Let’s Talk Sheen!
Not like Charlie or Martin Sheen! Sheen is the amount of shine or glossiness of a paint finish. Let me get the technical stuff out of the way with an apology that you may not need to know this.
There IS a difference between gloss and sheen but often they are used interchangeably. Gloss Is the reflective value at 60 degrees and sheen Is 85%… stay with me (if you want!) so “shine” is determined by the angle you are looking at the wall. Do you feel better knowing that little tidbit?!
The other fun fact, which I just found out, was that Canada (where I live and the opinions, I have are based on that) families tend to like less “shine” on our walls compared to our lovely southern neighbours. I find this fascinating!!!
The general rule of thumb is the shinier something is the more noticeable it is and the trickier it can be to get a nice even looking finish - lower sheens in general are just more forgiving.
There are 4 basic categories with flat at one end of the spectrum and gloss on the other with everything else in between.
Some people say if you don’t like a sheen mix two gallons of paint with two different sheens together to get an “in between” sheen… Don’t do it… that is a recipe for disaster if you ever need to buy some touch up paint.
That having been said the shine in a paint can range from flat to gloss.
Flat isn’t washable but great for ceilings.
Then we have matte (a flatter paint that can be washable and sometimes scrubbable) and are great to hide imperfections on walls.
The eggshell category consists of eggshell (the shine you would see on an eggshell), satin, pearl, low gloss, low sheen and the shine varies with all of them.
Semi gloss is what people typically use on their trim and doors.
Gloss is great for pianos and cars as it shows every imperfection on a surface.
It can get a little overwhelming with so many choices, but most professionals are happy to answer your questions so that you can get the shine that is right for you.