What is sheen/finish and which one should I be using?

There are several different sheens available across our many lines of paint, and we understand that it can be confusing to try to figure out which one is going to be best for your situation. The "sheen" or "finish" of a paint refers to its level of shine. A glossier sheen such as Pearl or Semi-Gloss is shinier and reflects more light off the painted surface, whereas a Matte or Flat sheen will have little to no reflectivity.

So, what kind of benefits do you get from shiny paint versus a more matte finish? Generally, the glossier the sheen you choose is, the more easily it can be wiped or washed clean if it gets dirty or marked upon. Conversely, the reflectiveness of higher sheen paints make uneven patchwork and textural imperfections more noticeable.

Below, you'll find a list of our available interior sheens and their recommended uses.

  • Flat: This is the least glossy sheen available. It is a great choice for ceilings, but its lack of gloss makes it more difficult to clean up when it gets scuffed.
  • Matte/Ulti-Matte: Another very flat sheen, the matte finish provides a very similar look to a flat finish while still being wipeable in the event of dirt and scuffing. Matte finishes are good for walls in low-traffic areas like studies or bedrooms when a flat look is desired. It is also a good choice for low-medium traffic rooms where the walls have significant amounts of patchwork or unevenness.
  • Eggshell: This is the standard finish used on walls. An eggshell finish has a moderate amount of shine that creates a soft, polished glow. Because it is shinier than matte, the eggshell finish is more washable, while not being so shiny that wall imperfections become very noticeable.
  • Pearl/Satin: Pearl is a medium level finish that works great for walls in high traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms or for use on trim when shinier finishes are not desired. The added shine of the pearl sheen provides added durability and wash against dirt and scuffing.
  • Semi-Gloss: A high sheen finish that creates a smooth, glossy look. Ideal for areas like trim, window frames, doors and railings. Very washable but will show more surface imperfections than lower sheens.
  • High-Gloss: A highly reflective sheen for front doors, trim and other highlights.

How much paint will I need for my project?

The first thing you need to know to figure out how much paint to buy is how much surface you need to cover. Benjamin Moore has its own online resource that will calculate how much paint is needed based on room size, ceiling height and the number of doors and windows. But, figuring out this amount by yourself is fairly easy as well.

In order to find the total surface area of your walls, measure the width of the wall from one end to the other and the height of the wall starting from the top of the baseboard and ending at the ceiling (or at the crown molding, if you have it). Calculate the surface area of the wall by multiplying the width of the wall by the height. Do this for every wall you plan to paint and add the numbers together to get your total surface area.

Now that you know the surface area, you're ready to determine how much paint to buy.

Two coats of paint is recommended for all painting jobs to insure that your coverage is evenly distributed and that the colour representation is accurate. In some cases, an additional coat may be required to bring out the vibrancy of your colour and prevent bleed-through of the previous colour underneath.

In most lines of paint, we have three available sizes. 

  • a Quart (~931 mL) (AKA "Quarter Gallon") will cover roughly 100 sq ft in one coat.
  • a Gallon (~3.72 L) will cover roughly 400 sq ft in one coat.
  • Pail (~18.9 L) (AKA "5-Gallon") will cover roughly 2,000 sq ft in one coat.

Our paint samples are available in pint sizes (~440 mL) that cover approximately 50 sq ft in one coat.