Is Your Paint Too Shiny? Here’s What You Can Do

So, you just finished painting a room and worked hard on it. Perhaps you had certain expectations and don’t feel what you ended up with matched that image you had in mind. Maybe it came out too shiny, and you’re worried that you have to find a new color or completely redo all the work you just completed.

Is your paint too shiny? You can fix it! Here are some things you can do:

  • Use sandpaper to get rid of some of the shine.
  • Put a clear or matte finish over the paint to make it less shiny.
  • If all else fails, you can paint over it.

This article will discuss how you can do these different methods to make your paint look less shiny. We will also explore how to complete them and the level of effort each one will take. Read on to learn how you can make your paint look less shiny.

Use Sandpaper 

Using sandpaper may sound like an out-there option, but it can really help bring down the shine. You can use regular sandpaper or liquid sandpaper, and you will yield the same result. You have to follow different steps if you use the former or the latter.

Either way, you have to hit the whole room or space you painted to take away the shine.

If you are going to use regular sandpaper:

  1. Lay a tarp down to catch the sandpaper residue.
  2. Wash the walls with soap and hot water and dry it with a towel.
  3. Use 400-grit sandpaper to sand the walls.
    • A handheld electric sander may come in handy here.
  4. Use a tack cloth to remove sandpaper residue off the wall.
  5. Sand the wall again if the paint is still too glossy.

If you are going to use liquid sandpaper:

  1. Wear protective gear before getting started (goggles, gloves, tie hair back, keep skin covered).
  2. Wash the walls with soap and hot water, then dry with a towel.
  3. Open the liquid sandpaper bottle and set a thick cloth on top of it. Turn the bottle over, getting the cloth wet. Don’t soak it.
  4. Rub the cloth on your painted walls in a circular motion.
  5. Wash the cloth as you go to get rid of debris. Then let it air dry.
  6. Rub the walls again if it is still too shiny.

Whichever sandpaper you decide to use you will most likely get the same results. It’s just a matter of which items you have on hand or are willing to purchase.

You can order 400-grit sandpaper here, and liquid sandpaper here. Be sure to sand the wall evenly so you don’t have glossy spots intermittently on your wall or other surfaces.

Use a Finishing Coat

If using sandpaper isn’t your thing, you can use a clear or matte finish to take some of the shine off your paint. These are great for metal or wood finishes, which only come in gloss colors.

Simply use a deglosser before applying a clear or matte finish to keep it less shiny. It can also be used on your walls for the same effect.

You’ll follow similar steps to the sandpaper when you prep the wall or metal/wood:

  1. First, set the tarp down to prevent the deglosser or finish from getting onto things you don’t want it to get on.
  2. Wash the surface with soap and hot water. Then dry with a towel
  3. Put one layer of deglosser on the surface then let it dry.
  4. Put on a coat of clear or matte finish and let that dry as well.
  5. You can apply another coat of clear or matte finish if the paint is still too shiny.

You can pick up deglosser here. You can order a clear finish or matte finish depending on what surface you are painting and what kind of look you are going for with your paint.

The process may not come out how you like it with just one coat. You may find that you need to repeat the steps twice or more to get the exact color you’re hoping for.

When you are applying a coat of the clear or matte finish, be sure to keep track of where you started so you don’t overcoat certain areas. This task would be best to do during the day or with a lot of light so you can see the less glossy areas compared to the glossy ones.

If you have any helpful friends, you can invite them over to shorten the time as well!

Repaint It

Another option is to get another paint can with the matte color you prefer and simply repaint your walls or surfaces. If the color is pretty close, then you shouldn’t need to sand or prime the wall. Just clean it with soap and water to make sure you get all any dirt or grease of the wall before applying the new paint. However, a very quick roughing up of the wall with low-grit sandpaper is always a great idea.

You should also paint during the day so you can keep track of what you have already painted. You can put two coats on to cover the old color but may need more if the old color is darker than the new one. Similar to the previous methods, you may need more coats if the old color is still too shiny for your liking.

Depending on how fast you paint, this could be one of the quicker options. You’ll just have to make sure that your wall is clean, and you’ve patched any major scratches or holes in the wall. Your paint won’t look as good or even. Make sure you’ve cleaned and filled any scratches or holes before painting.

Painting Tips

There are always best practices for painting. Whichever method you choose to fix that shiny paint, make sure you follow these standards for good measure (and less clean up!)

  • Prepare and repair your wall before painting. Repainting a wall or surface that has holes or scratches on it will show unless you fill the holes or scratches with filler before you paint.
  • Paint from top to bottom in even strokes. This is especially important with this repainting project. If you’re repainting with a similar color, you don’t want to lose your place and miss covering up any shiny spots.
  • Protect your stuff! If you use the clear or matte finish without a tarp, you can risk paint drops getting onto other pieces that you hadn’t intended. So, if you’re painting your walls and don’t cover furniture or floors with tarp you may very well find paint on more than just your walls.
  • Keep a clear and safe work zone. Move any items you could trip over while painting. Give yourself run of the room!
  • Wear protective gear. Just because you might be using something clear, doesn’t mean you don’t have to protect your skin and clothing. And, if you choose the sanding option, it is very important to shield your lungs from fine particles in the air.


If you end up with a too-shiny surface or wall, all is not lost. There are options to get back to that picture you had in your mind of how you wanted your project to look. Choose the method that works best for you and makes the most sense for whatever you are working on and what kind of space and time you have to get the job done.

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