Q: We plan to soon repaint several rooms in our house. Do you recommend flat paint, satin or a semi-gloss sheen?
A: The choice of paint sheen depends on the room in question. Paints with flat sheen are non-reflective, so they tend to conceal imperfections in walls and other surfaces, and they help to make uneven surfaces appear more uniform. Flat paints are a good choice for ceilings and for rooms and spaces that aren’t exposed to moisture or heavy soiling (bedrooms, home offices, living rooms). Being very reflective, high-gloss paints tend to highlight imperfections in walls and woodwork, but they are durable and stain-resistant—and much easier to clean than paints with less gloss. High-gloss sheen is ideal for windows and trim, children’s rooms and playrooms. Paints with semi-gloss sheen are a smart compromise between the two sheen extremes, providing some of the benefits of each. They can be used on the walls and cabinets of kitchens and baths. Additional sheens include eggshell and satin, which are less “shiny” than semi-glass paints so they won’t highlight nicks and imperfections quite as much, but since they have a little gloss, they’ll be easier to clean than flat paints.