Our Guide to Paint Sheens: Selecting the Perfect Paint Finish

Written by: Rose Stephan



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Many customers visiting the paint department are unsure when asked about the type of sheen they'd like for their paint. 


It often requires an explanation that “sheen” means how much shine the paint finish will have


We have a useful display in our BeautiTone Paint Department to show the range of sheens, so customers can better visualize which one they want. And the reason we point this out is because the right paint sheen is as important as picking the perfect paint colour.


If you choose the wrong sheen you may end up not getting the overall effect you are after.

Different paint brands may refer to their paint sheens by different names, so for the purpose of this blog we’ll focus on the sheens offered by the #1 Canadian paint brand sold by Home Hardware called “BeautiTone”. 


These six sheens are: flat, eggshell, velvet, pearl, semi-gloss, and gloss.


It's worth the time to get to know them better so that the next time you have a painting project you can confidently tell the clerk in the paint store which sheen you’d like your paint in!

Flat Finish:

Best For: Ceilings, low-traffic areas, imperfect walls.


A flat finish, sometimes known as matte, is the least shiny of all sheens. It provides a smooth, non-reflective surface that's ideal for hiding imperfections in walls. Most often people choose a flat sheen for their ceiling paint. On occasion though a customer will purchase it for their walls either because they’re using a dark colour and want a more dramatic, moody look or because their walls have some imperfections they want to hide. 


Remember though, if you paint your walls a dark colour in a flat sheen the walls won’t be reflecting or bouncing off any light from your windows or lighting.  A flat finish on a wall is a very design specific look, so give it some thought if that is the style you are after.


  • Excellent at hiding imperfections.
  • Aesthetic appeal in rooms where sheen is not desired.
  • Reduces glare and is easy on the eyes.
  • Easier to touch up your walls without having to repaint the entire space as you won’t get the issue of “flashing” like you do when your wall paint has some sheen to it.


  • Less washable and prone to showing stains.
  • Not suitable for high-traffic areas where walls can get dirty, or rooms with high humidity.

Eggshell Finish:

Best For: Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Moderate Traffic



This is one of the most popular paint finishes for interior painting! And it’s called “eggshell” for a reason - just picture the low sheen of the shell of an egg. 


This sheen strikes the perfect balance between flat and semi-gloss. It offers a subtle sheen that's easy to clean while still being relatively matte. 


It's an excellent choice for most interior walls and is popular in bedrooms and living areas.


  • Provides a soft, subtle shine.
  • Fairly easy to clean without excessive reflection.
  • Hides minor imperfections better than satin or gloss finishes.
  • Best for low to medium traffic areas.


  • Not as durable as semi-gloss or gloss.
  • May require touch-ups in high-traffic zones.

Velvet Finish:

Best For: Medium to High Traffic Areas



A velvet paint finish is a mid-sheen, multi-use finish recommended for medium to high traffic areas.


Sometimes referred to as a “satin”, this paint sheen strikes a really nice balance, offering a  smooth, velvety finish with less shine than a pearl and semi-gloss, but still quite washable and scrubbable.


A great choice for a kitchen, bathroom, hallway or garage especially if you only want a subtle sheen along with a nice depth and dimension to your walls.



  • Aesthetic appeal in rooms where you want less shine than pearl or semi-gloss. 
  • A mid-sheen, multi-use finish.
  • Ideal for medium to high traffic areas. 
  • Easy to clean, durable, scrubbable.


  • Not as scrubbable or durable as semi-gloss or gloss finish.
  • May require touchups if a high traffic area prone to getting dirty.

Pearl Finish

Best For: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Family Rooms, Trim



Pearl finish adds a subtle shimmer to your walls, more than Velvet, without being as shiny as semi-gloss or gloss.It has a smooth reflective finish


It's an ideal choice for moisture-prone areas and surfaces that require frequent cleaning, such as kitchen walls and bathroom cabinets. 


Recommended for high traffic areas and excellent for mouldings and trim work!


  • Reflects light, making spaces feel brighter.
  • Resistant to moisture and easy to clean.
  • Suitable for both walls and woodwork.


  • Not as stain-resistant as semi-gloss or gloss.

Semi-Gloss Finish

Best For: High Traffic Areas, Trim, Doors, Cabinets



Semi-gloss delivers a noticeable shine and is perfect for surfaces that require frequent cleaning and stand up to wear and tear. In other words, it's great for high traffic areas like kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, kids rooms and playrooms. It's often formulated to be more mildew resistant than flatter sheens. 


It is also recommended for use on baseboards, doors, cabinets, and other high-impact areas.


  • Highly durable and easy to clean.
  • Resistant to stains, moisture, and mildew.
  • Reflects light for a polished look.


  • Can highlight wall imperfections.

Gloss Finish

Best For: Trim, Doors, Furniture and Accents



Gloss finish is the shiniest of all the sheens, offering a polished and reflective look. It's perfect for creating a striking contrast with walls in areas like trim, doors, and furniture.


Recommended for high traffic surfaces because it's the easiest to wipe off and clean. 


  • Exceptionally durable and stain-resistant.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Creates a high-impact, luxurious appearance.


  • Highly reflective, which can emphasize surface imperfections.

Products We Recommend

Understanding paint sheens is essential for achieving the desired look and function in your interior spaces. Consider the purpose of the room and the level of traffic it experiences when selecting the right sheen as well as the overall desired effect you're going for. 

The BeautiTone brand offers a variety of sheens to suit your needs. Now that you have the information you need to make a confident, informed decision, your paint project will shine. No pun intended!

If you need further assistance in choosing the right paint sheen or have questions about any of our products, always ask the knowledgeable staff in the BeautiTone paint department. They will help you confidently decorate your living spaces including rooms painted in the perfect paint finish.

Sincerely, Roger and Rose