Besides choosing the right color, it’s important to pick the right finish. A nice finish is what finalizes the overall look of the painted surface. But different finishes will look nicer and function better in different sectors of your home.
Glossy finishes, like semi-gloss, aren’t the best option to use for major areas of the living room. So, while semi-gloss is okay to use in a living room to accent smaller areas and furnishings, it’s best to avoid using it to cover large amounts of space and here’s why.
Semi-Gloss Paint on Walls
Finishes are defined by the amount of light they reflect and their sheen refers to the amount of light reflected off of the finished surface once the paint dries.
Paint finishes are grouped by their light reflective properties. Common paint finishes ranging from high sheen to no sheen include:
- Flat (matte)
High sheen finishes reflect more light whereas low sheen, or no sheen finishes, completely absorb light. Therefore, light reflecting finishes appear more glossy and shiny when they dry and light absorbent finishes appear more matte.
As you can see, the semi-gloss finish is quite light reflective compared to most of the others. But a shiny appearance isn’t necessarily what determines where in the home a semi-gloss paint works best, or whether or not it works well in living rooms.
Rather, it’s the properties of a finish, those responsible for the light reflective characteristics, that are important to consider.
Glossy vs Matte Finish
- Semi-gloss paint has lower levels of pigmentation and higher levels of resin.
- Matte paint has higher levels of pigmentation and lower levels of resin.
Resin, the binding agent in the paint, helps with the adhesion process between the paint and the painted surface. Additionally, higher levels of resin are responsible for a high level of durability, much like a protective coating, because of its tough and wear-resistant features.
This means that a semi-gloss paint, which contains higher levels of resin, will be more durable than a matte paint. So, if you try to clean a matte coat of paint with a sponge, the chance that you’ll cause damage to the paint is more likely. With semi-gloss paint, cleaning a wall is a cinch.
So what’s the problem with using semi-gloss?
Semi-gloss, while durable, has a trade off. Because of its lower pigmentation levels, semi-gloss will not cover as many imperfections over the scope of an entire living room wall. Not as nicely as a matte finish can, for instance.
Often, semi-gloss paint will highlight wall imperfections rather than conceal them. Additionally, semi-gloss paint may show brush strokes. If you use a roller brush to apply it, it will show that too.
To sum up, the glossier the finish, the more hard-wearing it will be and the easier it will be to clean. But the drawback is that, due to having less pigmentation overall, glossy finishes are less effective at hiding crude knicks and various wall marks you ultimately hope to cover up.
The trick is to find a balance between durability and a clean aesthetic. For example, if your living room has a constant flow of people, kids, and pets, then you may want to consider a glossier finish over a matte finish.
In a bedroom where there is less incidence of hands touching walls, a matte finish may work just fine.
Where to Use Semi-Gloss Paint?
Besides being shiny and durable, semi-gloss paint is non-porous. This means that semi-gloss is:
- Resistant to moisture
- Easy to clean without damage because it’s moisture resistant
While semi-gloss is not great for covering an entire living room wall because it may ultimately make it look dirtier, its resistance to water and moisture make it ideal for rooms that tend to see high levels of humidity.
For example, areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens are prime areas to use semi-gloss paint. Moreover, semi-gloss is nice for areas that need frequent cleaning, like kids’ play areas, because it’s so easy to wipe down without causing damage to the paint.
Furthermore, semi-gloss is ideal for high traffic indoor spaces like hallways and doorways. And because semi-gloss is so durable, it can endure rough weather which makes it a great option to finish exterior areas of a home.
Window sills, metal light posts, and garage doors are also excellent areas for using a semi-gloss finish.
Best Paint Finish For Living Room
If you’re keen on the glossy look of semi-gloss paint for your living room, then you can opt to use a satin finish instead. Rather, satin is better than semi-gloss to coat the walls of your living room, as it’s more versatile and is also better at hiding imperfections.
Satin paint has a softer sheen but, like semi-gloss, is moisture resistant, durable, and easy to maintain. Moreover, satin finish is better at covering problem spots on living room walls while being durable enough to withstand the medium volume of living room traffic without wear.
Satin paint is almost the same as semi-gloss except it’s a better option for these reasons to use on living room walls. However, semi-gloss paint may be used in the living room too, as a way to highlight trim, molding, window panes, woodwork, doors, and doorways.
Therefore, using semi-gloss in a living room is more than okay when it’s used to accent furnishings and spaces rather than covering large surfaces.