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Paint Colours & LRV: The Ultimate Guide You Need to Read

Posted on February 27, 2021 by KylieMawdsley

How to Choose a Paint Colour – LRV & Why it Matters

Partner Blog Post: LRV, Paint Colours & YOU

Have you ever painted your walls only to find they looked lighter or darker than you thought they would?

THAT, my friend, is LRV (Light Reflectance Value).

Before we get into the guts n’ the glory, let me say, it took 9 hours, 3 bottles and 17 years of experience to research and write this article. And I’m not even remotely scientifically inclined (more artsy-fartsy inclined), therefore, you’re getting a ‘user-friendly’ KISS version of LRV and how it can affect your room (and your sanity). So, let’s grab a bottle glass of wine and settle down for a bit of a read – just because I’m keeping it simple, doesn’t mean I’m keeping it SHORT!

LRV and paint colours, lighten, darken how it affects them. Kylie M E-design, online color expert and consultant

What is LRV Anyway?

LRV, or Light Reflectance Value, refers to how light or dark a paint colour will look on a scale of 0 (black) to 100 (white). The higher the LRV number is, the lighter the colour is. The lower the LRV number is – the darker the colour is. This can GREATLY affect your room depending on how much natural or artificial light your room gets. ANY colour will look lighter when hit with DIRECT natural or artificial light.

The less light there is in your room, the less light there will be to reflect. So, even if you pick a LIGHT colour with a HIGH LRV, if you don’t give it light to reflect, it won’t rise to the occasion, which goes back to one of my fave sayings (I have about 80)…

If you don't have enough natural or artificial light there is no paint color that will make your room look brighter. Kylie M INteriors

What does that mean? It means that sometimes people pick a light paint colour thinking its high LRV will save their dark room. And sure, the room will look brighter than it would if it were painted a dark colour, but the reality is, you need LIGHT for a colour to come to LIFE! Why? Because the actual SCIENCE of it is that you’re not reaaaally seeing the paint colour that’s on the walls, you’re seeing the COLOUR OF THE LIGHT THAT’S REFLECTED OFF THE WALLS (but that’s getting a lil deep for this meat n’ potatoes blog post).

Benjamin Moore Moutain Air in a country style bedroom. Kylie M Interiors E-decor and Online Colour consulting services

And don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to FIND the LRV of paint colours shortly, but first…

LRV numbers vs value (depth) of paint colours

The LRV ranges below are based on my experience and knowledge, not on actual scientific FACT. This means that while these numbers will give you a GREAT idea of the VALUE of a colour (how light or dark it is), the actual numbers/range I’ve come up with are only approximate – the lines are blurry (but that could also be because I’ve had two glasses of wine). I’ve also rounded the numbers off to save your sanity. This makes me a bit twitchy but makes for MUCH easier learning.

0-10 DARK


20-40 MEDIUM


55-75 LIGHT


80+ WHITE (more like 82, really)

Wine break. Glug glug glug, I mean sip sip sip.

Now, let’s get into the actual LRV ranges. Again, not scientific, just a general reference.



Sherwin Williams Cyberspace (shown below) is pretty damn dark with an LRV of 6. In a WELL-lit space, this colour can look soft, stunning, and a bit lighter and more colourful as the undertones come up. However, in a POORLY lit room, it can look closer to black and loses some of its colour.

Compare the far left to the far right in the photo below. No light = no reflective value…

Family room with stone fireplace, Sherwin Williams Cyberspace, leather, laminate wood flooring, chartreuse chair. Kylie M INteriors E-design and home

In this next photo, notice how Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (LRV 6.3) changes as the amount and quality of LIGHT changes…

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy with beige sectional, best dark blue paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online color consultant

  • Paint colours with a lower LRV will reflect SOME, but not tons of light. Basically, if a colour’s LRV is 10, it’s going to absorb a lot of light and reflect a smaller amount back into the room. If it’s 20 it’s going to reflect more than 10, but still not a lot. If you want a dark colour to look lighter, you need to give it A LOT OF LIGHT.
  • In a bright room, a darker paint colour will appear lighter and you may notice the ‘colour’ and undertones more. This is because you’re giving the paint colour more light to reflect.
  • In a dark room, a dark colour won’t come to life as much and won’t much reflect light (as it hasn’t been given any and it has a low LRV to boot, double-whammy). Dark colours can almost look black-ish in dark rooms


APPROX. 20-55

This is a WIDE range as it covers not only the medium-toned depths but the light-mediums as well.

Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray is a popular medium-toned gray paint colour. It has an LRV of 39, which means that when it’s given light to play with (like shown below) it will lighten up SOME, but not TONS – it doesn’t have a high LRV, it’s a medium-toned paint colour. This ALSO means that in a room without much natural light OR adequate artificial lighting, it may look a bit heavy as the LRV isn’t strong enough to grab the minimal light that it’s offered.

Sherwin Williams Dovetail, a warm gray paint colour. Photography by Jessie Robertson. Kylie M INteriors color consultant and e-decor specialist

Kylie M E-Design and Online Color Consulting

In the above photo, look at the top portion of the walls. See where the natural light HITS Dorian Gray? That’s LRV in action – friggin cool! Dorian Gray looks lighter because it’s reflecting some of that light back, and right there, it looks lighter than it does on the rest of the walls. HOWEVER, if the walls were painted a colour with a HIGHER LRV, the colour would almost disappear in that spot as it would reflect more light and could potentially wash out.

Medium-toned paint colours tend to hold themselves a bit better in SUPER bright rooms as they don’t reflect as much light – they have a lower light reflectance value

In this next photo, Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne (LRV 42.48) does quite well because the room has a good amount of natural light, showing you how a medium-toned paint colour isn’t necessarily too dark if you have enough light to balance it out. It’s also a great example of a colour that could stand up a BIT better in a darker room as it has a bit more colour and less gray in it.

Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne bedroom, beach colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online virtual paint color consulting ecolour

  • Paint colours with medium-range LRV’s reflect a moderate, but not obscene amount of light, especially in the middle of the range. So, while on a small scale, medium-depth colours can look a bit darkish, on a larger scale (wall) they can look a bit lighter if given a reasonable amount of light. AND REMEMBER, the quality of light changes throughout the day, so sample carefully and look at it on all walls in a variety of lights.
  • In a poorly lit room, medium-range LRVs can look quite flat and drab, especially if they’re neutral.
  • 50+ is the range where the paint colours really start reflecting light back into the room. The closer you get to 100, the more light the colour will reflect.
  • In a room with poor lighting, paint colours in the 50+ range will take ANY light they can and reflect it back into the space, but don’t expect any screamin’ glory. Often, it’s better to add a bit more COLOUR to help counteract the shade vs going with a more standard neutral paint colour

Long story short – lighting matters.

The best white paint colors for your room. Benjamin or Sherwin. Edesign, online paint colour services. Diy home decorating ideas blogger.market



This range goes from the light range (heavy lights if they’re close to 55) right up to the WHITE end of things, but they all have the potential to reflect some decent or even OVERWHELMING amount of light back into your space.

If you have a bright room and you partner it with a colour that is lighter (usually 60+ is where you’ll start seeing more activity), you are going to have a LOT of light bouncing around. Why? Well, not only are you giving your walls a lot of light to play with, you’ve chosen a paint colour that likes to REFLECT light as it has a higher LRV.

The higher the LRV of a paint colour is, the more light it’s going to bounce back at you

A space with three types of natural light…

This next photo shows Benjamin Moore Gray Owl (LRV 65.77). Looking right to left, you’ll see three OBVIOUS shifts in depth as each wall space gets a different amount of light reflected onto it.

Hallway with reclaimed wood flooring and white railling. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl and built in bookcase. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color

Read more: Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Gray Owl


The amount of light hitting the left side walls is putting Gray Owl’s LRV of 65.77 to work as the light is reflected back, making it look more like a bright off-white.


