Painting your home is one of the easiest ways to update and beautify its look. However, it isn’t until you step into the paint or hardware store that you realize just how many choices you have. It’s not just the colour–it’s also the paint sheen. Between flat or satin finish, eggshell or gloss, and everything in between– how do you choose the right sheen for the right room? Choosing the wrong one could end up wasting time and money and causing disappointment – which is why we’ve put together a guide to help you pick just the right sheen for your next home painting project.

High Gloss: When you select a high-gloss finish, you’re getting great surface protection and easy cleanup. Practical for kitchens, doors, window trim, and some baseboards, high gloss is very durable and also the easiest to keep clean. High-gloss paint is high in light reflection, so it shines. It’s the perfect choice for places where sticky fingers touch cabinets and doors, but far too shiny for use in many areas.

Semi Gloss: Got a bathroom to paint? Semi-gloss paint is perfect for use in rooms where there are water splashes, moisture, grease stains and food spills. Use it in bathrooms, kitchens, or along your trim where finger marks are likely to appear. It’s easy to clean and can take a lot of abuse before it needs to be touched up.

Satin Finish: When most people think of painting a room, they’re probably picturing paint with a satin finish. Almost lustrous, this paint is perfect for high-traffic areas like family rooms, hallways, and bedrooms. Keep in mind that this lower gloss paint comes at a price. While still easy to clean, satin paint easily reveals application flaws such as brush strokes. Additionally, touch-ups can prove tricky and you may find that you simply have to repaint the whole wall.

Eggshell Finish: Found somewhere between a satin and a flat finish, eggshell is durable but falls a little flat in the shine department. Picture the shell of a chicken’s egg as its appearance. Eggshell is perfect for covering up wall imperfections, but should be applied only in areas that don’t get a lot of traffic, like dining rooms, as it can be more difficult to clean.

Flat and Matte Finishes: Need a paint that soaks up the light instead of reflecting it? Flat and matte finishes are the ones for you. Boasting not only the most pigment but also the most coverage, these finishes are perfect for rooms that don’t see a lot of action. That’s because when you try to clean this type of paint with a rag, you’ll usually take the paint off the wall along with the grime. Flat and matte paints are most often seen in adults’ bedrooms or other interior rooms where kids don’t tend to tread.

Walking into the hardware store for a gallon of paint doesn’t have to turn into a puzzle. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to pick out the best finish for the room you intend to brighten up. Now all that’s left is choosing the right colour!