It flows in and out of trend, but there’s something about shiny surfaces that just keeps us humans coming back for more! This is true of both commercial and domestic room designs. But what is it about gloss and shine that keeps pulling in the attention of home and office designers?
A lot of the appeal of a gloss finish is down to the light reflectivity of this surface. Light optimisation and diffusion is the holy grail of office design. Natural light helps office workers to perform at their best. Under most common lighting conditions, a combination of semigloss sheen and light-colored paint is the best way to brighten a darker office space. However, beware of over-reflectivity. The reason a high-gloss sheen should be treated with some caution is excessive glare. Especially in office situations when natural light is complemented regularly with electric light, direct reflections of artificial lighting can be uncomfortable.
For busy offices, upkeep can be a concern. If this is the case, consider limiting shine for your office design. Satin paints have a slightly higher sheen than mat finishes but are easier to maintain than high gloss finishes. A semi gloss paint will tend to offer a warm finish and provide a greater appearance of depth than either full mat or full gloss paints. However, fully matt paints have a porous texture, which can stain, trap dirt and result in burnishing when scrubbed or rubbed. This is why having a certain amount of shine to your office paint is a wise decision for ongoing maintenance.
Consider how your choice of colour may be affected by the reflectivity of the finish. Light colours will maximise the light dispersal that is such a strength of a gloss finish. If you are using a shiny finish to create contrast, think about vibrancy of colour or how a colour can reinforce your brand. The eye-catching appeal of high-gloss means that this finish is ideal for key colours within a branded scheme. So a bright red gloss trim can sit beautifully with a more muted satin wall.
Of course, gloss doesn’t work everywhere in a building. Because they are non-reflective, matte finishes tend to conceal surface blemishes better than paints with more sheen. So for external walls and ceilings, fully mat finishes are generally preferred. This is because they deflect attention from the surface, often looking great against the high reflectivity of glass or metal. Reflectivity is generally most desirable for internal walls or surfaces. So while shiny surfaces offer great aesthetic benefits, they work best when set against muted ceilings.
Choosing a variation of finishes for your office design will provide a feeling of depth. So consider using gloss paint on the trim of a room that in the main features a satin paint. Also consider the gloss finish of non-painted elements of the office. This means windows or glass panels, wall decor, signage, and desk or reception surfaces. These all work alongside your choice of wall finish to create your finished office concept. So seek contrast for the most striking look.
The naturally eye-catching nature of gloss finishes means that you can use it to direct your office traffic. Using it can highlight design features, social areas or meeting rooms. As office design becomes more interactive and multifunctional, it is a great idea to divide the space using texture and colour. Gloss is a finish that is popular for reception areas and meeting rooms as these are the spaces that see more visitors. Let’s face it, these are the people upon whom we want to make an impression! So don’t be afraid of gloss, embrace it in a focussed way and it will work for you.