I bought a gallon of satin paint but I wish it was semi-gloss. Could I add a quart of high-gloss paint in the same color, mix it real well, and expect the mixture to be a semi-gloss paint?

The color is black (true black).

OR, should I do the first coat with my satin paint, and then the second coat in a semi-gloss. 1 quart should cover it. Paint is expensive and I'm on a budget...


  • I would use the semi-gloss as a top coat. I believe the satin will dominate and essentially eliminate the gloss for the semi gloss. ( True black - is interesting; Long ago when I painted a car black, the body shop guy said I had 44 choices of "black" in auto finishes.) Nov 22, 2021 at 17:02
  • Are they the same chemistry? IE you're not mixing water-based and oil based paint ? (guess how I know this)
    – Criggie
    Nov 23, 2021 at 4:04

3 Answers 3


Mixing paints of different sheen to get a specific sheen can be done but it will be hard to match in the future.

The desired sheen is obtained by amount of binder and pigment in the paint, and mixing paints with different sheen does allow you to shift the sheen without compromising the chemical properties of the paint.

When repaired patches are later re-painted with a mismatched sheen you get what is called "flashing": depending on how the light falls in the room you'll see dull/flat or wet/shiny looking patches.

It is better to apply the wrong sheen as the first few coats and finish with the desired sheen. Then if you ever need to patch up in the future with some new paint you know it will match perfectly.

For mixing sheens you'd have to experiment with ratios, and you might end up needing much more of one paint than the other, making the paint purchase inefficient for small quantities and when on a budget.

Colour perception and sheen perception depend on each other, and you'd have to let the paint dry for every experiment before deciding on a ratio. This can be cumbersome if you are critical.

  • 3
    I always thought 'repaired bits' were done by saving, in a cellar, the tail-end of every can of paint you have ever used since you moved in, in 1976... unlabelled, of course ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 22, 2021 at 18:11
  • 1
    @Tetsujin oh man, except for the year ... so accurate!
    – P2000
    Nov 22, 2021 at 18:58
  • I had a revelation about a decade ago - I introduced labelling… and threw out all the old crunchy ones ;) Last couple of times I needed a patch… I actually could find one!!!
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 22, 2021 at 19:18
  • doing any touch-up work usually results in some flashing, even if you use the exact same paint that was applied originally. As gloss level increases, the flashing effect is magnified. You can get away with it with passable results on flat and eggshell finishes, and maybe small spots of satin in areas with lower light, but higher gloss usually sticks out badly. Walls that get direct sunlight or are under heavy artificial lighting (especially if viewed at a very sharp angle) are going to be problematic no matter what.
    – Z4-tier
    Nov 23, 2021 at 6:30

The rule of thumb is you can mix any two that are next to each other on this list:-

  • Gloss

  • Semi Gloss

  • Satin

  • Eggshell

  • Flat

The reasoning is that the further they're separated, the harder they are to mix. Perhaps if you spent the entire afternoon with your stirrer/whisk you might get there.
The same rule of thumb says the more matt finish will dominate. To get halfway between, you need a 2:1 ratio of the shiniest.
I'd take it one further & add they have to be the same make, or at least the same approximate composition. Imagine trying to mix a full oil gloss & an emulsion;)

If you paint one over the other, the end result will be whatever you painted last.

tbh, if you just bought it, take it back & get the one you actually want.

  • 1
    "take it back" probably won't work if it was a custom mix - which covers most everything in many places except the most basic "Realtor white", unless it was defective (e.g., a written order said semi-gloss but they delivered satin). Nov 22, 2021 at 17:28
  • Sure, but however many blacks there are, the chances of needing a custom are pretty remote;)
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 22, 2021 at 17:30
  • Interesting. It looks like at least Home Depot does consider black to be a standard color, though not clear how much is actually "mix it up to standard colors when ordered" vs. "stocked from the factory in standard colors". Nov 22, 2021 at 17:39
  • I've never tried to have black mixed, I've only ever just picked it up off the shelf. Possibly they could do both, I've just never considered I need a finer selection of blacks. I don't know Home Depot or how they operate, they're North America only. [I always find it amusing they picked bright orange, the same as the UK's B&Q, opened a decade earlier. Maybe it conveys 'builder authority' like a fluory jacket ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 22, 2021 at 17:50
  • 1
    I don't know why they picked orange. But they probably figured they needed to pick a big and bold color. Red is already used by too many (e.g., Staples and Office Depot come to mind), Lowes is Blue (but I don't know which came first) and Green screams "environmental". Nov 22, 2021 at 17:54

In my opinion paint the gloss over the matte. I just did this same thing in my hallway. My trim was semi gloss pearl white. I bought pearl white satin for the hall doors bc I couldn't remember what the sheen was . I tried mixing the two and you could see streaks on the doors where part looked 'wet' and others dry bc I couldn't stir it enough to mix it completely. So I just did top coats in the semi gloss so I could buy less of it so I didn't waste a bunch of money and I used the satin white for the first two coats (white covering a darker shade so three to four coats needed) def the top coat worked best and was really close to my semi gloss trim! Hope this helps.

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