Painting 101- What sheen do I use?

Paint sheens.jpg

So, you're at the paint store, standing in front of 146 shades of cream, trying to decide exactly which one will work best with your floors. Just when you finally think you've found the perfect paint, Ice Milk, you start to realize you have no idea what sheen to paint. You ask someone in the store and they quickly respond, "My house is all flat and I love it!" But will you? Chances are a big, fat NO! Let me tell you why, as I explain to you the wonderful world of paint sheens!

The average paint brand makes a few basic sheens. Some have a few extras thrown in for good measure. The very basics are:

FLAT                EGGSHELL                 SATIN                SEMI-GLOSS                HIGH GLOSS

Benjamin Moore makes -     PEARL    

It falls in between Eggshell and Satin. 

As a designer I NEVER recommend Flat paint to a client for anything other than the ceiling, which automatically comes in Flat, unless you order something other than ceiling paint to paint your ceiling. Don't- because they make Ceiling specific paint to make your life easier- just tell them it's for the ceiling and what color you want.

Flat paint is dull and lifeless on a wall, no matter what color you use. Worse than that, it's far too difficult to wipe clean. Walls get dirty very easily- finger prints, rubs against it, dirt marks, grease, kids and pets. Any paint with a sheen ( a bit of shininess) makes it easier to wipe off. Obviously the shinier, the easier... but that doesn't mean your walls should all be glossy.

The next sheen is Eggshell and well, it actually resembles the outside of an egg's shell. It has little to no sheen. It's one step above a flat. It used to be the most popular sheen, because most people, other than designers, didn't really understand many others. It has a slightly better clean-ability than flat, yet still is a bit difficult to clean with a sponge rubbing back and forth or using many cleaners, which can possibly stain or remove the pain.

Satin is my favorite sheen of paint. It has a nice shine to it without being too in your face shiny, like good old semi-gloss, which is what we used to specify for every kitchen and bathroom in America back in the day, because it's all we had. Satin is extremely durable and offers a strong, wipe-able surface to make cleaning your walls a breeze! I specify Satin for all of my client's walls throughout the home. It makes things easy for my painter and easy for my clients when they are buying their own paint.

Semi-gloss and Gloss or High Gloss are rarely used in homes anymore, unless on trim or accents. I love the contrast of using Satin on the walls and then semi-gloss on any trim work throughout the house- meaning the baseboards, casings ans window sills. High Gloss is only really used for an ultra-modern look. You find it on super shiny cabinets or furniture, but rarely on walls, because it takes many coats to get it looking perfect and it takes a very long time to dry. 


sheen stripes.jpg

Combining a low sheen, such as Eggshell or Satin and a high sheen, such as Semi-Gloss or Gloss on one wall in the same paint color, can create a beautiful wall. Use the combo to make stripes or patterns. Have fun with the tone on tone look.

That's pretty much it. Now you know the basics of paint sheens. Try these tips in your home. If you need help selecting paint colors, I do whole home paint consultations for just $350.00. If you need me to select 5 paint colors or less, I do that for just $250.00. I provide you with a Color Selection Sheet with all color names and numbers, including any notes for each room. You also get the paint swatches for each color and I can even mark the walls for your paint contractor. I save a copy of your Paint Selection Sheet, should you ever lose yours or need to refer back to a color. I have plenty of references from extremely happy clients. Reach me at 347-262-5713 or check out my website at  

Kids Styles- A Frou Frou French Nursery & Modern Little Man's Room

Today I have the honor of being part of Olioboard's 1st monthly Monday Blog Hop. Myself and nine other designers have the distict pleasure of rolling out some of our tricks and design ideas and create a nursery and/ or kid's space. The idea behind our Blog Hop is that you will "hop" from blog to blog, checing out all that us designers have to offer in great design, creative thinking and enjoyable writing. So many of us have great blogs where we write regular content about our lives, our projects and tasty tid bits related to our colorful and inventive world of interior design. As a personal experience, I enjoy my connection to many of these diverse designers, getting to know their styles and personalities through our exchanges on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. I hope you will get to know and enjoy them as much as I do!

