Light Reflectance Value & What It Means For Your Colour Choices


LRV reflects your paint colour


Selecting colours for your Residential, Commercial or Strata Painting in Sydney or anywhere in the world can be tricky when you consider just how much there is to think about. Not only can it determine the look, feel and vibe of a particular room, but the colours you choose also go a long way in influencing how much light is reflected around, which makes a huge difference. Thus LRV is one of the most important factors to consider while choosing a paint colour.


What is LRV?

 Light reflectance value (LRV) refers to the amount of light that is reflected off or absorbed by the surface of a wall or ceiling. Different colours and shades have different expected LRVs, meaning that some will better circulate the light that enters a room, which affects the atmosphere and mood of the room considerably.

LRV chart


Theoretically, on one of the LRV scale we have absolute black and the other white, with colour shades that we use in homes obviously laying somewhere between the two extremes. In practice though, the blackest of blacks registers 5%+ LRV while the whitest whites don’t come close to 100%


What is LRV used for?

It goes without saying that home decorating is largely intuitive and based on feel. But matching colours effectively can also have a scientific basis when you consider the LRV of the paint colours you are using. In fact, many professionals including interior designers, colour consultants, painters, decorators and architecture will consider at LRV as a means of calculating the expected light in a room.


LRV is important for other non-aesthetic reasons too. Choosing a colour with a high LRV in a room or corridor will mean it has higher visibility and may not require as many lights, for example. More often than not, buildings that require high visibility will need to fall in the 60-70% LRV range.

If you think of hospitals, which serve a very practical service, most surfaces are painted with high LRV shades and this ensures the highest possible visibility, rather than looking to create a comfortable atmosphere for example


What does this mean for homeowners?

Paint buckets


If you’re doing a DIY paint job or redecorating some rooms in the house, checking out the LRV can be a smart move and ultimately a good starting point. You may be drawn to particular shades or a particular colour palette, and ensuring that it falls within a reasonable LRV is important. LRV charts are usually seen on the back of paint buckets when you buy them at the hardware store, so this already gives you some idea of how the much light will be seen in the room. When you’re comparing different shades, keeping an eye on this can help you make an informed decision. For more households, around 50% is what you should be aiming for, though bathrooms will often be higher.


LRV is a good guideline when thinking about colour selection in your home. Whether it’s for a DIY or professional job, choosing the right combination of colours is never particularly easy! But having a clear idea onhow your chosen paint colours can affect the level of light in your home can make your job easy and can give your home the perfect look!


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