Choosing the Right Paint Finish

Most people put allot of time and effort into choosing the perfect paint colour for their house, it is a big decision as often we will be looking at it for the next 10 or so years! But what allot of people dont really think about is the type of finish they would like to use. This is also a very important part of the decision making process as different finishes of paint can each have completely different outcomes. There are five main selections to choose from: Flat, Low Sheen, Satin, Semi Gloss and Gloss.


Flat paint has a matte finish and is particularly great for concealing any minor imperfections or bumps on a wall as it does not reflect any light. Usually used on ceilings as they are rarely perfect, also, as it has no light reflection, the eye is not drawn to it, after all who wants all the attention drawn to the ceiling? Walls are definitely usually where you want the eye to be drawn to, and usually this is where the most effort has been put into colour selection. Flat paint generally doesnt hold up very well to cleaning, while you can still wipe off any grubby prints, it may leave a slight mark.

Low Sheen:

Usually used on walls as it reflects little light, therefore is still provides a little leeway for everyday knocks and bumps. Low sheen paint has the most variety in paint selcetion when it comes to different qualities for different purposes. For example: Dulux Wash and Wear is specifically designed to easily cleaned and wipe-able, therefore great for families who like to make lots of mess with sticky little fingers! Whereas Dulux ‘Kitchen and Bathroom’ while still designed to be easily cleaned, is also designed to hinder the growth of mould spores in places most susceptible to it. If you have a fairly dark bathroom with little air flow then this would be perfect, as this kind of environment is perfect for bacteria and mould growth!


Satin finish has a smooth velvety finish with slightly more gloss than the low sheen. Most commonly used on doors and frames, some people can still choose for it to be used on walls as it provides even more of a cleanable surface or even light scrubbing. Again, bathrooms, kitchens or kids bedroom walls. a satin finish will show up more imperfections in the walls as low sheen though, so any knocks, bumps and holes will be highlighted by that extra light reflection!

Semi Gloss:

Semi Gloss should always be recommended by any professional painter to be used on bathroom ceilings. Generally bathrooms are a little too small to be worried about minor imperfections catching the light, and more concerned about the dreaded mould and ease of cleaning.  As you may have realised the far, the more sheen in the paint, the easier it is to clean. Also used on Doors and Frames, to highlight the area and make it stand out from the walls.

Full Gloss:

Most commonly used on Doors, Frames and Skirtings and Trims. Gloss will make any surface ‘pop’, due to its high level of sheen, it reflects allot of light, therefore will highlight any detail in the surface to be painted. All surfaces need to be meticulously prepared as first of all, any imperfection will stand out, and also if not prepared correctly, the paint could just peel right off.