Below is a list of different types of paint finishes and their best use:
Flat Finish - 0 to 5% gloss. A paint with a flat surface that does not reflect light and generally used on ceilings and walls of formal rooms. Flat finishes are usually non-washable and cleaning is not advised. Great for ceilings.
Matte / Velvet Finish - 5 to 10% gloss. A durable paint with a flat, non-glossy finish usually used for walls. Matte finishes can endure light cleaning, but heavy cleaning is not recommended. Also a good option for ceilings.
Eggshell Finish - 10 to 25% gloss. A durable paint with a low sheen and gloss reminiscent of an eggshell. Eggshell finishes have a slightly higher sheen level than flat, and clean better than flat finishes as they can endure moderate level cleaning. A good option for walls.
Pearl or Satin Finish - 25 to 35% gloss. A durable paint with a smooth, velvety gloss texture. Satin can be used in high traffic areas because it can hold up to heavy cleaning and light scrubbing, and is most often used for doors, windows, and other trim.
Semi-gloss - 35 to 70% gloss. Paint with a semi-gloss finish goes on smoothly and has a nice gleam without being too dramatic. Trim, doors, windows and cabinets are the surfaces most often applied with semi-gloss.
Gloss - 70 to 85% gloss. Gloss paint has a has a shinier finish than semi-gloss and is popular for trims, doors and cabinets. However careful attention should be given to prep work and undercoats to create a smooth surface for glossy paint.
High-gloss - 85% gloss and higher. This highly luminous sheen has the greatest amount of gloss and looks almost like plastic. High-gloss paint certainly offers durability and washability, making it ideal for cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. The reflective surface of this paint finish really exaggerates imperfections, so prep work is important to a clean polished look.