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You’ve been wanting to tackle that painting project in the kitchen or the bedroom for months now and you’ve finally found the right color for your room. So what sheen should you go with for the kitchen? The bedroom? Does it even matter? Yes, the sheen of the paint can make a huge difference in your room or project! So here’s a quick guide to picking the right paint sheen for your next painting project. Paints are available in a number of different sheens. Before you select the sheen that you will use for your room, it’s important to understand the qualities that each one has to offer. Paints without a shine or sheen are referred to as flat or matte finishes. They diffuse the light reflecting off the paint– that is, the light bounces off the paint in many different directions, with little or no shine. A semi-gloss or glossy sheen reflects light more directly, much as a mirror reflects light, which will create a slight shine off the surface. Nearly every sheen can be used in any room of the house, but some are better suited for high-traffic areas than others. If the sheen you want falls somewhere in-between two styles, you can always mix them together to find a finish that falls somewhere in the middle. No- and Low-Gloss Sheens (Flat, Matte and Eggshell) Flat, or matte finish is frequently used in new construction and on ceilings because it hides flaws extremely well. Because it doesn’t reflect light directly, imperfections in walls and ceilings are much less noticeable. Flat finishes are ideal for use on new drywall that has an imperfect taping job or where porous joint compound has been applied. Eggshell, or low-luster, finishes are so named because the slight sheen they provide is similar in appearance to the surface of an egg. This slight sheen creates a soft, velvety finish. Satin sheens provide a slightly more reflective surface and are excellent at resisting mildew, dirt and stains, making them better suited to more frequently used rooms. They can withstand cleaning and light scrubbing better than flat or eggshell finishes. Flat/matte paint provides a smooth, elegant finish Flat sheens tend to absorb dirt and may be somewhat difficult to clean Keep extra paint on hand to touch up nicks and scratches in flat sheens Eggshell finishes are easier to wash than flat finishes and resist stains and scuffs Eggshell and satin finishes offer more depth and warmth Satin finishes can withstand moisture, making them ideal for kitchens and bathrooms Semi-gloss and Glossy Sheens Unlike lower-gloss sheens, semi-gloss and glossy sheens create a bright, shiny look. They are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. Glossy sheens do, however, show nearly every imperfection in a wall or ceiling’s surface, meaning it’s best to use them on walls with unmarred surfaces. Semi-gloss finishes offer high resistance to moisture, though they may suffer a little from sticking. High-gloss sheens are brilliant, reflective finishes that are ideal for highlighting trim, railings, shutters and molding. Glossier finishes may be used on ceilings, but be sure the ceiling has no imperfections prior to applying. Sheens with higher glosses brighten rooms Semi-gloss and glossy sheens can be scrubbed and are easy to clean Both sheens require more prep work and sanding to ensure smooth application Semi-gloss sheens may be used in kitchens and bathrooms Glossy sheens provide a look similar to plastic or enamel Here is a simple chart highlighting the differences between the sheens, and identifying the areas where they can be used. Sheen Things to Consider Suggested Rooms Flat/Matte Provides a smooth, subtle finish Camouflages imperfections Ideal for low-traffic areas Diffuses light Holds dirt and is more difficult to clean Rubbing with cleanser may burnish the finish Living room Dining room Bedrooms Ceilings Family room Hallways Eggshell/Low-Lustre Offers an elegant low-sheen finish Best for low-traffic areas Smooth surface More washable than flat sheens Living room Dining room Bedrooms Foyer Family room Hallways Kitchen Trim Satin Can be wiped clean Provides an elegant finish Ideal for more active rooms Extremely versatile May be used indoors or outdoors Family room Playroom Laundry room Kitchen Guest bathroom Dining room Children’s bedroom Trim Shutters Doors Semi-Gloss Can be scrubbed clean with ease Smooth sheen reflects light directly to create shine Ideal for high-traffic areas Easy to wash May be used indoors or outdoors Kitchen Bathrooms Cabinets Doors Trim Molding Hallway Gloss Can be scrubbed clean with ease Offers a smooth, high-shine finish Ideal for surfaces that require frequent washing Trim Woodwork Molding Doors Cabinets Kitchen Bathrooms Visit our online Paint Department for everything you’ll need for your next painting project.


