What is the Best Sheen for Interior Walls?

Painting interior walls is the perfect way to customize a space and make it your own, whether you’re just moving into a new home or you’ve been wanting to update your walls for a while. While you may enjoy the thrill of picking out the perfect paint color for your interior walls, did you know that the most important decision lies in the paint finish and sheen that you choose?

This can make or break your results and affect the longevity and quality of your paint job. The real question is, what sheen is best for walls? Read on as we dive into choosing the best paint finish and sheen for interior walls based on the location of the walls in your home and your unique needs. 

Different Types of Paint Finishes and Sheens

You may think that all interior walls and surfaces are created equal and any paint finish and sheen will work, but that is actually not true. It’s important to note that a paint sheen is the level of light that will be reflected off the finish. 

The best paint finish for walls is different from the best paint finish for ceilings, entrances, or bathroom walls. The reason is that each surface must withstand different elements and requires different levels of durability and cleanability. Plus, different sheens look different in various areas of your home and on various surfaces. 

Some paint finishes and sheens are easy to clean, while others make every speck of dirt or imperfection stand out. Therefore, it’s important to know the different types of paint finishes and sheens and what they’re best used for. 

The five types of paint finishes and sheens to consider when painting interior walls and surfaces are:

  • Flat and Matte- little to no sheen
  • Eggshell- lower sheen, in between flat and shiny
  • Satin- medium sheen, less glossy than semi-gloss
  • Semi-gloss – higher sheen, will reflect a reasonable amount of light
  • High-gloss- very high sheen, dramatic light reflection

What Sheen is Best For Walls?

When choosing a paint finish and sheen for your interior walls, the most important thing to consider is the type of paint being used. Premium paints are more durable, washable, and scrubbable in comparable sheens than lower-quality paints.

Consider where the paint is going and what your needs are. For interior walls, we typically recommend different finishes and sheens based on your needs in the different spaces around your home. 

Flat and Matte Paint Finishes

For homes with uneven walls or large two-story walls with big windows and tons of light, we recommend either a flat or matte finish. A matte paint finish will have slightly more of a shiny finish, but it will still be fairly flat. Flats have little to no sheen and hide the most surface imperfections. However, they tend to be the least easy to clean. 

Eggshell Paint Finish

For medium-traffic areas that are prone to dirty fingerprints from children, crayon marks, etc., such as living rooms, entryways, hallways, and bedrooms, you need a stain-resistant finish that is easy to wipe down, such as eggshell. 

Satin Paint Finish

If you are painting an interior wall in your kitchen that is prone to grease and splatters, you need a finish that is durable and easy to clean, such as satin. Satin is also a great option for bathrooms that are exposed to dirt and grime. You can learn more about our favorite sheens and paint products for bathrooms in this blog post

Semi-Gloss and High-Gloss Paint Finishes

These shiny and extra-shiny finishes definitely stand out and can be beautiful, but they will definitely show every little imperfection. These finishes work well in high-traffic areas that are exposed to the elements and get a lot of wear and tear, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Glossy finishes are easy to clean and have a high resistance to dirt, stains, mold, and mildew. 


No matter what paint finish or sheen you choose, if you use low-quality paint products and don’t apply the paint properly, it’s going to be less durable and not look as professional and clean as you’d like. 

If you are local to Raleigh and are looking for a professional, customer-centered paint company to help you achieve the look you want with high-quality paint products, knowledge, and skill, we’d love to learn more about your project and partner with you! Click here to book your free call and estimate!

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