A board painted with blue swatches of different types of paint.

Choosing the right paint sheen for a room depends on how much traffic or moisture that area of the house gets. In rooms where lots of people might be hanging out—or in areas that might get wet—you’ll want to pick a durable paint finish that can handle frequent cleaning. For quieter rooms in the house without a ton of activity, go with something less durable but gives you easier coverage.

High Gloss

A High Gloss finish is great for cabinets, doors and window trim where surfaces can take a lot of abuse.

Glossier paints reflect light so they can pick up all the imperfections on a wall. That means you might need to spend more time sanding and prepping to get your surface smooth. The pay-off is that glossy finishes stand up to every day life. Another quick rule of thumb to remember is that the glossier the paint, the easier to clean.


Satin is great when you still want a scrub-able wall without that super shiny look. This paint packs high durability with a lower luster but is still easy to clean scuffs and bumps. This type of paint is perfect for your family room, hallway, foyer or kid’s room.


Eggshell has just a bit more luster than Flat or Matte paint finishes which should only be used in rooms that are kid- and klutz-free zones like your dining room, guest bedroom. A touch of luster makes this almost-flat finish great for rooms that get occasional dings and scuffs.

Flat and Matte

Flat and matte formulas have more pigment in the paint, which means these paints can often cover a wall in one coat and hide more flaws The tradeoff? Instead of pulling out a sponge, you’ll be pulling out your touch-up brush for scuffs and marks.

Flat paint is also a good choice for ceilings because it hides imperfections by soaking up light, rather than reflecting it.

No matter which paint finish you go with, just remember to consider all the factors before diving into your DIY project.