What paint finish should I choose when painting walls and trim in a commercial space?
I get asked this question on almost every project! The more gloss a finish has, the easier it will be to clean dirt off of it. The downside to a glossy finish is that it often magnifies imperfections in the walls that are painted. For trim, I would go with gloss or semi-gloss. Anyplace that hands will regularly touch a finish, such as a handrail or door frame should have a glossier finish. Walls in good condition should be painted an eggshell or satin. I do not ever specify a flat finish for a painted surface.
Keep in mind a chair rail helps protect a wall from chairs rubbing against it, and that wallcovering is also a good option to achieve a more durable finish.
There are also more durable paint finishes such as Scuffmaster. These enhanced paint products will provide unique finish option and greater durability.
Sherwin Williams has a helpful article: http://www.sherwin-williams.com/home-builders/services/paint-technology-and-application/sw-article-pro-consideringshee.html