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What Paint Sheen Will You Choose?

September 18, 2022
High Gloss

Walls are the background of our homes.  For decades builders applied a knock-down texture when finishing the drywall.  It is an easy way to finish a wall.  Today we see that texture for what it was, a cover-up for potential uneven drywall application.  The result was an uneven surface.  There are better ways to finish our walls.  Either a hand trowel or smooth finish are used in high end finishes.  Before you change the paint color, consider hiring an accomplished drywall finish contractor and updating your walls.

Matte finish

Once the walls are smooth, a level 4 or level 5 finish has been applied, the next decision is the choice of the paint.  This discussion, however, is about the sheen, not the color.  Color choice can be driven by the sheen, and that contributes to the look, feel and durability of paint.  As always, lighting choices contribute to the success you wish to achieve.  Sheen describes the amount of light that is reflected off the walls.  It affects our perception of the paint color.  Dark glossy finishes look lighter than their matte counterparts because they reflect the light.  Light glossy finishes skew brighter and sharper.  The intensity and direction of the light source factor in as well. Matte colors tend to look darker viewed from an angle or in low light.  They can also look quite flat when viewed straight on and only seem lustrous from an angle.  Glossy finishes can look mottled if the surface has imperfections, which is a factor in the finish.

High Sheen

Flat finishes are trending today, except for those dramatic spaces that highlight high gloss paint.  The traditional concern is that flat paint does not wear as well as an eggshell finish.  Quality paint companies, such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Farrow & Ball produce matte paints that do stand up to the daily rigors of family life, so do consider those products.  Also, consider varying the sheen of the paint depending on the light in a specific space.