How Lighting Affects Paint Colour
Sun shining through a window in any room of the home creates a warm and cozy space. In the evening we try to recreate that atmosphere by turning on the indoor lighting. The different types of natural light and artificial light affects how the paint colour looks on the walls.
Looking at paint colour chips or samples at your local paint store will not be the same as when you bring them home. Paint colours can look darker or lighter when you have them up on the walls in your house. The time of day or night you look at the paint colour samples is key to knowing how lighting and paint colours are affected in the end result.
Lighting and How it Reflects The Colour of Paint
Light Reflectance Value or LRV can usually be found on the labels of paint cans or on the back of paint chip samples. LRV is the value of how light reflects on the walls where the paint is applied.
LRV is a measurement of how much colour reflects and also absorbs natural or artificial light. On a scale from 0 to 100% where black is at the 0% mark and white is at the 100% mark choosing any paint colours at either end or in between will be based on the LRV. You can use the LRV sample below as a reference to know how light or how dark the colour will look or feel once it is painted onto the walls.
When choosing interior paint colours for your home keep in mind that at the half way mark of 50% LRV which is a common guideline used by painting companies for residential painting . Anything over the 50% means the colour will be much lighter and that it will reflect more light into the room. Below the 50% mark the colours will be darker and absorb more light. Therefore you will need to add the appropriate indoor lighting fixtures and or lamps to create the perfect cozy ambiance.
As an example if you choose to paint a focal wall in a black paint colour you will need to be aware that the depth of the dark colour will absorb all the light in the room and you will need to add extra lighting such as pop lights, lamps or chandelier.
To highlight the look of any room you may want to paint the walls in a colour that is somewhere between the 100% to the 60% or 70% LRV. This would give you a few shades lighter and may not need to add as much extra lighting as you would by using colours with a lower than 50% LRV number.
Next time you are buying paint look at the label or ask the painter you hire what the light reflectance value of the colours you want to use are. Remember that the higher the % of LRV the lighter the colour will be and the lower the LRV % is the dark the paint colour is.
Tips on How To Choose Paint Colours and How Lighting Will Affect The End Interior Painting Results
How we choose paint colours has a lot to do with how they make us feel. Some help us to achieve a feeling of comfort and tranquility, while keeping a modern, contemporary or classic look in our home decor. While some colours help us feel more energy and set the mood that best describes our personality.
While homeowners that do their own DIY painting tend to base their colour choices on a personal basis, most painters, homestagers, interior designers and colour consultants will often recommend colours that are trending in home decor all the while keeping in mind the LRV factor.
When you pick up the paint colour samples at your local Ottawa paint store, bring them home and tape them onto the wall and are trying to decide on whether you are going to go with a darker or lighter shade keep in mind that the lighting affects the final paint colour result. Both the exterior lighting that comes through the windows and the interior lighting you get from table lamps, ceilings fans and other light fixtures around the room.
Don’t be surprised when the colour you have chosen doesn’t look exactly the same as the paint colour sample you brought home from the store. The reason for this is the Light Reflection Value or LRV, which is the amount of light that is reflected or absorbed by the paint on the walls or ceilings. Here’s a perfect explanation of understanding colour from Benjamin Moore Paints . We suggest the following tips when trying to decide on choosing the right paint colour and taking into account how the lighting will affect it.
After deciding on the colour you will use, the next important step is to choose a paint finish. The paint sheen is how much or little the paint shines and it also is affected by the different ways the lighting hits the wall.
The colours we choose will depend on the mood and atmosphere we are wanting to set for the particular room we are painting. Bright paint colours make us happy, while dark bold colours can highlight an accent wall and can make a room feel larger than it really is.
Light, Reflection and Paint Colour
Some of us will choose dark paint colours while others will turn to the neutrals whether they be in beige, blue or gray the choices are endless. Keep in mind the LRV of the shades, tints or hues you choose.
Here are a few bonus suggestions to help guide you with the LRV factor when choosing your next paint colour.
- After choosing the colours you would like to use, bring home the paint samples and tape them up on the walls to be painted.
- You can purchase small cans of paint to use as samples. Paint one or two coats of a small strip on the walls when you get home.
- Leave the sample of the colour up on the walls for at least 24-48 hours, taking notice of how the colour looks in natural day and sunlight as well as throughout the day and into the evening. Take notes on how it looks lighter or darker depending on time of day or night.
- You may also want to invest in the painting services of a painter to provide you with a paint colour consultation and an estimate.