Tip #2: Select your paint color at home Don't choose a paint color while standing in the paint store aisle. Bring home actual paint samples (many brands offer small sample jars) that you can apply to your walls. Paint these swatches next to cabinetry, flooring, countertops and any fabrics you plan on using in the space. Observe how the paint changes during the day and notice if any of your other kitchen materials are affected by light hitting the paint and reflecting onto the surface. For example, a strong red wall color may, at certain times of the day, reflect a pink hue onto white cabinetry or flooring.


Painting your kitchen walls is one of the quickest, and easiest ways to re-do a kitchen. Before you rush out and buy gallons of paint, think carefully about what your dream kitchen looks like. Experts agree that it's not just the color on the walls that determine how a kitchen looks and feels. How the wall paint color relates to the cabinetry, countertops, tiles, molding, appliances, lighting and flooring is very important. Before you buy paint, test sample swatches on your walls and observe how the colors look at various times during the day and evening. Bring all your color influencers into the room so you can see how the paint looks with all the various elements.


Scott Specker, who owns Five Star Painting of Suwanee in Cumming, Ga., has seen his fair share of issues caused by the wrong paint. Remodel TipPicking a paint color can be as important as picking the type of paint. For a look that won't ever feel dated, choose white. But don't confuse white with boring. Read More In Why White Kitchens Stand the Test of Time Picking a poor paint product, he says, can leave you with only two options: Paint or stain all over again, or deal with the ugly. Ugh.


Tiny Kitchen: You don't have to steer away from dark colors in a small kitchen. In fact, having a mix of contrasting colors can help the kitchen feel larger. Depending on your cabinet color, a strong paint like Rapture (4001-6B) has enough blue and red, as well as gray, to make it work with a variety of other colors. Adding rows of shelving and utilizing the kitchen's vertical space can help break up the paint while maximizing storage.


The amount of resins and binders is what gives paint its sheen, according to Sherwin-Williams.  More resins means a glossier and more durable paint finish.  Paint that has a higher amount of paint pigments (thus increasing the pigment-to-resins ratio) is flatter, duller, and less durable.


Designer Elizabeth Swartz, ASID, drew color inspiration for her own kitchen (that gorgeous yellow paint is California Paint's CAL #7263M, Sunspot) from Stangl Pottery's Fruit Pattern. "My aunt had this for her everyday china when I was a kid," says Swartz, "and I have great memories of wonderful family dinners with loads of cousins. I found a piece in an antique shop, started collecting it and built my kitchen color scheme around it." What favorite family objects make you happy? Look to them for a kitchen color that will keep you smiling.


If Your Kitchen Also Functions As An Entryway: If your kitchen serves as the main entry to the home, you'll want to be less conscious of the color and more aware of the type of paint you use. Be sure you select a paint designed for heavy traffic and can easily wipe down, like a semi-gloss finish. Texture is important too. A smooth wall will show marks faster than a more textured one.


The Icestone terazzo countertops in this kitchen by Massucco Warner Miller are made from recycled glass bottles that give the surface a sea-glass-like sheen. The cabinets were painted a pale turquoise to match. When attempting to match kitchen materials, remember that paint can always be tinted to coordinate with your countertop, cabinets or fabrics, so choose the paint last.


A quick refresh on paint finishes: Most paints offer your pick of sheen preference, from flat to high-gloss. In general, the flatter (or more matte) the finish, the harder it is to clean; the glossier (or shinier) the finish, the easier it is to clean! When it comes to kitchens, you definitely want a paint finish that can handle a little water, soap, and elbow grease. This makes satin or semi-gloss paint finishes a perfect choice.