What is Light Reflectance Value or LRV?
In simple terms, light reflectance value or LRV indicates how much light is reflected or absorbed from painted surfaces. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 100. If you look at the color chart below, you’ll see that 0 is black because it absorbs all light and heat and 100 is pure white, because it reflects all light. A high LRV means it’s a lighter color and a low LRV means it’s a darker color. Knowing a color’s LRV helps coordinate colors and helps to determine the best source of light for that particular color.
Sources of Light
Lighting can affect the appearance of any given color. You can paint two different rooms with the same color and it will look and feel like two different colors. So how exactly does lighting affect color so drastically? It’s actually pretty simple if you really think about it. There are many different types of light.
Temperatures of Lighting
- Warm White
- Soft White
- Cool White
- Bright White
- Cool White & Bright White: Produces cool, blue light that intensifies blue and greens, but mutes warmer colors.
- Warm White & Soft White: Produces soft, yellow light that tends to fade colors.
- Daylight: This closely resembles natural sunlight allowing the color to show in it’s purest form.
- Natural Sunlight: Even natural sunlight is not consistent. As the sun moves throughout the day, the light changes in intensity thus creating changes in the appearance of the color.
Produces yellow light that intensifies warm colors but tends to dull cooler colors. These bulbs tend to warm up reds and yellows because the wavelengths of the artificial lights is warm.
Produces brighter, white light that is most like sunlight.
To give you an example, “if a client has incandescent light fixtures in a room where they want blue walls, you’ll have to make color adjustments when it comes to picking the paint, such as selecting a blue hue that has been toned with red” explains Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert with the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute.
The higher the gloss level, the higher the light reflectance, meaning more light will bounce off of a surface that’s been painted with a high gloss paint than one with a flat or matte sheen. As a rule, higher gloss paints tend to enrich and brighten color. Use the guide below to choose the right paint sheen for any area! If you need help choosing the right paint color, click here.