What kind of paint finish to use and where

When it comes to choosing the right kind of paint finish you should first educate yourself on the many different types of sheens.  I remodel homes in San Antonio, Texas and most of my clients don’t know what kinds of painting finishes to use and where.  Flat and matte paint finishes have no real sheen when the paint has dried. Rather than reflect light, flat and matte paint finishes absorb it. Both paint finishes are good for hiding small surface imperfections and good to use for novice painters. Flat and matte finishes are good choices for interior walls in rooms that receive little traffic or for painting ceilings. Both paint finishes are generally poor choices for kitchens, baths, and kids’ rooms because they do not wash as well as other paint finishes.

An eggshell paint finish is similar to a matte finish but has a tiny amount of sheen to it when dried. It is a good choice for interior walls and washes slightly better than flat wall paint. Eggshell paint finishes are sometimes interchangeable with matte paint finishes in certain brands of paint.

A satin paint finish is often recommended for any room except the kitchen and bath. It is not a high-gloss finish, but does have a smooth, velvety shine to it when dried. Satin paint finishes do not hide imperfections in surfaces or application as well as the previous finishes, but they are forgiving enough for novice painters to use. A satin paint finish will reflect more light than eggshell and is a great choice for kids’ rooms and trim as it stands up well to washing. Semi-gloss and high-gloss paint finishes are at the other end of the spectrum and reflect the most light of any paint finish when dried. Semi-gloss is a great choice for kitchens and baths as the finish can stand up to water and frequent cleaning better than other finishes. Many people also choose to paint trim with semi-gloss paint for the same reasons. High-gloss paints are not generally popular choices for walls, but many people choose gloss paint for painting furniture, especially for a modern look or durable paint finish.

Choosing the right interior paint finish is mostly a matter of personal preference; just remember that the higher the sheen, the more durable the paint is in the face of frequent traffic and washing. Keeping in mind the use of the room you are painting will help you to select the right interior paint finish. Also, different stores call finishes by different names. For example, a local hardware store might call a matte finish a satin finish. If you get confused, just ask the person behind the counter for help or ask your contractor if you are planning to paint or remodel your home.  When we are choosing paint for a home remodel, we always paint a few color samples on the walls to make sure the customers like the color before we paint the entire room.  Sometimes a color looks completely different on the actual wall than it does on the color deck.
Happy painting!