Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained

Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained
Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained

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 

Flat paints have a duller (or "matte") appearance than shiny paints. Flat paints are commonly used to conceal defects on ceilings and irregular wall surfaces. Not suggested for rooms that need to be cleaned frequently. Benjamin Moore Waterborne Ceiling Paint is the flattest white paint Benjamin Moore has to offer.

Exterior: Siding 

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

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:



Our top selling Paint is Regal Select Interior Eggshell. Eggshell paint has a little higher shine than flat paint, making it simpler to clean and giving it a lustrous look. It can be used instead of semi-gloss to provide a less gleaming result. It's easy to clean and helps hide imperfections on walls. While it reflects more light than flat or matte finishes, its soft radiance reflects colors brilliantly, 

Exterior: N/A

Interior: High Traffic Walls, Living Rooms Bed Rooms, Offices, Eggshell Is the most common interior wall paint on the market. 

Benjamin Moore Paint Sheens Explained Gilford Hardware Eggshell


The higher binder concentration, in Pearl finish makes it easier to clean than flat paints, despite its low gloss. It's usually a little shinier than an eggshell, but not quite as lustrous as a semi-gloss. Pearl finish has a medium shine and is quite durable. A pearl finish adds dimension to trim while also being easy to clean, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Regal Select Interior Pearl is a mildew-resistant finish that can be used on everything from wainscoting to doors in high-humidity environments.

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 Finish is great for surfaces which get more wear, such as fingerprints, dirt, dust, or debris. Semi-Gloss Finish is perfect for places which need to be sturdy and washable. Great for high-traffic areas, one of the most popular uses for semi-gloss finish is for trim.  Semi-Gloss finishes brilliant appearance is ideal for highlighting architectural details and adding dimension to millwork, trim, and doors.

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


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


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.