Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained

Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained - Gilford Hardware & Outdoor Power Equipment

If you haven't painted before, or you just need a refresher, one of the decisions you need to make while painting is the Sheen. The Sheen is an important part of painting because the sheen decides how glossy or shiny the paint will appear. Each sheen has it's own level of gloss, starting at no gloss (Flat) and going all the way to High-Gloss which is super shiny. 

Is there a specific sheen for each part of the house? Technically no, you can use whatever Sheen you want, anywhere you want. Although, some interior and exterior paints only come in certain sheens. For example being able to find an exterior high gloss paint is very rare!  

In this article we will show you each sheen, and the most common places each sheen is used, with some examples. 

Flat / Matte Sheen

Flat paints, also known as matte paints, offer a non-reflective, dull appearance compared to glossy finishes. They are often used to conceal defects on ceilings and uneven wall surfaces. However, it's important to note that flat sheens are not recommended for rooms that require frequent cleaning. For a truly flat white paint option, consider Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint, which provides a smooth, matte finish.

Best Uses:

  • Exterior: Siding
  • Interior: Ceilings, Walls in low-traffic spaces, kitchens, and bathrooms (Aura Bath & Spa ONLY comes in Matte sheen)

Keep in mind that using flat paint in high-traffic areas that demand regular cleaning may result in difficulties removing stains and potential burnishing from frequent rubbing or cleaning.

Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained Matte / Flat

When contemplating flat paint for high-traffic areas that require frequent care, proceed with caution. Low-sheen paint is more difficult to remove stains from, and frequent rubbing or cleaning can cause burnishing.

Check Out Benjamin Moore Regal Select Flat Paint:


Eggshell Sheen

Regal Select Interior Eggshell is a popular choice for its slightly higher shine compared to flat paint. This makes it easier to clean and gives it a lustrous appearance. It serves as an excellent alternative to semi-gloss, offering a less gleaming result while effectively hiding imperfections on walls. The soft radiance of eggshell reflects colors brilliantly and creates a warm ambiance in the room.

Best Uses:

  • Exterior: N/A
  • Interior: High Traffic Walls, Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Offices (Eggshell is the most common interior wall paint on the market)

Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained Gilford Hardware Eggshell

Pearl Sheen

Pearl finish strikes a balance between low gloss and easy cleaning properties. It boasts a medium shine, making it slightly shinier than eggshell but not as lustrous as semi-gloss. Its durability and ease of cleaning make it ideal for high-traffic areas. For instance, Regal Select Interior Pearl is perfect for wainscoting and doors in high-humidity environments.

Best Uses:

  • Exterior: Shutters and Trim
  • Interior: Doors, Trim, High Traffic Areas, and Cabinets

Benjamin Moore Pearl White cloud oc-130

If you choose this finish, be sure to follow the manufacturer's application instructions and paint carefully, as paint with a pearl sheen is more likely to show lap marks and other imperfections.

Semi-Gloss Sheen

Semi-gloss finish is a versatile option, offering durability against wear, fingerprints, dirt, dust, and debris. It excels in high-traffic areas and enhances the appearance of trim with a brilliant shine. Ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, it withstands splashes and spills while remaining impervious to moisture and stains.

Best Uses:

  • Exterior: Trim, Shutters, Doors, Architectural Details
  • Interior: Trim, Doors, Cabinets

Check Out Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Semi Gloss Paint:


 Benjamin Moore Marine Blue Trim Paint Semi-Gloss Gilford Hardware

High Gloss

High gloss is at the top of the sheen scale, with a mirror-like surface. High-Gloss is a long-lasting finish with a beautiful luster. It's stain-resistant, easy to clean, and will transform the look of doors, trim, and even a high-traffic kitchen.

Many interior designers (and daring homeowners) enjoy using high-gloss paint in unusual places, such as the ceiling or an accent wall. Keep in mind, however, that high-gloss paints necessitate meticulous application and preparation, which is best left to a professional.

Exterior: Doors, Architecural Details

Interior: Trim, Doors, and Cabinets

Carter Plum CW-355 High Gloss Gilford Hardware


How to Choose the Right Sheen

Selecting the appropriate Benjamin Moore paint sheen depends on various factors. Consider the following tips to make the right choice:

  1. Room Usage: Identify the purpose of the room. High-traffic areas require more durable sheens, while low-traffic spaces can use less shiny finishes.

  2. Surface Imperfections: Assess the condition of the surface. For walls with imperfections, flat or matte sheens can hide them effectively.

  3. Desired Aesthetic: Determine the look you want to achieve. A subtle glow or a striking shine can significantly impact the overall appearance of the space.

  4. Cleaning and Maintenance: Consider how easy it is to clean and maintain the sheen. This is especially crucial for areas that are prone to spills and stains.

Check out this Benjamin Moore Video Which Explains more about Paint Finishes / Sheens...

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The Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment blog posts exclusively reflect the views of Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment and do not necessarily reflect those of the device manufacturers. Please be aware that product availability, specifications, and suggested uses are subject to change. For the most recent details, always refer to the manufacturer's website and product manual.