If you’re trying to decide what sheen or gloss level of paint to use, here’s some help.
Flat or matte paint is good for general use on walls or ceilings. Because it doesn’t reflect light easily, it hides imperfections on the surface. If there’s a bulge or indent in the wall, this may be your best choice. But you may have trouble cleaning stains off flat paint, so avoid putting it in high traffic areas.
Eggshell resists stains better than flat paint, so it’s a better choice for higher traffic areas. You can also use it instead of flat paint in other areas, since it has a more lustrous look. You can find mildew-resistant eggshell paints designed specifically for bathrooms.
Satin, velvet or silk fall between eggshell and semi-gloss. Trim looks better if it has a slight sheen to it, but many people don’t want to overdo it. This makes a good compromise.
Since semigloss is more stain resistant and easier to clean than the paints described so far, it’s ideal for areas like kitchen and bathroom walls, hallways, and kids rooms. Like satin, it’s good for trim.
High gloss paint reflects light and will highlight imperfections, so you may not want to use it on old plaster walls. But it will clean up easily. Bannisters, door jambs, trim and furniture can benefit from the fast cleanup, and you may want to consider it for kitchen and bathroom ceilings.
A paint tip. If you’ve considered painting over wallpaper, first skim coat the seams with drywall compound. Then prime with an alkyd primer, followed by a latex topcoat. This oil-based paint won’t soak into the paper and lift it off the wall.