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Select the right sheen for your paint project
Gail McCauley/PQI : Painting 101: Select the right sheen

Painting 101: Select the right sheen for your paint project

By Gail McCauley

Living RoomOne of the basic considerations prior to the start of an impending paint project is to determine the ideal sheen, or gloss level for the paint job. Selection of the ideal sheen for the paint need not be a daunting process! Determining the optimum sheen level requires a thoughtful review of both function and aesthetics within the project space.

As far as sheen level goes, the higher the gloss level, the easier the surface is to keep clean. From a practical standpoint, paint enthusiasts have long enjoyed the selection of high gloss paints benefiting any area that requires frequent washing and is subject to a high amount of foot traffic. These paints produce the toughest and most stain resistant finishes. A wonderful way to highlight a bold color scheme within a child's bedroom, playroom or bath space; consider implementing a whimsical theme using a combination of high gloss colors. Cheerful primary colors that sport wavy freehand stripes or oversized polka dots are just two examples of classic youthful motifs that can form the basis for a treasured space that provides endless hours of fun for a child.

For those do-it-yourselfers who require a paint sheen that will mask surface imperfections, flat paints offer an ideal non-reflective surface quality. Better suited for lower use areas of the home or new construction, flat paints greatly assist with making a surface appear smooth and uniform. Explore the possibility of implementing a color scheme that utilizes flat paints to highlight a historic home's focal point wall surrounding a vintage fireplace that is being lovingly restored. Or, consider the application of flat paints using warm, earthy colored hues to highlight interior pillars or columns that reside in a formal entrance way belonging to a Tuscan styled home.

SheenA combination of two distinctively different paint sheens (i.e. flat partnered with high gloss) can also be utilized to produce dramatic effects within a designated interior space. In areas where aesthetic concerns have priority over functional considerations, monochromatic sheen stripes, color blocks or other geometrical designs can be painted using one hue and two differing intensities. When the identical hue and two different sheens have been utilized within the same design, the end result produces an exciting customized pattern that uniquely personalizes a space.

Regardless of whether the primary emphasis is hiding flaws or enhancing architectural features, careful consideration of both beauty and function will help to ensure the most successful choice of paint sheen for the impending project. •

© 2004 Gail McCauley. All rights reserved.