What gloss level will I use when painting my home?

Whenever I’m engaged to assist clients with colour selection for their home, one of the questions that usually pops up is “What gloss level?”

Paint Colours

These days there are so many choices in finishes of paint and it can become confusing. Different paint companies will have different names for the finish. Below you will find a basic explanation for each of the types of paint.

Gloss Paint

However, my usual response is – Low Sheen on the walls, Flat on the ceiling and Gloss on the woodwork or trim. Naturally this gets altered depending on the age of the building, the style of the building and what effect or mood the client wants to create, but it’s a good starting point if you are planning on doing it yourself.

Painting the interior

  • Flat Finish also called matt finish will diffuse the light and minimise glare. It will also conceal a multitude of flaws. It is usually used on ceilings or to mask joints or patching.

Ceiling finished with Flat Paint

  • Low Sheen is a great all-rounder with a subtle sheen. It is washable so ideal for most walls in the house.

Low Sheen Paint

  • Satin and Semi-Gloss provides brightness without the glare, sheen without shine. This finish needs more preparation and is great for kitchens, bathrooms, children’s rooms and high traffic areas.
  • High Gloss gives a very shiny, durable, easy maintained finish, but can show up imperfections. It looks great on doors, window frames and skirting boards.

Gloss paint on timber work

  • Glaze has a shimmery pearlescent, mother-of-pearl finish with rich lustre. It can be applied over a base coat for a luminous colour.

Venetian Glaze Paint by Porters

  • Fresco or Stucco is an old style of textured paint, originally applied in a plaster mix, but now also available in synthetic. It can also be coated in a wax finish for a richer finish.

Fresco Paint by Porters Paints

  • Milk Paint is milk powder and pigment mixed with binders which gives a soft finish and can be mixed to any strength.

Milk Paint by Porters Paints

  • Metallic paint uses finely ground minerals to create a shimmering modern effect. For best effect use a cross-hatching method of application.

Metallic Paint applied with a cross hatch

If you require assistance in choosing colours or gloss levels for your home renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

We welcome you to subscribe to our mailing list to receive our newsletter filled with tips and tricks to create a home you love

* indicates required


  1. Great article Jennifer, very handy knowledge to have. I am on my last assignment for a certificate in Interior design & decoration & would love to work as a colour consultant, but have no idea where to start to get into the industry, not to mention product knowledge!!

Open modal