I have a tendency to challenge myself to go against the grain when I'm presented with a design inquiry and this time was no different. Olioboard has asked us to create a nursery or kid's room to wow you with. I always enjoy creating kid's rooms. It's the one space where, even if homeowners are scared to use color for their own space, they let loose and go Crayola for their kids. And kid's rooms should be fun, energetic and bright...but, that doesn't mean that you can't also create a sophisticated space for a baby that highlights one controlled color.

In my 'Petite Sophisticate Twins Nursery' I've taken stark neutrals and softened them up with a beautiful pastel. I very rarely leave a wall white (actually NEVER), but for this one room I went classic white and added panels for a regal look. My inspiration for this space was the amazing, luxe heart shaped twin crib set that I found at I LOVE using unique pieces when my client has such a budget. Olioboard allows me to create moodboards for rooms that I create for my clients, but also allows me to make "dream rooms" like this one; although I'm open to do a room just like this for you if you want one! :-)

Gray continues to be a hot NON-color for the coming seasons and has replaced brown as the go-with-all neutral. Here it creates the perfect balance between the blank white walls and the rich darkness of the bold, black furnishings and accessories. The dresser on the back wall is a repurposed 1970's or 80's piece that many of you still have today. A nice satin coat of black spray paint and fresh new knobs will update your old piece and this piece in particular fits in well with it's French Provincial look. Add to this luxurious look with black sprayed frames in different, ornate styles and use them open (like shown) or frame family photos or even fabric or decorative papers in gray and powder puff pink. And speaking of pink, the lightest shade of this pretty girl's mainstay adorns the dual hampers by the window, a soft shag rug and accents throughout the room that can easily transition into other colored pieces as time goes on and tastes change. 

Although I finished my design, I began to create another room fit for a modern prince (all while watching the season premiere of True Blood, so I'm surprised the room is not red). Again, I went against my norm. I rarely use the typical boy/ girl blue/ pink thing! I prefer alternative colors to define gender or not define it at all! Yet here, I played with blue and brown, inspired by this fantastic modern updo of a mid-century styled dresser. I love the random color pops on the drawers. 

I love to play with paint. On a recent client's home, I painted an apple green square (see 2 Weeks in The Life of a Small Design Job series on my blog). I've done stripes and chevron, circles and squiggles, all with paint or wallpaper. Walls are a canvas just calling for creativity. There really aren't many rules- it just has to look good! On this 'Little Boy Blue's Modern Bedroom' I made random stripes in the contrasting brown against a baby blue wall. It makes the blue a bit more grown up, yet still fun.

Think outside the box when it comes to walls. I have taken phrases we often tell our children and carrried it onto the wall for a great Typography style. Just handwrite your words along very straight lines to create this look. There doesn't always have to be a theme to a space. Simple and clean lines make rooms look clutter free. If your space is a little less modern, work in the alternative castle bookcase, or fun, blue toychest. Go over to and create a fun nursery or kid's room of your own! If you do, I'd love to see it, so please post a link in the comment section below. 

I hope you enjoyed the little look into my creative mind and what you can do with a nursery space. regardless of your budget, there are ideas within this design that are easily adaptable into your space. Please take a little time and see what some of my colleagues have come up with for their nursery and kid's rooms. Click on the links below and hop on over to see them!

Dabble in Chic -

Design Magnifique -

Fashion House Interiors -

Focal Point Blog -

Jennifer Reynolds Interiors -

Pinklet and C -

Push Interiors -

Selma Hammer Designs - 

Stacy Naquin Interiors -



Using Olioboard in My World of Design

To many of you, who already know and love olioboard, this is just another blog post praising our new "holy grail" of design tools. For me, this is a long overdue explanation of the many ways in which I use to enhance what I do in my interior design company, Fashion House Interior Design Co, LLC. I have been meaning to do my own shrine on my blog to my new favorite toy for some time now, but I have been so busy using it, that I have not had the time to write! It's amazing the amount of work you can get done when certain tasks that were once a time consuming nuisance, become a little easier to accomplish!