This wall is getting a more average amount of natural light, in which Gray Owl looks more like a paint colour with an LRV of 65 should.


This is an extreme – a wall with almost no natural light on it.

And this is why it is so important to look at your paint samples in ALLLL lights on ALLLL walls. BTW, if you’re getting paint samples, I highly recommend THIS vs traditional sample pots.

A darker room without enough natural or artificial light

If you have a dark room, that means there isn’t a lot of light from outside or inside sources. So, even if you choose a colour with a high LRV, the lack of light will affect how bright that colour will look.

A light colour in a bright room will look lighter than the SAME light colour in a DARK room as the light room has more light for the paint colour to play with

Choosing a light paint colour may be a better choice for a dark room if you want to brighten it, but it will not save the day – you need actual LIGHT for the paint colour to play off of and reflect.

This next photo shows a room painted in Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (LRV 55.51). Notice, there isn’t an abundance of natural or artificial light and how that affects the look of Revere Pewter…

revere pewter in a dark room with northern exposure

Whereas in this NEXT photo, the bedroom (painted in Revere Pewter, same as above) has a good amount of natural light on the left side, bringing the look of the paint colour UP and making the room look brighter (the bathroom is Wickham Gray). On the right (entrance to the bathroom), there isn’t as much natural light and you’ll see that Revere Pewter falls a bit more shaded looking again.

Romantic rustic master bedroom and ensuite bathroom. Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and Wickham Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, edecor and online paint colour expert blog

Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Let’s take a look at an off-white like Benjamin Moore Classic Gray, a warm gray. With an LRV of 74.78, it will reflect a considerable amount of light, therefore, lightening and brightening a space. Notice how it washes out on the left side of the photo where it gets direct light and softens up on the wall space behind the vase…

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray is great for home staging. With Escarpment painted vanity and Bianco Drift bathroom countertop by Kylie M Interiors

Paint Colour Review: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray

This next photo shows Benjamin Moore Collingwood 859, which has an LRV of 62.14 (which happens to be my magical LRV number). This means it will reflect light back into your room making an average room with average light look reasonably bright, but still soft. However, even at 62, it can still wash out. As an example of this, look from the far left of the photo to the middle right and see how Collingwood changes its tune…and tone!

LRV and Benjamin Moore Collingwood Gray, warm gray , greige paint colour. Online Color Consultation by Kylie M Interiors. 2 storey entryway, curved stairs, black railing

Paint Colour Review: Benjamin Moore Collingwood

The EVER popular Sherwin Williams Repose Gray (below) has an LRV of 58, so it’s a HEAVIER light depth. If you have average lighting (natural/artificial), it’s a good choice for most rooms. If your room doesn’t have great lighting, you might want to look for something just a wee smidge higher (62+) or even more colourful to add some visual interest. While I’ve said that you can go as low as 55 in the light range, those would be DARKER looking light colours for sure – there is a range.

The Best Paint Number For Your Home– 62

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray with LRV. Living room design by Kylie M Interiors

Paint Colour Review: All About Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

  • Paint colours with a higher LRVs will have the potential to reflect A LOT of light (particularly the 70+ range). Again, if you don’t give them light, they’ll have nothing to reflect on.
  • Paint colours with a higher LRV can look brighter than they do on that wee little paint chip when exposed to an average amount of light. There isn’t much SPACE on that little chip for light to hit, whereas walls have a much larger surface area. The higher the number is, and the more light there is, the lighter the paint colour will look.
  • In a well-lit room, a colour with a high LRV can flash almost TOO light where it gets direct hits of light, but remember, this can change a lot as the day progresses and you have to accommodate the rest of the walls too which might be more shaded!
  • In a poorly lit room, light colours can fall flat and drab, and won’t come to life. You can supplement a bit with less neutral/more colour, but you have to work at it.
  • On a wall that gets direct sunlight, a 50+ lighter colour will lighten up A LOT and the 65+ range can almost look white-ish – but ONLY where the sun hits

Read more: YOUR Best Paint Number!

