A steadfast devotee of chalky matte paint, my idea of a beautiful wall runs more towards plaster and lime wash then anything with a lick of shine. For practical reasons only, I advise my clients and readers to use an eggshell finish solely for its durability in high traffic areas like bathrooms, kitchens, kid’s rooms and occasionally stairwells. Trim of course, is a different story and eggshell, satin, semi gloss or high gloss are fine for that use. Sheen adds reflectivity to walls and in doing so adds the appearance of a milky white film to the surface, the amount of which wanes and waxes based on the amount and direction of light in the room and your angle of incidence viewing the walls. The truest rendition of a painted wall color is viewed in flat or matte paint. Those companies who sell a “washable” matte hold the key to both beauty and longevity for a painted space.
So with amazement I note my interest in the use of high gloss paint in interiors right now. Let me say off the bat that if the light conditions are such that using this paint creates a cacophony of reflected light all over the place, one is guaranteed a headache. It won’t be a pleasant place to spend any time in. However a deeply toned dining room used at night with the soft glow of candles is another story. Researching the spate of glossy “jewel boxes” in today’s shelter magazines, the first thing which becomes apparent is that the most popular color seems to be blue, most often teal. Some of these rooms are indeed glamorous and beautiful. To say one needs to choose room and color extremely carefully is a huge understatement.
Here are some helpful how-to’s:
•If you are putting high gloss on your 4 walls, DON’T put it on your ceiling or your floor – and vice versa. It simply creates much too reflectivity.
•Limit the number of reflective surfaces in the room.
•Try the high shine on some built in millwork, just above a chair rail or some other SECTION of a wall if you don’t want it all glossy.
•Choose colors which lend themselves to the high gloss treatment. Jewel tones look great. So does a warm, not cool, white.
•White is the most reflective color and painted in high gloss the LRV or light reflective value will be off the charts. Use a warm white in a WINDOWLESS space, like a dark hallway.
•Your walls have to be in perfect shape as the gloss will exaggerate its imperfections.
•Try using matte and gloss versions of the same paint color together in some pattern on the wall using stencils.
Here are some successful and less successful examples:
These spaces are too reflective. The glare created will cause the room to be practically unusable.