Do you stutter when the paint clerk asks you what kind of sheen you’d like on your paint? It’s ok. We’ve all been there. And I’m here to help.
I’m a mean, lean paint sheen queen.
We’re in the first week of a month long “back to basics” series. Myself and some wonderful DIY and home decor bloggers are sharing some great info that every DIY’er and home enthusiast should know. Each Monday in September, hit us up here at The Heathered Nest, and then make your way over to 11 Magnolia Lane, Being Bianca, House by Hoff, Southern State of Mind and This is Our Bliss to see what they have on tap. Not to be confused with the ever popular (so I’ve heard…from others) “bar crawl”…this is the even more intoxicating and invigorating DIY “BLOG-CRAWL“. *This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy here.*
So today on this little DIY blog, I’ve decided to chat with you guys about sheen…
Nope, not THAT kind of Sheen. Paint sheen. And like most things in life, nothing is simple. Same goes with paint. You can’t just walk into Home Depot or Lowe’s, pull a can off the shelf and come home and slather it on your walls. That would be nice, but you have to plan a LITTLE bit, at least. Beyond the color, which is the biggest hurdle, you will also have to pass the “sheen test” not to be confused with a “screen test”, which is much more daunting, or “house arrest” which wouldn’t be good, either. No, the “sheen test” is that moment when Mr. Paint Counter Guy looks at you and says “What sheen would you like?” Do you know how to respond?
I’ll give you some potential answers in multiple choice form:
A. “Grande half-caff, 3 pump, no-whip, no foam soy vanilla latte extra hot, please”
B. “I’ll take Paper. Plastic is bad for the environment.”
C. “Give me a combo #5 with diet coke”
D. Interior flat, with primer
Let’s discuss each choice:
If you answered A: Seriously, dial back the drink deets, dude. You sound like a tool.
If you answered B: I applaud your environmentally-savvy-ness. But this is incorrect. P.S. what about your re-usable hemp grocery tote, smarty?
If you answered C: The whole ordering food by number thing kinda freaks me out, so I got nothing for you here, except to say, this answer is incorrect.
If you answered D: DING DING DING…you get the shiny (high-gloss) gold star for the day. You are painting royalty.
Besides the shiny or dullness of the paint, sheen also factors into durability and clean-ability.
Higher the sheen or shininess = More wipe-ability/washablity/durability of the paint.
For homes with little kids, if you’re choosing between flat and eggshell, typically err on the side of one step UP the sheen scale. I rarely ever use flat paint in my home. The ceilings are the one exception to that rule. I always use flat for my ceiling paint. Mouldings are on the other end of the spectrum. I always choose semi-gloss for my interior mouldings. This works great, especially for baseboards. Let’s face it, those get dingy and dusty, and being able to scrub those down is a big plus. Semi-gloss helps them clean up nicely.
Lastly, let me mention imperfections. If you’re anything like us, and have an affinity for buying older homes…perhaps houses with plastered walls instead of drywall, for instance…choosing a paint that can hide the bumps and waves and wonkiness of your walls will be a plus.
Flatter the paint/less sheen = More coverage of imperfections.
If you’ve got funkadelic, wavy gravy, lumpy bumpy walls, err on the flatter side of the chart. I wouldn’t go higher in sheen than an eggshell with wonky walls. Your eye will end up drawn to every imperfection.
If given the choice on my walls, I usually pick an eggshell, or even a satin. In our foyer, pictured above, we used a satin. I love how it plays with the light and gives off a little shimmer. Flat can be so blah and boring. More sheen to me makes a space more visually appealing, especially when you’re going with a neutral hue like a gray, greige, beige or white. If you are going for a bold color, then you probably don’t necessarily need more sheen to give any more visual interest…it’s already there in your color, if that makes sense.
And that’s about all you really need to know about paint sheen, guys…
These are the three questions you need to ask yourself before you head to the paint counter. If you know how much shine you want, how cleanable/durable you need the paint to be, and whether or not the walls you’re painting have few or a lot of imperfections, you’ll be able to pick the right sheen, every time. So clutch that paint swatch confidently and walk right into Home Depot or Sherwin Williams or Ben Moore and you boldly order that gallon of glory…and do it with gusto.