Interior Painting Boston MA: I have to Choose Paint Sheen Too?

Even after choosing the perfect color for home interior in Boston MA, there is another very important decision to make: the finish.

With five or six different paint finishes to choose from, there are plenty of options, even in one color, and with them comes a number of questions that you will need to answer. The best advice is to learn the uses and benefits of each finish and determine the right one for your job.

The chemistry of paint finish

The gloss of the paint is determined by the chemistry of the paint.

Paints that are “glossy” have a higher ratio of resins and less PVC (pigment volume concentration).

On the other hand, flat paints have a much higher pigment ratio and a lower resin ratio. This explains why painting with brighter paints often requires a second or even a third coat, while flatter paints can cover adequately with a single coat.

In the broader residential paint industry, there are six different levels of paint sheens, be aware that not all paint manufacturers offer all the six.

And they may have slightly different terminology for the same finish.

For example, one manufacturer’s “gloss” paint may be the same as another manufacturer’s “high-gloss enamel”.

All paint finishes are available both latex and oil-based, although, for most people, latex paints are the best choice as they offer easy cleaning and lower levels of odor.

The Different Types of Paint Finishes

Flat finish

Whether you call it flat finish or simply “wall paint”, this type of interior paint has a completely matte surface with no gloss at all. The surface may have a slightly chalky feel.

This paint finish is generally used on interior walls and ceilings. It is particularly good if you need to camouflage small bumps, cracks or other imperfections that could be highlighted with a finish that has any degree of shine.

While some flat paints are now advertised as washable, it is often more effective to touch up scratches or marks by coating them with a little more paint.

Flat enamel (mat)

Flat enamel is a paint with a flat mat finish and it’s durable, but its chemical composition is such that it forms a light film when it dries.

It is an acceptable choice for powder rooms or guest bedrooms, as it withstands occasional cleaning.


If you can imagine the very faint shine of an eggshell, you have an idea of ​​how an eggshell paint will appear.

With only a slight hint of gloss or shine, it is good for most walls and is more resistant to cleaning than a flat finish or flat enamel paint.

Eggshell finishes are an extremely popular choice for walls in family homes, as they combine good washability with the ability to hide flaws.


Satin paint has a smooth, velvety appearance with a little more shine.

It is most often used for windows, doors, moldings or ceilings, but it can also be used as wall paint.

This is particularly suitable for children’s rooms, kitchens or bathrooms, or in areas that receive a lot of traffic.

The satin finish is formulated to withstand cleaning and light friction.


Semi-gloss paint is most often used on doors, trim and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.

It is easy to clean and leaves a nice subtle shine without being too shiny. Pay attention to prep work before painting, as poorly prepared surfaces can be a little annoying when highlighted by a semi-gloss light-reflecting surface.


Glossy paints have an almost reflective quality because their glossy finish imitates the appearance of enamel or plastic.

Although little used in interiors, it is becoming more and more popular for a spectacular look on cupboards, woodwork, and furniture in more formal and contemporary settings.

This finish will amplify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding are essential before painting with glossy paints.

Get a Quote for interior repainting in Boston, MA.

If you need some help choosing paint and repainting your home interior, our team at Total Pro Painters can help.

We have years of experience in residential repainting in Boston, Massachusetts and a long list of happy clients that we would love to add you too 🙂

To give us a try, call us today at (774) 509-0345 for a FREE estimate!

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