Read more: LRV, Paint Colours and YOU!

Where do I find the LRV of a paint colour?

For how important LRV is to the average paint buyer, I’m surprised some paint companies haven’t made it EASIER to find it.

So, here are the LRV locations of a few of the popular paint brands (or ask a store employee)…

  • Sherwin Williams: On the back of the fan deck or on the back of colour chips – the BEST place for it!
  • Benjamin Moore: On the Benjamin Moore website on the specific colour page
  • Farrow and Ball: They don’t make it easy, you’ll just want to write customer service
  • Valspar: In the fan deck index
  • Kelly Moore: In the fan deck index
  • Behr: In the fan deck index

Here’s what it looks like on the back of the Sherwin Williams colour strip…

LRV, how to pick paint colours. What is LRV and how to use it in a room

And in the index of the Benjamin Moore fan deck…

how to pick the best paint colour using LRV. What is it and how to use it

Does lightening & darkening a paint colour affect its LRV?

Good question! HECK YES it does, and you can read ALL about it (and more) right here…LRV, Paint Colours and YOU.

So there you have it – LRV in a very big, fat nutshell.

Still not sure what colour to pick? 

Check out my E-BOOKS and Online Colour Consulting Services!

The 3 best blue green paint colours for your room. Benjamin or Sherwin. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting and diy home decor ideas blogger.market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature


The 12 Best WHOLE HOME Gray and Greige Paint Colours

The 8 Best WHOLE HOME Warm Neutral Paint Colours

North, East, South, West: Which Paint Colour is the Best?

Kylie M Interiors     Interior Decorating and Design Ideas Made Affordable     E-decor, E-design, Online Decorating and Colour Consulting services specializing in Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams Paint Colours

Originally written in November 2017, updated March 2019



  1. Wow – even though I have NO NEED to know this (because I have you) I found this really helped me to understand why in the past I made some ‘not so great’ choices. Now that you are my ‘colour guru’ I am spared that agony of choosing right the first time…

    1. Kylie! My friend, it’s been a long time! I have to say, this article is everything. Explaining LRV is nearly impossible….honestly, after decades in the business, I still haven’t wrapped my brain around it, but this is THE ARTICLE to start that brain-wrapping process. I love your writing style and LITERALLY laughed out loud at “glug glug glug … I mean, sip sip sip”. You are the best of the best!!

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        JENNY, this is such an awesome comment – THANK YOU! Yes, I know LRV is kind of MIND-boggling, but it’s like once you get it, you never look at paint colours the same AGAIN! And I’m glad you think I’m funny, I tell my husband and kids that I’m funny all the time and they’re like ‘ermmm, no’.

    1. Oooo, I love Naval Mary Beth – DO IT!!! And send me photos 😉 I did my dining room in Sherwin Williams Dark Knight for a very short period of time (as I always get bored) and I loooooved it, even though it was deadly dark.


      1. Hi Kylie!
        I am using Naval in the front and back wall of my staircase. My colors are navy, turquoise and lim green. I have tried dancing green, cucumber and aqueduct in my powder room and I don’t like any of them! I have agreeable gray in the main areas. I was thinking I wanted a lime green in there but the above colors are almost neon! There is no natural light in there. HELP!

        1. Hi Melody, thank you for your question! While I’m happy to answer quick and generic questions, when it comes to questions readers have pertaining to their home, I do refer to my Online Consulting.
          This is only because I receive dozens of questions from my readers everyday and just can’t answer them all AND keep up my business!
          If this interests you, please check out my affordable Online Consulting – https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
          Thank you for your understanding and thanks for visiting my site!
          ~Kylie M

  2. Awesome post. I have always struggled with choosing a paint color. Actually, it is in my genes as my mother and sister have the same issue. It takes us four to eight quarts of samples to attempt to get the right color and still sometimes we have to live with the decision. The LRV factor will help make an informed choice and perhaps I can eliminate a test quart or two. What works at one’s house, may not work at another house due to LRV. Thanks, Kylie, for taking the time to do a long post with examples.