For those of you who may not know, is an amazing website where homeowners can go to to voice their style by creating a 2-D inspiration board for the furnishings and accessories they'd love for a space within their home. But, it can also be so much more than that! A user can also take background images, such as those you find in the website's inventory, or even use your own actual space, and on that canvas you can create an entirely new room, by using the furniture and accessories on the site or you can download your own, from virtually any website. In my short time using olioboard, I've found it to be an ingenious tool that has become an intricate part of my business model and how I work with my clients. Here are just some of the ways in which I use my new found toy...


Presentation Boards

One of the most important parts of what I do is the aesthetic presentation of my ideas for a client's space. It's the largest "wow" factor for them and they appreciate the details I display in conceptualizing my plans. In order to do this, I create a floorplan and hand renderings of their future space along with high quality photos of furnishings, lighting and accessories, fabric samples, flooring and wall samples and a color palette. Normally I do this for them on a large presentation board and, although beautiful, I often work with clients who live out of town and there's no way to scan a 3' wide board and email them the pictures. I would normally have to deconstruct portions of my hard work to make them digital or copy and paste my products to a word format (nothing pretty about that!). 

Olioboard allows me to create a digital presentation board for my clients that incorporates high resolution photos of every piece I plan to incorporate into their design. With a pro account, I can add words to explain my vision and even show the color palette. Olioboard currently has a full array of Benjamin Moore paint colors to compliment your board. I happen to use Sherwin Williams for all of my Arizona interior design clients, but that's no problem either. I can have any color I desire custom matched from Benjamin Moore to any paint brand my clients prefer. Now my clear, concise board is portable, scanable and easily changeable, should the need arise to swap out one piece of furniture for another!


Client Inquiries-

It often happens that a client will call me to consult on a particular item they wish to incorporate within their existing space. A few months ago, a former client called me to help "talk him out of" what was going to become a major design mistake within his condo living room. He had just purchased a new sofa he got for a steal, but he wanted to make sure it would work with the egg shaped coffee table he had always desired for his space.


By using Olioboard, I was able to show him that his sofa and potential coffee table were a terrible match. He emailed me a picture of his current space with his new sofa and I added the egg table in front of his sofa so he could see that the lines of each piece together didn't work well. After presenting a few other options, as well as offering ideas for the rest of his room, he made peace with going another route for a coffee table.

Blogging & Teaching Tool-

My blogs come to life by using "real life examples" of what I'm discussing. Olioboard allows me to show my readers exactly what I mean, by importing a sofa and then showing 4 different options for a coffee table or taking one room and showing it in two different styles. With I have endless options of how I wish to get my point across, and can show you these options without spending hours drawing them or searching for photos that may be similar to what I want to show, yet not quite it.

E-Design by 'Room Design In A Box'

My most favorite way to use Olioboard is with my online interior design business Although I am an Arizona interior designer, my online business allows me to design spaces for clients all over the country. I began this business in 2007, out of necessity. A client whose home I had just remodeled here in Phoenix had just gotten a job offer in which she needed to relocate to Pennyslvania. She was renting an apartment there for the year she would live there and then was to relocate again to Michigan. I had her send me photos of her rooms and basic measurements. Knowing her style, I offered a shopping list for her to purchase all of the items she needed to make her space a home and she did her own DIY Design. Through the power of the internet I found a combination of stores close to her home and online sources for her to get her furnishings. It worked so well, that Room Design In A Box was soon born. Since that time and thanks to the birth of a new generation of DIY homeowners, Room Design In A Box has grown in popularity! You just can't beat the space planning, design assistance and recommendations of an interior designer in your ear to help you avoid the costly mistakes of going it alone when designing your space. When you realize how much money and time you'll save, $350.00 is WELL worth it!

I have only yet begun to scratch the surface as to the many ways I can incorporate Olioboard into my design business. I have to admit, it has been fun figuring it out. For me, is like that brand new toy you don't want to put down! If you are a fellow designer, I highly recommend you give it a try. If you are a homeowner who would like to dream up incredible spaces, it's the perfect place to do so! 

If you are a homeowner who sees the potential of all that Olioboard has to offer, but just don't have the time, patience of understanding of how to create your perfect space, but don't mind putting together the end result, consider working with me on your room by using Room Design In A Box