I mentioned about light reflectance value (LRV) for paint colors in a post about how to use the Boysen color fan deck, which has the LRV written for each color at the back of the deck. Simply put, LRV is how much light a surface absorbs or reflects.

Light Reflectance Value (LRV)

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) for Paint Colors | MyBoysen

Light reflectance value (LRV) is largely dependent on color. The scale goes from 0% (absorbs all light) to 100% (reflects all light), with the latter having the most light reflectance. However, there is not a real 0% or 100% LRV, but maybe a 5% of the blackest black and about 90% of the most reflective of white.

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) for Paint Colors | MyBoysen

LRV impacts energy use and lighting. The darker the color, the more it absorbs heat so in a tropical country like the Philippines, choosing white is better for the pocket. Also, with darker colors, there will be more reliance on artificial lighting. Lighter colors reflect more light into the room. This should be a validation for #teamputi.

The LRV of Yellow

There is one color that can go up to an LRV of 90% which is not white, and that is yellow. Yellow is one of the most reflective hue in the color spectrum. The bigger the area that is painted in yellow, the more intense the color becomes exponentially. You may find yourself squinting because of the glare of a huge yellow wall in your home. Where are your sunglasses?

While you were going for a light frothy lemon chiffon look, you may feel you’ve gotten mustard on your wall…which isn’t bad at all when combined well with other colors in the room. But if that wasn’t the intention to begin with, bummer! If it helps you get out of your funk, just think that there are no ugly colors but just wrong combinations. If that doesn’t appease you in the least, go back to the drawing board and try using pops of yellow as suggested in this post.

The Sweet Spot for Light Reflectance Value in Paint Color

Architects and interior designers usually pick a paint color with an LRV of at least 50%. For darker rooms, they suggest to choose an LRV of 65% or higher. Professionals consider LRV in their lighting design. For commercial spaces, like classrooms, museums, banks, or restaurants, they may choose a paint color with an LRV of about 70%.

For homeowners, just be aware that aside from the color itself, the LRV of the paint color you would buy for your home is also important.

So when you are selecting a paint color in a Boysen Mix and Match Station, borrow the Boysen Color Palette fan deck from the dizer then go to the end of the fan deck to see the LRV of the paint color that calls out to you. Ask yourself if it will be good for the area in your home where you’d like to use the paint. Is it a dark room? Get a paint with a higher LRV. Huge room with windows all around? Experiment with a darker paint color.

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) for Paint Colors | MyBoysen

Paint Finishes

Another way to bring light into a room aside from the light reflectance value of a paint color is to choose your paint finish well.

Paint finishes range from high gloss, from a mirror-like look (Duco Finish) to flat. Paint finishes are important for another thing aside from reflecting light, and that is the durability and dirt pick-up resistance of a paint. Check out the infographic in this post.  It shows which surfaces work best with which paint finish. Also you will see the products that Boysen offers for each finish.

If you want to read up on the different paint finishes that Boysen offers, just click on this link.


Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions (https://talkinglions.com). She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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