The Best Uses for High-Gloss Paint

Blue painted wall

High-gloss paint is a bold choice for a paint finish. Many homeowners and interior designers like to use high-gloss paint as part of an interior painting project. But the average DIYer often doesn’t understand the best uses for high-gloss paint to achieve a cool, chic effect. Let’s demystify this question.

What is High-Gloss Paint?

High-gloss paint is a paint finish with a high sheen level (70 percent or more), creating a glass-like appearance. It’s known for being durable, shiny, and stain-resistant. It aims to add depth and visual interest to your room or furniture.

Where And How to Use It

Painting hallway
Photo Credit: sturti / Canva Pro / License

Though it’s hard to apply, high-gloss paint can be added to anything you want to give a sleek and shiny look:

High-Traffic Areas

Some areas experience more traffic than others, and thus wear out quicker. High-gloss paint is durable and easy to clean, so scuffs and scrapes don’t affect it.

Below are several high traffic areas that benefit from high-gloss paint:

  • Mudrooms
  • Hallways
  • Entryways
  • Staircases
  • Corridors
  • Lobbies

High Moisture Areas

Areas with high humidity and condensation, like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, have to worry about peeling, mildew, and cracking. High-gloss paint is moisture resistant, so none of these problems bother it.

Before painting high-moisture areas, do the following:

  • Fill in cracks and dents with a filler like drywall compound
  • Sand the surface
  • Remove all dust
  • Get rid of mold


High-gloss paint lets you accent certain pieces of millwork and furniture in a space, especially if they frequently come into contact with food, dirt, and oil. In doing so, it helps them preserve their good looks for many years.

Like high moisture areas, get your furniture as smooth as possible before applying high-gloss paint, which magnifies any flaws and imperfections.


Usually, walls are given a matte finish. However, giving it a high-gloss lacquer finish can drastically change the room’s mood, no matter what it is. There’s nothing like taking a living room or dining room and making it shimmer!

Pros and Cons of High-Gloss Paint

Here are some of its pros (👍) and cons (👎):

(👍) Reflects Light

Glossy paint has a shiny finish that reflects light, making smaller spaces look brighter, larger, and more open. It works great in rooms that don’t get much light, but in a room with excellent natural light, it can give the appearance of light bouncing around the room.

(👍) Easy to Clean

High-gloss paint resists stains, dirt, and moisture, making cleaning easy. Usually, wiping it with a damp cloth will get the job done.

Because glossy finishes are easy to clean, they’re an alternative to certain paints. For example, adding a flat or eggshell finish to white paint is harder to clean than a glossy finish.

(👍) Durable

High-gloss paint is hardwearing and resists scuffs, chipping, nicks, and scrapes. As a result, it protects your walls from wear and tear. Its durability ensures it maintains its vibrant appearance for longer than other paint finishes.

(👍) Moisture Resistant

Glossy finishes repel water and keep moisture from seeping through your walls. Apply high-gloss paint in high-moisture rooms to help them keep their appearance. The higher the moisture content in the air, the more layers you’ll need to apply. 

(👎) Highlights Imperfections

Unlike other finishes, such as matte or eggshell, high-gloss finishes should only be used sparingly. It highlights imperfections like dents and textures, and its light-reflecting qualities can hurt your eyes.

(👎) Hard to Apply

High-gloss paint is the hardest finish to apply. The surface needs a lot of cleaning and sanding to ensure proper adhesion, and the paint needs to be applied with a sprayer (as brushstrokes will stand out due to its high reflectivity), possibly in multiple coats and with great attention to detail.

(👎) Can Be Overwhelming

Because high-gloss paint is so shiny, it can overwhelm the wrong room. It’s meant to supplement your paint job, not replace it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are high-gloss paints so glossy?

High-gloss paints have more resins than pigments. As a result, the paint flows more smoothly and evenly than low resin paints, and it has fewer pigment particles. Combined with the resin coating, it gets a reflective gloss surface.

Why is my high-gloss paint peeling?

Painting over dirty walls, improper preparation, excess moisture, and using latex paint on top of it can cause it to peel.

How can I paint over high-gloss paint?

Rub it with some 240-grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface.

DIY or Hire a Pro

High-gloss paint adds elegance and sophistication to any space. However, applying it isn’t easy, and because it highlights imperfections, it should only be used sparingly. Nevertheless, Paint Gnome can connect you with local pros who are high-gloss paint experts, so let them add it for you.

Main Photo Credit: Max Rahubovskiy from Pexels / Canva Pro / License

Stuart Kushner

Stuart Kushner is a writer and aspiring product designer based in New York City. When he isn’t writing about home improvement projects, Stuart enjoys heavy metal music, exercise, and trying new food and drinks.