Using The LRV To Help Choose Just The Right Paint Color


Confession time! Just since building our own home a year ago did I discover what the little numbers on paint colors mean. My recently acquired knowledge wouldn’t be such a big deal except that I have been around home building and choosing colors for nearly three decades, so, yes, it’s a biT embarrassing. The little numbers I am talking about represent the Light Reflectance Value (LRV). In a nutshell, the LRV measures the percentage of light a paint color reflects.

Here’s how it works. The LRV is measured on a percentage scale ranging from zero to 100. Zero is absolute back as it absorbs all light. There is zero light reflective value. One hundred is the purest white reflecting 100-percent of light. You can see that the higher the LRV number for the paint means the whiter it is.

Knowing a color’s LRV is helpful when choosing paint for your home or other project. However, I use it to narrow down a selection of colors that could be used in my home or a spec home. I don’t think there is any better method of choosing a paint color than seeing a sample on the wall. Although they are similar colors, the hues can vary a great deal depending on the natural light in the home. My recommendation is to decide the color family you want by looking online, Pinterest, friends’ homes, whatever inspires you. Then, use the LRV number to determine how light you want the color and choose three or four colors to paint a sample on the wall. It is best if you can leave the samples up long enough to look at them at all times of the day.

Let me tell you, our painter has the patience of Job, because he had to make more trips to the paint store than I care to admit. In the end I chose Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray. The LRV is 74.78. It has a lot of white in it, but not so much that the white trim and cabinets blend with the wall.

Check out some inspiration on Don Wise Construction’s website. Give them a call to get started on your dream home today, 918.839.4784.