Gloss Sheen Levels in UK Paints

Paint Finish

gloss paint finish

The gloss levels in paint dictate how shiny or flat the finish with paint once it has been applied. The gloss finish can play a big part in the appearance of the walls, ceiling, and architrave. We look at the different gloss sheen levels and pros and cons to each gloss finish.

Different Gloss Sheen Levels

In the UK there isn’t a particular standard for wet paints that are available in the DIY market, and this can be confusing. In the following table, we’ll aim to highlight the typical gloss levels found in paint and DIY stores in the UK. This is based on interior paints.

Gloss Sheen LevelTypical Percentage GlossTypical DIY Paint Products
Flat0-3%Flat Matt Emulsion
Matt3-10%Matt Emulsion
Eggshell12-20%Wood Finishes, Internal walls
Satin15-25%Satin Emulsion, Satinwood
Silk25-35%Silk Wood Finishes, Dulux Silk Emulsion
Semi Gloss-Gloss35-60%Gloss Wood Finishes, Gloss Metal Finish
High GlossGreater than 80%Shiny Gloss Finish for Wood

Flat Paint Finish

A flat Paint Finish is a paint that has virtually no gloss level to paint whatsoever. Ideal for areas that have low traffic such as a ceiling, these paints are good at hiding imperfections as the light does not bounce any sheen.

Most people tend to stay away from flat finishes for their wall painting as they are the least durable gloss finish and it doesn’t cope with heavy scrubbing.

A flat paint finish is perfect for ceilings.

Matt Paint Finish

A Matt Paint Finish has very little gloss level and absorbs a lot of the light. Matt is a good choice as it hides a multitude of imperfections and is ideal for ceilings, walls in the living room, dining room and bedroom.

It is not advised for high traffic areas like bathrooms or kitchens as it is not as durable and cleaning can actually remove the paint.

Matt Finish is recommended for low traffic living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.

Eggshell Paint Finish

An Eggshell Paint finish unsurprisingly looks like the surface on an eggshell. This gloss level sits between a Matt Finish which has less sheen and Satin Finish which has more sheen. It gives walls a softer look than satin or silk paint finishes and is more durable than matt finishes.

There is still some sheen to eggshell and light will bounce off it creating some depth to the room.

Eggshell also gives woodwork a classic finish and is a good choice for furniture and wooden fixtures.

An Eggshell Paint Finish is best suited for interior walls and woodwork

Satin Paint Finish

A Satin paint finish is less glossy than semi-gloss but has more of a sheen than eggshell. Some describe this finish as having the best of both in that it can pick up the light and reflect but also offer some of the qualities of a flatter finish.

It still advised making surfaces as smooth as possible as this finish will pick up imperfections in certain lights.

This finish is more durable and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. It can lose this sheen if it is cleaned and scrubbed too much.

Satin is also a good choice for any wooden trim like skirting, door architrave and picture rails.

Satin Paint Finishes are perfect for high traffic areas. Bathrooms, Kitchens and Kids rooms can be painted in a satin finish.

Semi-Gloss Paint

A semi-gloss paint leaves a sheen but not a full-on gloss sheen. It is a good all-round paint for use on any wall in the house and with it has excellent durability.

Semi Gloss paints can be used in almost room for walls

High gloss paint

High gloss paint is the most gloss you can get in paint. Ideal as a contract between walls and skirting and architrave. Gloss paints are also used as paints for entrance doors.

High Gloss Paint finishes are recommended for wooden furniture and fixings

Recommended Gloss Levels for Rooms in Your Home

recommended gloss levels for rooms in your home.


We looked at the different gloss levels, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. Some paint finishes are more durable than others and will save on the frequency of the room being painted. Now you know your eggshells from your satins it now time to paint that room. Let us know how you get on!

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