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Jill! And just so you know, you can save TONS of money and have way less paint waste by taking your paint chip samples to H.Depot and having them colour match it into their lovely little $3.99 sample pots. Their colour matching isn’t perfect, but darned near close enough to get the idea!

      Good luck 🙂


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  3. Thank you for this post, wonderful information that I needed to help me finally make the correct paint color choices. Unfortunately it has taken me about a dozen cans of paint, hours of labor and lets not mention the cost to figure out that not all paints, brushes, rollers etc are created equal.

  4. I never knew about LVR and this article has been both fascinating and very helpful. We have just purchased a home and the entire interior is a bright white (I suspect close to 100 LVR, ha!). The main floor has a very large south facing window that catches lots of direct light and no shade at all. Ditto an airy entry and stairway. I plan on using warm gray but will be sure to check the LVR first!

  5. Thanks for tbe “411”. I’m trying to pick a paint for my foyer and having a really tough time. I have made so many regrettable choices of the years :(. Then I have to go over them or worst live with it! ( imagine Timothy straw In a very dim powder room) ugh.
    However I have a professional painter coming to do the foyer and I really want to get it right! I feel well armed now. Wish me luck because this color is for life. Lol

    1. Hi Kristin, good question! I’ve found that it’s REALLLLLY hard to find good info re: LRV on the web. So, I base a lot of my info on the info I can find plus personal experience. Basically the lighter a colour is, the higher the LRV is. So, if you were to lighten a colour by 25% the LRV will rise as well. As for the actual percentage, in my experience, 25% lifts it approx. 2-4 points. So if the LRV starts at 55, it might end up around 57/58. To see a more noticeable shift, 40% does the trick. 25% is a pretty subtle shift, 40% is more noticeable.

      I hope that helps!


  6. BRAVO, Kylie, BRAVO! Everyone needs to read this. I have spent so much timing staring at 100 “white paint
    chips” while my husband laughs, “there all white!” No my fiend! And this gets to the bottom of my maddening search for just the correct color. Thank you from the depths of my heart! I’m about to march into SW and annoy someone with this information that is just enough to make me dangerous ????

    1. Wahoo – just the type of email that I like to get! I’m glad you found it helpful and it’s SOOOO true and really they ARE all white – but they’re all different VERSIONS of it (enough to drive you mad, really…)


  7. Does the sheen factor in with lrv? A satin vs egg shell vs a flat paint… A satin should reflect more right? Is there a way to factor this in?

    1. Hi Sarah, that is a GREAT questions. I’d love to give you the smarty pants scientific answer, but I’m afraid there isn’t one. In my experience, yes, sheen will slightly affect LRV, I would say no more than a few points higher, but that can definitely make a difference!

  8. Thanks Kylie. Very well explained. I have been agonising about paint colours for days and I have the whole interior of a house to paint. I’m saving this.
    New Zealand

  9. Hi Kylie –
    I am glad I came across this blog article as it’s proving very helpful in selecting a wall paint color for our whole house remodel. I love the photos I’ve found online of interior walls painted Sherwin Williams Anew Gray. I intended to use this color for my walls and Eider White for the ceilings and kitchen cabinets. However, when we painted a sample on the wall, the Anew Gray seems a little too dark for the amount of light in the house.
    I think this is in part because professional photographers have gotten really good at brightening up photos, which makes for a more beautiful photograph, but not necessarily for helping those of us trying to find the perfect color.
    So, I’ve had SW make a custom blend of 75% Anew Gray (LRV 47) and 25% Eider White (LRV 73). Should I assume that the blend will produce a color with an LRV of about 53.5, or does the math not work quite like that? I think I like the blend, but I’m not sure that going from 47 to 53.5 is really that much different.
    Thanks for the insight you’ve provided in this article and any you might be able to provide for my particular color concern.

