A few weeks back I went on a shopping trip with my sister. She just recently moved and decided to repaint her kitchen. As we were standing in Home Depot waiting for our number to be called, I realized that I had no clue as to what paint finish she needed. Thank God for smartphones and Pinterest is all I have to say. So read this and take away that dumbfounded look you give the Home Depot employee when they ask you what finish you would like.

High Traffic Areas & Living Spaces.


When choosing the right paint for a project, it is important to consider the durability quality of the paint and sheen. Commonly, the higher the sheen, the higher the durability. Therefore, satin and semi-gloss sheens are usually recommended for high-traffic areas where the paint finish needs to withstand multiple scrubbings, scuffs and bumps. Note: there are high quality paints on the market that are specifically created with advanced durability benefits like superior scrub and stain resistance in all sheens. Make sure you ask about this when picking out your paint.

About Those High-Moisture Environments.


Kitchens and bathrooms require paint with mildew-resistance, many people forget this as it is not something you really think about when picking a paint.  Some paint lines have kitchen and bath specialty products and some paint lines offer mildew-resistance in all sheens, which is amazing. Paint has come a long way in the last few years, so picking the right one is a lot more easier. However, once again make sure you discuss your project with your paint supplier to make sure you are getting what you need. 

Do Not Forget Those Finishing Details.

 Ceiling Paint

In common areas like your living room, hallways and bedrooms, flat works best for ceilings. This is because glossy paint tends to accentuate flaws such as uneven walls/ceilings or textures making it far more noticeable. However, if you are painting a bathroom, kitchen or kid’s play room a semi-gloss may be more appropriate considering the high levels of moisture and or accidents that can occur in these areas. REMEMBER: The higher you go in sheen, the easier it will be to clean!!


Satin and semi-gloss sheens are great for trim. These finishes make it easy to clean and stand up quite well.

Prime or not to Prime.


Everyone likes a good science experiment, right? Well I am not 100%  sure if this actually is an experiment, but let’s say it is anyways!

In an inconspicuous area spray some water on the wall (good spot would be behind furniture or artwork). If the water absorbs quickly, a primer will be needed. If the water beads and rolls down the wall without much penetration a primer may not be needed.


Latex or Oil? Not sure? Try this other cool “science” experiment!

Take nail polish remover and apply a small amount of the nail polish remover to a cloth. Wipe the wall in a circular motion, if the paint comes off onto the cloth, then the current coating is latex. If the paint does not come off on the cloth, then the current coating is oil based. Make sure if you are changing paint types you always use primer!

A few other good tips for knowing if you need to prime or not are:

-If you are trying to cover a difficult stain such as water marks or smoke
-Shifting from an extremely dark color to an an extremely light color. This is a must, however, new paint has come out with primer in the paint colour itself. This is an amazing idea, half the work for less time and cost. I have only heard great reviews from primer in paint and have been told Behr paint is the way to go.

Painting Furniture?


A satin to high gloss sheen of paint works great for project like these. However, if there is an existing coating of varnish or lacquer this needs to be removed first! Sanding and priming may be required to dull/remove the sealer or glossiness and prepare the surface prior to painting. Note: Make sure the paint has fully cured before you use the pieces! Read paint labels to know the time needed to fully cure!!

So next time you are asked what finish you need remember this! Do not be afraid to ask questions either, employees are there to help make your project successful. Good Luck!

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