Flat paints have the lowest possible sheen or no sheen at all. They provide a muted look and reflect very little light. This helps to minimize surface imperfections while providing a finish that is extremely easy to touch up for future repairs. Flat paints are great for ceilings, low-traffic areas, and areas that will be touched up regularly.
Matte finishes generally have a very slight sheen only noticeable from an angle. They are great for areas where you would like the look of a flat finish but desire a slightly smoother, more durable finish than a typical flat paint.
Low Sheen finishes are great for exterior surfaces because they provide a slightly more durable, dirt resistant finish than a flat without the glare of glossier finishes. For interior walls, low-sheen finishes are generally reserved for commercial spaces where a sheen is desired but touch up will be common.
Eggshell and Satin finishes are most commonly used on interior walls and exterior trim. They hold up to frequent cleanings better than flat or matte finishes and provide a nice sheen level perfect for brightening dimly lit areas.
Semi-Gloss, Gloss, and High Gloss finishes have a highly reflective, glass-like finish, and are generally best for high-traffic areas, trim, doors, and cabinetry and will be the easiest to rinse and clean.