  10. Thank you Kylie! This is the single most helpful information I have ever read about paint! This explains why I’m not liking Accessible Beige (which I expected to love) in the rooms of my house with poor lighting. Even though it’s LRV is 58, I need a higher LRV! You just saved me a lot of stress and paint samples! Many thanks!!


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      Well that’s the type of note I like to get – good news! I’m actually working on another one to talk about LRV a bit more as I’ve had several of the same questions come up, so there’s definitely more work to be done on that topic!


  11. Hi Kylie! Have you ever used Benjamin Moore’s Silver Chain? If so I’m wondering what your opinion is on that color. 🙂 Like, dislike, keep it moving?

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      I’ve touched on it with clients, but no one’s jumped on it yet. In some rooms, my clients find it too cold blueish toned whereas in other rooms it gets some green mixed in there. There are just SO many beautiful grays that I find a lot of my clients want grays with less undertones than Silver Chain… 🙂 I love it though!

  12. Wow, thank you so much for such a detailed post Kylie! I have been painting various rooms in my house for so many years and while I knew about undertones and depth, this clearly explains why I had so many “oops” colors!! I am redoing my master bed and bath and this will be so helpful as I could never understand why it always looked so dark with a beige color. I love, love, love Sherwin Williams paints! I love their colors, how they go on walls and trim, and how I can wipe the dirt off of them when my grandson gets his hands on them!! I know my husband will thank you when I don’t have to spend money on 5 different sample paints that don’t look right! I am bookmarking your site, I know I’ll be referencing it for many future projects!!

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      Wahoo, that’s what I like to hear! Once you KNOW better you DO better! And there is always SOOOOO much to learn with paint colours 🙂


  13. Love your blog. I have made so many mistakes with wall paint over the years resulting in a lot of repainting. The information on your site explains why I made those mistakes. The biggest one though is falling in love with a magazine photo. Too many variables to get “the” look in my own home. With your help I’ve found choosing colors that I like as opposed to what’s trendy and the difference in how lighting affects the actual color has saved me a lot of repainting. Keep up the good work!

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      Wow, what a lovely note to get – thank you! I’m so glad you found the info helpful, and now going forward you have some knowledge in your back pocket! And I know, magazines are so deceiving. Everything is so tweaked and edited to PERFECTION that it’s hard to apply to those of us in the real world!

      1. I was feeling homesick after our move with not much natural light in our living room. The room was painted in tan and dark brown colors. I was looking for a paint that would brighten up my space and add a little color The SW BIG CHILL was everything and more. Can’t thank you enough for this post and shedding light on the matter 🙂

  14. Hi Kylie! I have learned so much from your articles!! I do have a couple of questions though. If I want to get H. Depot or Lowes to match BM Gray Owl, will the LRV remain the same?? And what paint finish do you recommend for walls? Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Pearl?? So many choices!
    Thank you!!

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      Hi Ashleigh – yup, if they do the colour match perfectly the LRV will be the same! For walls, I’m a fan of eggshell for the durability. there are some ‘okay’ mattes out there, but generally they aren’t as durable/washable 😉

  15. HI KYLIE,

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  16. Kylie – I just found your old post about LRV and it’s timeless! Thank you for explaining LRV in terms anyone can understand. I can’t wait to put my new-found knowledge to work…and drive myself even further into the insanity of finding THE PERFECT white for every room! lol. Seriously, thank you. 😉

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  17. So very glad I found this article ! Picking paint for new construction and soooooo many choices, this will help me select better but is still overwhelming – lol, saving article. Didn’t even know there was a thing called LRV. Do you have a favorite Sherwin Gray Blue in medium/light LRV?

  18. I have trim and cabinets that are SW Neutral Tan throughout the house. I am trying to select a wall color that would compliment the trim and not blend in with it. I live in Florida, near the beach, so we would like to keep the color light. I am considering the Canvas Tan, but also thinking of the Accessible Beige…but afraid the Accessible Beige may be too dark for the rooms. I appreciate any advice and thank you in advance.

