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Paint Finish & Sheens 101

Sheens 101 Blog Post Title

Ready to paint the interior of your San Diego home but not entirely sure which sheen of paint to select for your upcoming project? Continue reading below to get a full breakdown of the most common sheens that are best to use in each situation!

Pro-Tip: If you live in a coastal town like Carlsbad, Encinitas, or La Jolla, consider using a higher sheen to combat the moisture in the air.

The fundamental guideline for sheens is as follows:

"The higher the sheen, the higher the shine - and the higher the shine, the more durable your paint finish will be."

The trick is finding the best balance between aesthetics (what sheen you believe best matches your room) and durability (how well your paint withstands moisture, oils, being cleaned, etc.)

Here's a quick breakdown of sheens from lowest to highest and their specific characteristics.


Flat paint is very matte with no reflective qualities or shine about it. It doesn't reflect any light and has a very aesthetic quality about it that many homeowners enjoy. This paint also covers flaws and imperfections in walls very well.

Best used in low traffic areas, adult bedrooms, ceilings, formal living spaces, and in homes where dogs and children are not constantly rubbing against the walls. Due to the lack of gloss, cleaning is much more delicate as there is no protective sheen in this paint.

Low Sheen/Eggshell

A step up or two up from flat, these Satin category paints offer more durability and protection than flat and will give your walls a slight gloss and subtly rich finish. Works well for halls, children's bedrooms, family rooms, and other areas in your home that may need slightly more protection. This sheen also works well for more open aired bathroom and kitchen areas that aren't trapping in moisture or grease when being used.


A higher sheen paint, this finish offers a tough stain resistant and durable finish to your walls. Commonly used for bathrooms, kitchens, kid rooms, rental spaces, doors, trim, and any high-traffic or moisture heavy areas in homes. This highly reflective sheen is a great protective coat that'll ensure your paint endures for years to come.


There are a multitude of other sheens available on the market, and each painting brand may label their sheens slightly differently, but the above three are the most popular and generally cover 90% of home sheen situations. If you live right on the beach in Encinitas, La Jolla, or another San Diego coastal town, you may want to consider using higher sheens to offer your homes walls more protection against the prevalent moisture. At SR painting, one of our most requested and recommended combinations is Flat for living spaces and Eggshell for bathrooms and kitchens.

If you'd like a free estimate for an upcoming project, you can contact SR Painting here and we'll be in touch with you very soon!

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