How Natural Light Affects Your Paint Color


Yellow paint in natural light room


You go to the paint showroom with its beautiful array of color samples and pick the perfect color. You take it home, roll it onto the wall, envisioning how perfect it will look, but there must be a mistake. That is not the color you picked out. The likely culprit is not the paint; it’s the lighting. How can you choose the right color for your walls, considering the natural lighting in your room?


Why does light matter?

Natural light changes throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. This means the light coming into your room also changes throughout the day. Black is the only color that doesn’t reflect light. All other paint colors will reflect the natural light in a room, although in different ways. The closer the color is to white, the more light it will reflect because all other colors absorb some portion of the spectrum. The less natural light in a room, the cooler the paint color would need to be to make the room feel lighter and more spacious.


Light Reflectance Value (LRV)

You will usually find the abbreviation LRV and a number on a paint sample. LRV stands for light reflectance value. This is the value assigned to the amount of light a particular color reflects. Black is the starting point with an LRV of 0%. White is its opposite with an LRV of 100%. This is helpful to aid in your decision if you know the effect you are going for in your room. For a light and airy feel, an LRV of 50 or more would be a good choice. Prefer a cozier, intimate feel? An LRV of below 50 will reflect much less light.


Many other things can affect how a color appears on your walls, including artificial light and bulbs, the direction the room faces, your choice of sheen, and the previous paint color underneath. That’s why it’s helpful to have a professional painter guiding you through choosing the perfect color for your room. Painter Brothers possess the knowledge and expertise to ensure your project is just as you imagined it — or even better. Contact us today for a consultation on your project.