Choosing the right paint color for a room is a definitive moment in the design process. And once you do, it's time to talk paint finishes. From matte to super glossy and every sheen in between, a single paint color can look completely different based on the finish. Today we're spotlighting the most eye-catching of all: High gloss paint and super, super high gloss paint. So if you want something that'll immediately make a statement, whether it's on an accent piece or an entire wall, high gloss paint is the way to go.
High gloss paint is known for being super shiny and light reflecting, giving it an almost mirror-like look. Most designers would consider it a specialty finish, as it creates such a brilliant sheen. Designed by Nick Olsen, the lacquered ceiling is a gorgeous—albeit, unexpected—way to make this living room room feel special.
The glamorous glass-like effect is as difficult to apply as it is beautiful. In fact, it's the hardest to apply out of all the paint finishes. Jessica Barr of Behr Paints suggests using a quarter-inch roller or a high-density foam roller for smaller spots. Designer Alisa Bloom used Hollandlac Brilliant from Fine Paints of Europe to create more depth and character. So it's worth the extra work if you love the look enough. She tells us the hardest part of the process is the sanding involved, as it makes a big mess.
High glosses pair well with any other finish. So you can the use same color in a different sheen for the majority of the wall, and then add a high gloss accent. Or, take note from this jaw-dropping bedroom designed by Brian J. McCarthy and stick to a tight two-color story with the walls in a show-stopping super high gloss paint and the ceiling in a flat white paint. "This finish feels fresh for a guest room, and the surprising pop of color is both warm and chic," he says.
This attic kitchen designed by 2LG Studio is bursting with fun colors. And we have some great news: The cabinets, sink, and taps are all from IKEA. The designers made the Ikea cabinets feel elevated by customizing them with a glossy version of the Inchyra blue paint from Farrow & Ball. They contrast nicely with the matte pink walls. As you can see, high gloss and super gloss paints are great at accentuating accent pieces you really want to stand out, like furniture, doors, or cabinets.
In this living room designed by Studio DB, the narrow wall above the fireplace is painted in a bright white high gloss finish. A pristine white paint may be hard to keep clean in a high-traffic area if you use an eggshell or flat finish. So if you're set on using white, consider a glossy finish instead, as they're easiest to clean. Functionality aside, it also adds a subtle style statement when used in a small area in a neutral tone.
In this dining room, designers Virginia Toledo and Jessica Geller make the architectural details pop even more by covering them in a contrasting high gloss blue. Accents that get a lot of traffic—like in hallways or family rooms—are also go-to candidates for a few coats of high gloss paint because it's super durable. Barr recommends painting your crown moldings, trims, and other features in high-traffic areas in a high gloss of the same hue as the rest of the walls.
There's a flip side to the super light-reflective and statement-making quality of high gloss paint. Especially when it comes to hiding preexisting blemishes on the walls or ceilings. Because there’s an accelerated amount of sheen, you will be able to see the imperfections. That being said, they’re easy to clean, so if you bump or scuff a high gloss paint, it'll be easier to scrub off.
High gloss paints are good for high-moisture areas. But when applying, Bloom advises considering the level of humidity in the room. The higher the moisture in the air, the more coats of paint you'll want to apply. She recommends aiming somewhere between six and eight coats. In this bedroom, the rich, liquidy sheen of a lacquer-like finish bounces light around a dark room. Bloom used Fine Paints of Europe’s Delft Blue 4003 in Hollandlac Brilliant to illuminate this bedroom.