Find the right sheen for every room in your house
Just as different rooms call for different decorative schemes and furniture,
so too do they require different types and colors of paint. While choosing the
color of paint is largely an aesthetic decision, choosing the paint sheen
requires both style and practical considerations. Sheen refers to the amount
of light that paint reflects from its surface. Choosing the sheen that best
suits a given room depends on what the space is primarily used for and how you
want the walls and ceilings to look. The following questions will help guide
you to a greater understanding of paint sheens and how to select the right one
for every situation:
Sheen Type, Recommended Applications and Primers
Oil and latex paints are available in a number of different sheens. Prior to selecting one, it’s important to understand the qualities that each one has to offer. Paints without a sheen, referred to as flat or matte, absorb light while paints with a semigloss or glossy sheen reflect light. Nearly every sheen can be used in any room of the house, but some are better suited for high-traffic areas than others. If the sheen you want falls somewhere in between two styles, you can mix them together to find a finish that falls somewhere in the middle. Prior to applying paint, you may need to use a primer, or an undercoat, to prepare the wall, ceiling or other surface to more effectively receive a coat of paint.
No- and Low-Gloss Sheens: No- and low-gloss sheens absorb light more than they reflect it. Flat, or matte, finish is frequently used in new construction and on ceilings because it hides flaws extremely well. Because it doesn’t reflect light, imperfections in walls and ceilings are much less noticeable. Flat finishes are ideal for use on new drywall that has an imperfect taping job or where porous joint compound has been applied. Eggshell, or low-luster, finishes are so named because the slight sheen they provide is similar in appearance to the surface of an egg. This slight sheen creates a soft, velvety finish. Satin sheens provide a slightly more reflective surface and are excellent at resisting mildew, dirt and stains, making them better suited to more frequently used rooms. They can withstand cleaning and light scrubbing better than flat or eggshell finishes.
Semigloss and Glossy Sheens: Unlike lower-gloss sheens, semigloss and
glossy sheens reflect light, providing a bright, shiny look. They are both
durable and aesthetically pleasing. Glossy sheens do, however, show nearly
every imperfection in a wall or ceiling’s surface, meaning it’s best to use
them on walls with unmarred surfaces. Semigloss finishes offer high resistance
to moisture, though they may suffer a little from sticking. High-gloss sheens
are brilliant, reflective finishes that are ideal for highlighting trim,
railings, shutters and molding. Glossier finishes may be used on ceilings, but
be sure the ceiling has no imperfections prior to applying.
|Sheen||Description and Points to Consider||Recommended Rooms|
Primer: Primer paint is used to pave the way for finishing paints. There are a number of reasons to use primer. If primer is not applied to wood, plaster or drywall prior to painting, the surface may soak up more paint in some areas than others, creating a blotchy pattern that will force you to spend more time painting and apply more paint to even things out. Primer also helps paint adhere to the wall or ceiling more easily. Stain-killing primer/sealers both prime and seal surfaces with water stains or knots in raw wood surfaces. They may be water, oil or shellac based.
Tint Base: When selecting paint, take its tint base into consideration. Tint base is used to form the foundation for a specific color. It helps determine how tough paint is and how well it can resist dirt and stains. It also dictates how well paint holds up under tough scrubbing.
Colorant: Colorant determines how much paint will fade over time. Colors such as white and brown tend to fade less than bright greens and yellows.
Cleaning/Durability: While there are some exceptions, it is generally the case that the shinier a finish is, the more durable and easier to clean it will be.
Quality: High-quality paints tend to have higher pigment levels, which allow them to cover a surface more thoroughly with fewer applications. They also possess more resins, which lend paint greater durability.
Brushes, rollers and pans will help immensely in applying a new coat of paint.
Sandpaper will help you prepare surfaces while drop cloths and tarps will keep furniture and floors safe from drips.