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You’ve finally selected a room color, you march confidently towards the clerk at the paint counter, you unflinchingly hold your color swatch high and proudly call out “One gallon of Cranberry Zing, please!!” Less amused is the clerk who replies “what finish?” Drat, you were so close. What finish? You know there’s probably a right answer but it escapes you now…

Never fear! The answer is here!

Flat – This has no sheen. It is best for a ceiling because it is not reflective. In most cases you do not want a reflective ceiling. Also, in not having any sheen to it, the appearance of dings or dents in the surface will be minimized. The downside is, it does not wipe clean as easily as a paint with a higher sheen to it, however, how dirty does your ceiling really get?

Eggshell – This is my personal favorite for walls. This has a small amount of sheen giving the paint a little more depth and richness. It is easier to clean than a flat finish and because the sheen isn’t too much, imperfections on the wall will not show as much as would with a glossier finish.

Satin – has a smooth, velvety shine when dried. Is okay for walls, but since it is slightly reflective, imperfections will show much more than with Eggshell. It is easy to wipe clean and is durable.

Semi Gloss – A great choice for window and door trim because of it’s easy to keep clean and because it reflects some light, it helps to make the trim work stand out nicely from the walls. It is also more durable than the aforementioned which is important for areas around windows and doors.

High Gloss – not usually recommended for interior walls because it is reflective and any imperfections will show, and will also appear magnified. However, Gloss can be nice when painted on furniture pieces, decorative elements or accessories. If you want a very reflective surface, try an oil-based high gloss paint. High gloss paints allows for a very durable, easy to clean surface.