Paint Finishes: Everything You Need to Know

I have had to STOP departing residents from attempting to touch up walls in the rental home they are vacating - they may get the color correctly; however, they rarely get the FINISH right

Paint Finishes: Everything You Need to Know

We NJ Home Stagers often suggest painting in neutral colors when selling. However, with all the different paint finishes it can be very confusing. The following is a guide to help you choose the the right paint finish to support the function of your spaces:  


Flat Paint is best suited for walls and ceilings.

Satin paint is best for walls in high traffic areas such as busy hallways, or in rooms that have higher moisture like kitchens and bathrooms.

Pearl paint is a good choice for rooms or products that will get a steady amount of handling or moisture.

Semi-gloss paint is best for kitchen cabinets, baseboards, base molding, door casings, crown molding and other trim. The higher sheen will not only help emphasize architectural characteristics but also makes cleaning easy.

High-gloss paint will emphasize every flaw on your walls, ceiling or furniture, but does an excellent job of reflecting light and is easy to clean.  Only use this when the surface on which it will be applied is perfect.

High-sheen paint will highlight  imperfections on walls. A flat finish will be more forgiving of wall imperfections since it will be more absorptive and less refractive of light.

Dark colored ceilings create intimacy in rooms with exceptionally tall spaces like cathedral ceilings.

Ceilings painted in a high-gloss finish will appear higher than it really is and increase the sense of space in a room because it will take the light entering the room and bounce it back to the eyes of the viewers.

To make a small room appear larger, keep color contrast to a minimum. Whether using a dark, medium or light color palette, a monochromatic approach will reduce visual breaks and increase the perception of space.

When painting an accent wall, it’s better to change the color at an inside corner versus an outside corner for a more dramatic look while keeping the color of the paint integrity intact.

I hope this list makes shopping for paint a lot less confusing!

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Comment balloon 1 commentWallace S. Gibson, CPM • April 23 2013 03:32AM
Paint Finishes: Everything You Need to Know
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