Which Paint Sheen to Choose for Walls and Trim

Interior wall and trim paint is available in the following sheens:

    • Flat: Good for hiding wall imperfections but can be hard to keep clean.
    • Eggshell: More gloss than flat and easier to keep clean. A good choice for bedroom, dining room, and living room walls.
    • Satin: Higher gloss than eggshell. A good choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
    • Semi-gloss: More gloss than satin, and shows wall imperfections more. A higher sheen option for bathrooms.
    • High gloss: Usually reserved for trim if used at all, since it’s very shiny and shows every imperfection.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Melinda asks, “How do I know when to use flat, eggshell, or semi-gloss paint?”

It really depends on your preference, and exactly what you’re painting inside your home.

If you’re painting a lot of interior walls, most people choose a flat finish. It hides imperfections really nicely.

But I’ll tell you, if you need a washable wall, like you have small kids in the house, flat is probably not the right choice. I would suggest stepping it up to eggshell, which has just a little bit of a sheen, and is a lot more washable than the flat paint.

Now, if you’re moving into the bathroom or the laundry room, I would recommend going with either the satin enamel sheen or semi-gloss. That’s really good to protect all of your walls and again make it very washable.

And if you’re ready to top off the paint job with painting your trim or some cabinets, I would suggest stepping up to high gloss.


  1. what sheen would you paint moldings and doors i really dont like shinny
    i am painting wallls eggshell finish


    • Hi, Linda,
      Sheen is a matter of personal preference, but we like a finish that’s easy to clean and hides imperfections.
      Depending on the situation, eggshell’s a good choice, with high gloss for trim.
      Good luck!


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