Choosing the right paint can be just as important as picking the right color.  I’ve listed the basics of paint below to help you make a confident choice.

The sheen of paint determines the level of glossiness and how much light will reflect off of the paint.  The higher gloss paints will tend to show more imperfections of a wall.

Different sheens with labels

Flat paint is the lowest gloss paint and was used for years in low moisture rooms throughout the house.  Flat paint cannot be washed and can mar easily.

Eggshell paint is the most popular sheen with homeowners.  It offers a similar look to flat, but doesn’t mar as easily and can be washed without showing wear.

Satin is a level above eggshell and below semi-gloss.  Satin paint is sometimes used in high moisture rooms such as kitchens and baths when the homeowner doesn’t want too much shine.

Semi-gloss is widely used in kitchens, bathrooms and for trim work.  It can be easily cleaned and is very durable.

Gloss paint can be used in kitchens and baths, but tends to show fingerprints and smudges more easily than a semi-gloss.

Different sheens

Primer can be a valuable tool.  Using primer will greatly reduce the number of coats of paint that will be needed and will improve the appearance of the finished job. Primer should always be used on fresh drywall or wood or when painting over bold or dark colors.

Finally, low or no VOC paints.  VOC stands for volatile organic compound.  VOCs are what gives paint its odor.  Scientists and health professionals have become concerned about the negative impact that VOCs are having on the health of humans and the animals that live with them.  If you have any concerns about this, have young children at home or are pregnant, then asking for a low or no VOC paint may be the way to go.

Low VOC paint

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