When painting your home, you not only need to select a paint color but also a paint sheen. which is the amount of light that is reflected off the paint. The level of sheen determines how shiny the paint will be on the wall. Satin paint has a lower sheen level than semi-gloss paint so is less shiny. While people may prefer different levels of sheen, there are also practical reasons to consider when selecting a paint.
The terms used for paint sheens may vary slightly by manufacturer. However, in general, the reflective scale consists of flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss. Flat paint has no shine whereas eggshell has more shine than flat and gloss has the most shine. Flat paints hide imperfections on the wall much more than gloss paints, which will easily show any irregularities or imperfections on a wall. Flat paints also pick up dirt more quickly and are more difficult to clean.
Satin paint has more reflective qualities than flat paint but less than gloss; thus it will be more shiny than a flat paint but less shiny than a gloss paint. Satin paints have some shine to them, yet don't bring out a wall's imperfections as much as a gloss paint. As such, satin is a favorite choice for many rooms in the home. Satin paints give a wall a smooth, velvety appearance.
Semi-gloss paints have more sheen than satin paints so thus are shinier. While there is a difference in the level of sheen, satin and semi-gloss are much closer in sheen level than, for example, flat versus gloss paint. The more glossy the paint, the more durable it tends to be. High gloss paints are considered to be the strongest and most durable.
When to Use
Whether to use a satin or semi-gloss paint depends not only on which room you are painting, but also what surface you are painting. Satin paints are most frequently used on walls in low-traffic rooms. Because satin paints are more difficult to clean than semi-gloss paints, walls in higher-traffic rooms that get dirtier are often painted with semi-gloss. High-traffic rooms include kitchens, bathrooms and kids' rooms. However, when painting a wall with a semi-gloss paint, thoroughly prepare the walls by filling in any cracks and sanding before painting to remove any imperfections. Semi-gloss paints are also often used on doors, trims and cabinets.