I love the versatility of paint–the wide array of colors, choice of finishes and ease of application. When moving into a new home, the first project is to remove all of the wallpaper throughout the house and paint every room. Paint is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to change the entire look and feel of a room. In one afternoon, you can take your living room from a subtle, peaceful retreat to a bold, energetic space.
My husband has become accustomed to coming home from work to find that a room has been painted a different color. After painting several rooms, I realized that certain paint finishes and glosses perform better in some areas more than in other areas. The type of paint finish and the level of gloss is what you should use to determine the type of paint you chose for a particular area. Each paint finish has specific characteristics that make it ideal for use in certain rooms of your home. In addition, the gloss level, which is tied to the paint finish, also plays a part in making a paint finish suitable or unsuitable for a particular area. Once you learn the characteristics of paint finishes, you will have no problem choosing the best paint for your project–other than picking out the color of course.
Simple guide for choosing a paint finish and gloss
There are between four and seven typical paint finishes depending on the brand of paint and the source of information. However, four standard paint finishes are available in just about every brand of paint on the market.
Flat paint or matte paint provides a low gloss finish that hide imperfections on a surface. Flat paint has an almost velvet finish and adds a rich texture to paint color. The other benefit of flat paint is that you often only need one coat to cover a surface. However, flat finishes are not durable and cannot be washed due to the porous nature of the paint. This also makes flat paint unsuitable for kitchens, bathrooms, or high traffic areas. Flat paint is only suitable for homes that do not have a lot of activity, formal living rooms, formal dining rooms, adult bedrooms, and for painting ceilings.
Satin or eggshell paint
Satin paint, also referred to as eggshell, has a subtle gloss that makes it more cleanable than flat paint so it can be used in areas with more traffic. Because of the sheen, satin paint makes small areas appear larger so it is ideal for small bedrooms. You can use satin or eggshell paint in bedrooms, hallways, living rooms, and family rooms.
Semi-gloss paint is an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens because it is more resistant to dirt and can be cleaned easily. It also performs well in higher humidity rooms than flat or satin finishes. The finish is exactly as the name implies so the gloss does not hide imperfections as well as a flat or eggshell finish. However, for areas that need regular cleaning, semi-gloss paint is a good choice–i.e. kid’s bedrooms, playrooms, hallways, doors, trim, and windows.
High-gloss or gloss paint has the highest sheen making it very shiny. Gloss finishes are also extremely durable, cleanable, and stain resistant. Unfortunately, because of the high sheen, gloss paint shows every imperfection on a surface and often leaves a smooth surface looking almost plastic. Even though you can use a gloss paint on bathroom and kitchen walls, it looks best when limited to trim, windows, and doors.