residential spaces. The Satin sheen provides excellent durability and a subtle shine, making it an ideal choice for most trim.
  4. Semi-Gloss Finish: This finish is mostly used on trim and areas that require strong durability. In the past, this finish was commonly found on most house trims due to its durability and moisture resistance. However, in recent years, satin finishes have become more popular for these substrates. Nevertheless, Semi-Gloss finish can still be an excellent choice, especially when coating something that is exposed to direct sunlight. It will last longer than the aforementioned sheens.
  5. High-Gloss Finish: This is commonly used in high-traffic areas where durability and visibility are essential. We recommend it for drawing attention to specific locations, such as safety lines in warehouses or bollards in parking lots.

Choosing The Right Finish For Each Substrate

Selecting the appropriate finish for each surface involves taking into account factors such as lighting, intended use, and personal preference. These are our preferred options:

  1. Ceilings: A flat finish is suitable for this area. It doesn’t require much durability but it benefits from the finish’s coverage, which hides sheetrock seams and dust that accumulates from the ceiling fan that hasn’t been turned off for a few months.
  2. Walls: Using eggshell paint on walls can be a great option. It provides a subtle shine that enhances the appearance of your walls without creating a mirror-like effect. Eggshell is an excellent choice of sheen for most areas and is our top recommendation. The only other sheen that can outperform this traditional favorite is matte, which we will discuss in more detail below!
  3. Trim: Satin is the perfect choice for those who want to keep their doors, windows, and trim looking fresh for years without a plastic-like shine.

Current Trends In Paint Finishes

Stay ahead of the design curve by exploring some of these emerging trends:

  • Matte Finishes: Matte is similar to eggshell but with a slightly smoother look. It’s becoming increasingly popular for accent walls, particularly in dark colors, as it helps to create a modern and sophisticated look.
  • Tonal Finishes: This is a unique way to add a subtle pop to a room by using the same color in different sheens.


The art of paint finishes is a nuanced and personalized journey that can elevate your home’s aesthetic appeal. By understanding the characteristics of each sheen and tailoring your choices to specific spaces, you’ll not only achieve a beautiful finish but also enhance the longevity and durability of your painted surfaces. Whether you’re aiming for a timeless, classic look or a bold, contemporary statement, the right paint finish is the finishing touch that brings it all together. So what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate, grab your brush and start painting to see for yourself, or just call Rodgers Painting and kick your feet up as we paint your dreams into reality!