How to select the right Paint Sheen

What is paint sheen?

Paint sheen relates to both the appearance and the performance of the exterior paint.

In terms of appearance, most homeowners are familiar with the shine—or lack of shine—that paint exhibits. A mirror-like paint sheen is Glossy as light reflects off of it. A flat or matt paint sheen is dull: it absorbs light. Between those two extremes are a few other degrees of sheen - Low Sheen & Semi Gloss.

But a paint's performance also hinges on its sheen, with certain sheen levels more suited to different parts of a home, such as wet areas and ceilings.



Different parts of your home’s interior will be subject to a varying level of light, water, foot traffic, and wear and tear. These are all factors which will impact what sheen level is best for the job.


  • Walls –Medium and high traffic areas such as hallway’s and family rooms: Dulux® Wash&Wear Low Sheen or Semi Gloss are suitable for high traffic areas of a home as a wet cloth can wipe away most common marks, scuffs and stains. Walls painted with Low Sheen or Semi Gloss paint look freshly painted for years and have exceptional washability.


  • Walls – with minor imperfections: Dulux® Wash&Wear Matt is ideal for walls where a subtle sheen is desired. It reduces the visibility of imperfections in plaster walls. Dulux® Wash&Wear Matt softens the effect of glare and glancing light in rooms with large windows or along hallways. Dulux® Wash&Wear Matt also has exceptional washability.


  • Walls – Frequently cleaned and wet areas such as Kitchens and bathrooms: Perfect for frequently cleaned and wet areas, Dulux® Wash&Wear +PLUS Kitchen&Bathroom Low Sheen or Dulux® Wash&Wear +PLUS Kitchen&Bathroom Semi-Gloss is made with the hard wearing, stain and mark resistant 101 Barrier Technology and fortified with a powerful mould-inhibitor. This gives exceptional washability and is developed specifically for damp and humid environments such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.


  • Doors, Architraves and Skirting Boards: A Low Sheen or Gloss finish such as Dulux® Aquanamel Low Sheen Water based will resist knocking, chipping and marking, be hardwearing and scuff resistant, and non-yellowing.


  • Ceilings: Are usually painted with a matt finish in places like bedrooms, halls, lounges and dining rooms. Dulux® Ceiling White is an easy to apply, flat finish ceiling white with excellent hiding power and a 5-year guarantee against mould growth*. Normally ceilings are not prone to scuffing or spoiling except perhaps where a room has an open fireplace where as a result of smoke discolouration you may wish to consider using a Semi-gloss to aid wash ability. For ceilings in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where the cooking odours and steam accumulates try Dulux® Ceiling White +PLUS Kitchen & Bathroom which has a 10-year guarantee against mould growth*.



Your home's exterior is subjected to major stresses that include rain, snow, UV rays, and physical wear. All of that is compounded by the sheer difficulty, cost, and extended timeline for painting a home's exterior, making the question of the perfect exterior paint finish a critical one.


  • Weatherboards: Depending on the aesthetic you are after, Dulux® Weathershield is available in Low Sheen, Semi Gloss, Gloss and Matt. Features UV Protection. Helps resist mould, dirt and stains. Long lasting colour. Easy, water clean up.


  • Bricks: Painted exterior brickwork and outdoor brick fireplaces can be an eye-catching feature. Dulux® Weathershield is suitable for painting brick surfaces and is available in Low Sheen, Semi Gloss, Gloss and Matt depending on the look you are after.


  • Fences, outdoor furniture or decking – Low Sheen Dulux® Timbacryl will make the most out of features such as decking, fences, fascia boards, timber furniture.


  • Roofs: A Gloss or Semi Gloss paint such as Dulux® Roof & Trim is a high opacity, self-priming, high performance 100% acrylic paint for common types of exterior roofs, which helps resist dirt and stains and is safe for drinking water collection.