FAQs about Interior Paint and Cabinetry Sheen

Simplify the sheen selection process using Craftwork's expert opinions.

Home Painting Guide

After selecting a paint color, you must decided which sheen will work best for each space and surface. Although our team has the ability to paint all sheen types on your walls, trim, and cabinetry, Craftwork has recommended sheens to simplify the selection process

The primary sheen categories include:

  • Flat sheens, which have no reflective or shiny appearance

  • Satin, eggshell, or low-luster sheens, which provide a slight shine and is more reflective of light

  • Semi-gloss sheen, which is shiny, intended to provide contrast between trim and doors from the wall and ceiling

  • High-gloss sheens, which have the highest light-reflective characteristics.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about how and when to apply different sheens in different rooms and surfaces.

Interior Paint Sheen

A kitchen accent wall in Charlotte, NC, painted in Oakmoss SW 6180 by Sherwin-Williams.

Interior paint project completed by Craftwork.

What sheen do you recommend for walls? Flat, eggshell, or satin paint are best for interior walls.

Flat paint has a matte look and is the best choice to hide wall imperfections, but it’s the least durable choice and doesn’t clean well.

Eggshell is shinier than flat, but not as glossy as satin. It’s easier to clean than flat, but not as easy to clean as satin. Satin has some sheen to it, but its glossiness highlights wall imperfections like divots or poorly patched areas. It's durable and holds up well with regular cleaning, making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

What type of paint do you recommend for dogs and kids? We recommend eggshell or satin. These paints are more durable and better for regular wall cleaning.

What sheen is easiest for touch ups? Flat paint is the best for touch ups. This sheen does the best job of covering wall imperfections.

A home office in Charlotte, painted in Soulful Blue SW 6543 by Sherwin-Williams.

Interior paint project completed by Craftwork.

What sheen is recommended for bathrooms? Eggshell or satin is best of bathrooms because of its more resistant to water stains than flat paint. While semi-gloss comes recommended by some brands, it's sheen highlights wall imperfections.

What if I already have semi-gloss on my walls. Should I only use semi-gloss moving forward? We do not recommend semi-gloss paint on walls because its higher light reflectivity highlights wall flaws and brushstrokes, as well as may appear slightly darker than the same color in a different finish. Craftwork sands the existing semi-gloss paint before painting another sheen.

What sheen should I use for accent walls? We recommend using the same sheen as the surrounding wall paint. If a homeowner is using flat paint on the other walls, the accent wall should be flat.

What sheen do you recommend for darker rooms? Higher-gloss paint finishes can help brighten dark spaces. A dark space requires a lot of artificial lighting and high-sheen walls catch and reflect all that light.

Ceiling Sheen

Flat ceiling painted by Craftwork.

What sheen do you recommend for ceilings? We recommend flat paint because it shows the least ceiling imperfections.

What sheen should I paint on popcorn ceilings? We recommend flat paint because glossier sheens weigh heavier and may cause the popcorn to crumble or peel.

Can you paint ceilings in semi-gloss? Semi-gloss will show imperfections in your ceiling, so we would need to repair any flaws before painting in the glossy sheen. Craftwork recommends spraying the paint on the ceiling rather than hand-rolling, because you will see the paint brush lines near the trim if painted in semi-gloss.

High-gloss ceiling and walls painted by Craftwork.

What is the process of painting high-gloss ceilings? High-Gloss ceilings are a multi-day process that involve preparing the ceiling by removing any imperfections, then spraying and sanding the paint over four to five days, letting the paint properly dry in-between each layer.

Trim, Door and Wainscoting Sheen

What sheen do you recommend for trim and doors? Semi-gloss is best for trim and wood surfaces. The shine sets it apart from the walls, which is important if you’re not distinguishing the trim and door with a different color.

High-gloss door refinished by Craftwork.

Do trim and door sheens have to be the same? We recommend baseboards, crown molding, window trim and doors be in the same sheen. We recommend semi-gloss.

Can you paint trim and doors in high-gloss? You can paint doors and trim in high-gloss but the process of painting is high-gloss is labor intensive, demands higher quality paint, and is more expensive.

What sheen should I use for wainscoting? Craftwork recommends painting wainscoting in semi-gloss or the same sheen as the trim and doors in the room.

Room painted by the Craftwork team.

What sheen should I use for shiplap? Eggshell or satin is ideal for shiplap, helping it stand out with a subtle gloss from walls that may be in the same color.

Cabinetry Sheen

What sheens does Craftwork offer for cabinetry refinishing? While we can paint any sheen, we recommend Flat (10% sheen), Satin (20% sheen), or High-Gloss (80-90% sheen).

Examples of different sheens from Craftwork's workshop.

What sheen do you recommend for kitchen cabinetry? Any sheen will work on your kitchen cabinets. We do have clients that will paint their island in a high-gloss, with the other cabinets in flat or satin, for a wow factor.

What sheen do you recommend for bathroom cabinetry? Any sheen will work in your bathroom.

Examples of different sheens from Craftwork cabinetry projects.

Do high-gloss cabinets show finger prints more? No. In fact, high-gloss cabinets are more durable and easier to clean if a homeowner needs to scrub the cabinet.

Do you offer high-gloss painting services outside of cabinetry? Yes! High-gloss looks are often used in living rooms, dining rooms, on millwork in a library, or to accentuate trim and wainscoting.

All images are from Craftwork projects.

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