Which Paint Sheen Is Best for a Living Room?


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Your living room is an essential space that likely serves as a sort of Grand Central Station in your home. Because of all you ask of it, we think it deserves special attention and consideration as you plan the perfect paint job to complement your space.

While picking a color is definitely the most fun part, and can steal your attention almost completely, let’s take a look today at an equally essential aspect of the process: choosing your paint sheen.

What’s the Difference Between Paint Sheens, and Why Does It Matter?



Paint sheen refers to the level of gloss that a paint has, and ranges (in broad terms) from flat to gloss. Flat means that there is really no shine at all, and gloss, sitting on the other end of the spectrum, offers a deeply reflective surface.

What’s the real, practical difference? As you progress from flat to gloss, you also progress from the least durable to most durable finish. Knowledgeably choosing your sheen will help ensure that your new interior paint not only looks as it should, but also performs like you need it too as well.

Here’s a paint sheen cheat sheet to help better articulate the pros and cons of each:

  • Flat - Flat (or matte) finishes are extremely forgiving of blemishes, easy to work with, and can be touched up with ease. The downside is that the finish just isn’t very durable, and, being flat, it tends to absorb light rather than reflect it. Low-traffic walls can wear flat paint well, and ceilings, too.
  • Satin or Eggshell - Perhaps the most popular sheens, these two provide a nice balance between the forgiveness of flat paint and the shinier durability of higher-gloss options. You could consider either of these to be a fantastic go-to wall paint.
  • Semi-Gloss - Take the durability and shine to a new level. This finish is tough and easy to clean, but a little harder to work with and touch up down the road.
  • Gloss - This is typically reserved for trim, or other architectural elements you want to pop out. It’s a hard product to apply, and is very unforgiving of ANY surface imperfections, but it is bright and incredibly durable.

You also might find this quick overview from Sherwin-Williams helpful!


So, Which Is the Best Sheen for Your Living Room?

It really depends on your stylistic goals and the level of traffic your room experiences. In most cases, however, a satin or eggshell will do the trick nicely. It’s practical, attractive, sturdy, and it’s easy to maintain as well.

If you have any more interior painting questions, or are ready to discuss your Nashville-area project, we encourage you to contact us at Nash Painting. We can help you navigate every detail, ensuring that the perfect paint, color, and (of course) sheen is chosen to meet your needs.