Paint Technology and Trends


29 March 2019

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen

Colortek provides a full range of paints that go from Flat to Gloss with Velvet, Eggshell, Satin and Semi-Gloss finishes in between. At first glance, paint sheen seems a minor design consideration — especially compared with color. But picking the ideal sheen for a paint job involves important visual and functional considerations. 

If you are confused about how to choose the right paint for your project, then you have come to the right place, because we will help you understand and choose the right finish.

For those of you in a hurry and just want to do a quick makeover, we will sum it up like this: Flat, eggshell and satin paint are best for interior walls, whereas semi-gloss and gloss paint are best for trim and woodwork. You cal also check the quick cheat guide below for our most recommended products!

If you do have time, then read-on because understanding the little details can transform a simple room in that perfect abode you are dreaming of.

/ Striking a flat note: Velvet and Flat

Velvet and flat paints (the latter also known as matte) are low-sheen with a non-reflective finish that touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections. In a visual sense, these finishes effectively "smooth" walls that are dented or rough. And, since flat finishes actually deflect attention from surfaces, flat paints are a great choice for ceilings or other surfaces you want to downplay. They work best in low-traffic areas, interior walls and ceilings.

Unfortunately, stains are often difficult to remove from flat finishes. Unlike paints with higher sheen, a non-reflective, flat paint finish has a porous texture, which can trap dirt and result in burnishing when scrubbed or rubbed. However, there are some notable exception to this rule – Colortek’s Resipsafe is formulated with a technology that forms a smooth continuous paint film. This technology not only locks in the colorants, it also provides superior resistance to staining, burnishing, and water-streaking or -spotting, and ultimately provides superior washability.

  • Practical application: adults’ bedrooms and other interior rooms that won’t be roughed up by kids
  • Products: Colortek offers a very wide range of flat paints ideal for contract jobs or high-end use, depending on the nature of the project and the budget you are allocating.

For a quick job on site, use Colortek C1C, our ultra-high opacity paint. But if you are looking for a high-end, ultra safe paint for your children's rooms, be sure to check Respisafe, our ultra-low VOC, formaldehyde abatement paint that also anti-bacterial, burnish resistance and crack-bridging properties. We also highly recommend Speedceil, a paint specifically formulated to get a perfect finish on ceilings.

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen

/ Glossy Finishes

Aesthetically speaking, Glossy finishes draw attention to a given surface, especially indoors. They are ideal to provide contrasting finishes and a feeling of depth. To achieve that 3-D feel, consider using gloss paint on the trim in a room that has been painted with a flat paint. Also consider using gloss finishes to help architectural features pop – such as entry doors or trim around ornate glasswork.

Higher-gloss paint finishes can also help brighten dark spaces. Under most common lighting conditions, a combination of semigloss sheen and light-colored paint is an optimal wall covering method to brighten a dark space. (The reason a high-gloss sheen should be avoided in this situation is excessive glare. A dark space requires a lot of artificial lighting, and high-sheen walls catch and reflect all that light.)

As a practical matter, high-sheen or glossy surfaces are typically easier to keep clean. These paint formulations traditionally produce the toughest and most stain-resistant finishes – that's why high-gloss finishes are common in bathrooms, high-traffic areas and kids' rooms.  Be mindful though, these finishes will also highlight the smallest flaws. If the intention is to hide or downplay a space, high-sheen paint should be avoided, or you should make sure your walls have been properly leveled and smoothed with our high-end surfacing fillers


  • Practical applications: kitchens, door, and window trims.
  • Products: Colortek provides water based enamels that will give you that smooth hard finish typical of enamels paints without the smell and fumes of solvent based formulations.

Your go to products when it comes to glossy surfaces are Acrygloss, our water based glossy enamel paint, and Acryplus, the semi-glossy option and an all time favorite of those working on doors, window trims and furniture. For optimal results, apply them in multiple thin coats, rather than one thick coat, or even better, use aan airless spray for a perfectly smooth finish. 

/ Halfway there: eggshell and satin

Satin paints have a sheen that is between semigloss and flat paints. With a slightly higher sheen than eggshell finishes, paints in this category are warmer and provide a greater appearance of depth than flat paints. They also resist stains better than flat paints. Their soft pearl-like appearance, makes them a great choice for painting moderate to high traffic areas or areas that have some exposure to moisture, such as kitchens or baths.

Eggshell, or low-luster, finishes are so named because the slight sheen they provide is similar in appearance to the surface of an egg, Unlike flat paint, eggshell bounces light around the room while resisting the inevitable stains and scuffs of everyday life.

  • Practical application: Kitchen, family rooms, foyers, hallways, kids’ bedrooms
  • Products: Cosheen (eggshell) and Hygiene (Satin)

Hygiene also has the added benefit of being an anti-bacterial paint that inhibits germs and mold growth in sensitive areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen
Choosing the Right Paint Sheen

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