Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gloss or Matte?

My eye always goes towards sparkly things. And today, that sparkly thing is the trend of High Gloss walls. At first, paint sheen seems like a minor design consideration - especially compared with color. But picking the ideal sheen for a paint job involves important visual and functional considerations.

As a practical matter, high-sheen or glossy surfaces are typically easier to keep clean. These paint formulations traditionally produce the toughest and most stain-resistant finishes - that's why high-gloss finishes are common in bathrooms, high-traffic areas and kids' rooms. Aesthetically speaking, sheen or gloss does draw attention to the surface and even smallest of flaws, especially indoors. If the intention is to hide or downplay a space, high-sheen paint should be avoided.

Most brands of paint come in several sheens, and both latex and oil-based paints are available in different sheen levels. Gloss sheens have the highest light-reflective characteristics, while flat or matte sheens have the lowest lustre.

Glossed Over
Glossy finishes draw the eye – so where should they be used? The most often uses are for craft projects, automotive or outdoor uses, as gloss sheens dry harder than any of the others. And, just as their name implies, hardens to a very shiny finish, making it difficult to justify using in most indoor applications. Many paint brands do not even carry standard gloss bases in their indoor paints.

Higher-gloss paint finishes can also help brighten dark spaces. Under most common lighting conditions, a high-gloss sheen should be avoided due to excessive glare. A dark space requires a lot of artificial lighting, and high-sheen walls catch and reflect all that light. Glossy paints have a thick, shiny film which develops on top of the paint and keeps water, mold and mildew from penetrating the surface, making it easily cleanable.

Striking a Flat Note
Flat paints, also known as matte paints, are a valuable design tool - when used correctly. Flat paints will have practically no shine to them after they have dried. Because they are not reflective, they tend to conceal surface blemishes better than paints with more sheen. In a visual sense, these finishes effectively "smooth" walls that are dented or rough. And, since flat finishes actually deflect attention from surfaces, flat paints are a great choice for ceilings or other surfaces you want to downplay.

Unlike paints with higher sheen, a non-reflective, flat paint finish has a porous texture, which can trap dirt, oils and results in burnishing when scrubbed or rubbed. While many homeowners choose a flat paint because of its smooth, dull appearance, be warned that flat paint, in most cases, collects dirt, and is not scrubbable. Unfortunately, stains are often difficult to remove from flat finishes.

One last option: in-between
With four levels of sheen available in most products, designers can usually find a paint finish that matches their vision. But, if a manufacturer's sheen does not work aesthetically for a particular project, consider mixing two sheens together to get a custom sheen or an "in-between finish."

What do you favor, gloss or matte?

1 comment:

Kitchen Cabinets said...

Its really a great demonstration. very helpful and informative post. Great !

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