Sheen is the luster of a surface. High gloss paint provides the greatest sheen of the paints generally used for interiors, surpassing flat, eggshell, satin and semi-gloss paints in its ability to reflect light. Because of its sheen, high gloss paint draws attention to the surface on which it is painted and is often used on decorative molding and the trim around windows and doors. High gloss, however, also makes imperfections in a surface more visible, so surfaces need to be well prepared for a smooth paint job.
Another advantage of high gloss interior paint is its durability. When the high gloss paint is dry, it forms a hard finish, which makes the paint useful for surfaces that are handled frequently. High gloss paint holds up well on doors, trim and cabinets. For this reason it is often used in rooms where the painted surfaces take more abuse, such as the kitchen, bathroom and entry areas.
High gloss interior paint is also waterproof. The high sheen shows fingerprints, but the paint does not absorb dirt and oils like less glossy interior paints. A surface painted with high gloss paint can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Homeowners often choose to use high gloss paint on doors, trim and cabinets in the bathroom where the humidity is greater than other areas of the home. Since it cleans up easily, high gloss paint may also be used on surfaces near other high-traffic areas in a house.
Home interior designers use the reflective quality of high gloss paint as a decorating tool. If used on walls in a room that receives a lot of natural light, the paint may have a glassy or mirror-like appearance. For special effects, paint alternating stripes or diamond shapes of matte and high gloss paint of the same color on a wall as illustrated on the Behr paint website (see References). These effects can give a room a rich, glamorous look.