SATIN OR SEMI-GLOSS PAINT? HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FINISH


A helpful guide to select the best option for your home.

By MONIQUE VALERIS

Along with choosing the perfect interior paint color, there's one other factor that can make or break your space—the finish. Today, paint manufacturers offer a slew of finishes that should be chosen based on the amount of light a room receives, the style and color of your furniture, as well as the architecture of the room. "Selecting the proper sheen for your project is nearly as important as finding a color you love," says Behr Paint's Jessica Barr. Here, Barr shares what to keep in mind when deciding between satin and semi-gloss paint.

SATIN FINISH

If you're looking for a finish that's not as lustrous as semi-gloss, satin paint is for you. "Satin enamel is a versatile sheen for the entire house and provides a pearl-like shine and easy-to-clean finish that works best in moderate-to high-traffic areas of the home," says Barr.

This finish is ideal for adding a dose of drama to walls and trim, and is a good choice if you're looking for an option to help mask any flaws. Consider it for living rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and even kids rooms, where durability is necessary. Keep in mind that satin is also brilliant for small spaces. "A satin sheen adds depth to small spaces and reflects light slightly more than flat or eggshell sheens, bringing the customer's project/room inspiration to life," Barr explains.

A simple wipe or a damp cloth with a bit of detergent can easily clean walls with satin paint. Your walls can be damaged if they're scrubbed too hard or if the cleaning solution used is too abrasive.

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SEMI-GLOSS FINISH

Semi-gloss finishes boast a sleek, highly radiant sheen and can showcase a room's architectural details. This finish is best for high-traffic areas, like bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, and mudrooms. It's also suitable for cabinets or built-ins, trim, and doors. In addition to its aesthetic benefits, it's a practical choice. Semi-gloss paint offers an easy, wipeable surface for spaces that are used frequently. "Remember, the higher the sheen, the easier to clean," says Barr. "If you have little ones or are planning for a future family or pets, painting with a higher-sheen paint is a good first step to safeguard your walls."

There's one down side to semi-gloss paint. If your walls already have a great deal of visible imperfections, higher sheens will bring more attention to them. "Higher sheens tend to highlight these surface defects due to light easily reflecting off of the sheen developed on your wall," Barr explains.

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Both satin and semi-gloss finishes have their pros and cons. To choose the best finish, consider the type of room you're painting, the durability you desire, the pre-existing defects on your walls, and the overall look you hope to achieve. There's also one more tip Barr suggests for applying either paint finish. "When applying sheens like these, be sure to apply multiple thin coats, rather than one thick coat, for a smooth, easy-to-clean finish," Barr says. "This technique will help with durability of the paint as well as the appearance."

MONIQUE VALERIS Home Decor Editor, ELLEDecor.comMonique Valeris is the home decor editor for ELLEDecor.com, where she covers everything from house tours to product roundups, and her idea of a well-decorated interior involves endless layers of patterns, brass accents, and anything with a monogram.

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