Generally we all have an idea of what color we would like to paint a room, right? Green, beige, etc. We know many things about what attributes we want—green but not too yellowy….more moss colored…not too dark. Sound familiar? Then you go to the paint store and study the swatches. Well, learning about the LRV number listed on the swatch may help guide you to the best choice for your room.

LRV is the acronym for Light Reflectance Value. As mentioned, LRV is listed somewhere on the paint swatch. In the picture shown, we photographed a Sher- win Williams fandeck and the LRV is listed on the front. Some confuse this value with the term intensity…but it’s not about the color’s muted quality or clarity. Value is a term used in color specifically speaking to the lightness or darkness of a color.

What is LRV Light Reflectance Value? Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is the total quantity of visible and useable light reflected by a surface in all directions and at all wavelengths when illuminated by a light source. (ref. British Standard BS 8300:2001/A1:2005). Ok so that means, how much light it absorbs (darker) and how much light it reflects (lighter).

To keep things really simple…..the LRV with a lower number will be darker, higher number will be lighter. Remember this is a guideline, not an exact science. If the scale is 0-100….zero being the blackest black and 100 being the whitest white, a good rule of thumb is to be about in the middle. This works will all colors but…can you guess? YELLOW. Yellow is one of the most reflective colors that grows exponentially more vibrant with the quantity of area it covers.

When you commit to painting a room, you want the color to turn out exactly as you pictured it. Understanding the rules behind paint swatches can help you get what you are paying for. Painting a room can update an area in your house pretty easily. If you are looking to really make a difference, contact River Oak Cabinetry and Design to see what we can do for you!

paint swatch