The gloss of a paint is essentially an aesthetic feature, but with secondary technical implications, and as a general rule, the glossier the finish the more durable the paint.

Higher gloss paints tend to be used in rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries as they complement the reflective surfaces and floors usually found in these spaces. However, if you don’t want to go too glossy but need the durability, products like Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen can be used in these wet areas.

Low gloss, flat and satin finishes are popular for living areas and bedrooms where the lower sheen finish complements soft furnishings and dècor. It’s becoming increasingly common for decorators to use a low sheen finish throughout the home's interior.

Gloss levels of paint will impact on how colour appears in certain light. You can use a mix of gloss levels within one space to highlight feature areas. Try highlighting trim areas such as doors and windowsills by using a higher level of gloss than the surrounding walls.

The gloss guide 

Gloss paints

  • Highly reflective and smooth
  • Easy to clean so perfect for areas exposed to heavy traffic or grease and grime
  • Colours tinted into high gloss paints appear cleaner and more intense
  • Tend to highlight surface imperfections

Semi-gloss paints

  • Slightly glossy appearance, but not as reflective as gloss paints
  • Good stain resistance and easy to clean
  • Ideal for walls and woodwork that is subject to wear and on weatherboards and exterior cemented surfaces

Satin paints

  • Add more warmth and depth to surfaces than flat paints
  • More stain resistant than flat paints, but less than semi-gloss and gloss paints.
  • Popular option for roofing

Low sheen paints

  • Most popular choice for interior broadwall areas
  • Easy to clean so ideal for living areas, hallways, bedrooms and playrooms
  • Outside use over timber, concrete and plaster finishes

Flat paints

  • Diffuse light and conceal surface imperfections
  • Popular choice for walls and ceilings
  • Colours appear muddied and darker in a flat finish
  • Micro rough can make cleaning more difficult than higher sheen paints 

What we did in Scott and Jiji’s Lockwood style living room: We prepped the walls with Resene Quick Dry Primer and Smooth Surface Sealer. The ceiling was painted with Resene Eighth Black White and topped with Resene SpaceCote Flat. The walls are Resene Alabaster with a low-sheen finish in Zylone Sheen, and the window trims and beams in Resene Nero with semi-gloss Resene Lustacryl Black. 

See the Resene Recommended paint systems for the right paint system for your project.