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  19. Hi I left a question twice, In May 2018, just before you left for vacation and I think after your vacation. I was wondering what the colours are on the last picture you have posted on this page. thanks,

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      Hi Karen, thank you for your patience! In the last photo with my ad on it, that is Revere Pewter, but I will note that Revere Pewter rarely looks like that (gray-blue). In the one above it, which might be the one you’re referring to (before the images with the colour names on them, but no actual room photos), that is SW Repose Gray – the one with the beautiful accent chair and tile fireplace. You can see more of that room here…well hot damn, I just realized that while I’ve posted independent photos of this home, I didn’t do a blog post, wow! I’m going to do that…I’m also going to send you an email in the meantime with some photos, so you don’t have to wait!

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  20. I just moved into a manufactured home and of course, it’s full of dark wood paneling. Way too much wood, and too dark for me. One kitchen wall was a dark red, with all the dark cabinets and a dark brown and yellow floor that saw better days 20 years ago. After choosing a white marble with grey streaks for the floor, I chose Behr’s Marquis Sea Ice in a semi-gloss for the walls.. An 18″ square of Periwinkle chalkboard paint for quick notes and Hills of Ireland (also Behr and semi-gloss), for the mouldings, which are a very small yet effective contrast. After reading your article, I understand how the Sea Ice works, and why the green works as a trim, but would not work here as a wall. I like to understand things, so thank you very much for the information. Now I’m going to be checking every paint chip and can for LRV’s. Very nicely written and enjoyable to read.

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  21. I have been laboring over a new paint color decision for our living room, which lacks natural light. Six sample paint swatches and two weeks later I find your blog and youtube videos…mind blown! I’m now looking at colors with a LRV of 60+ , no longer testing paint swatches on the actual wall itself, and don’t feel totally clueless. And if I don’t figure it out soon, I’ll be hiring you for color recommendations. Thanks so much for the great content!

  22. This is great information. I have been struggling to find a color for my staircase. It’s a three floor walk up with no windows. Do you have any advice on what colors can ai use. Is grey too dark.

  23. This is great info! I have a question though. I have Light French Gray in my master. The LRV is 53. My thought is to have the same tone through the house, but a little lighter. If I went with LFG but at 85%, would that make its LRV 15% brighter? I’d love some advice! Thanks!

  24. I realize this post is older but find it fascinating! I would love to know if you have a suggestion for a very light gray for a basement room ? There will be zero natural light unfortunately in this section. Thanks!

  25. Love this article! I was trying to check out the new paint companies Clare Paint and Backdrop. Clare Paint readily displays their LRV values whereas I had to message Backdrop’s customer service to attempt to get this information. Backdrop stated that they “don’t disclose their color information” – can you believe it? ?

    Anyways, have you considered reviewing colors from these companies? They are eco friendly, but are a little pricey.


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      Interesting! I’ve never heard of them, but would be totally turned off using a company that wouldn’t disclose something as straightforward as LRV! Seems strange to me… 🙂

  26. Great post, very informative and I’ve read it through at least three times but I cannot find out if the LRV will change with the quality of the paint that is the same color. For example does Behr Roman Plaster have the same LRV in Premium Plus as it does in Marquee?

    1. Post

      Hi Lorri! Yes, you should get the SAME LRV – same colour same LRV, but you might notice a slight shift in sheen as this can shift in a brand between their different levels of paint. This shift in sheen can make a colour look slightly lighter/darker :).

  27. So, kind of a side question that I thought LRV might address, but doesn’t (now that I’ve read your article)…So, LRV addresses the differences between lights and darks. What is the technical difference between a neutral (with a color undertone) and a color with a (gray or whatever undertone)?

    1. Post

      Oh Greer, I LOVE YOU – no one has ever asked that before! I’m actually writing a course right now and talk about this exact topic in it. The short story is that there IS no definitive line and is VERY OPEN to perception, which is why it’s SO HARD! For example, a lot of people look at a colour like BM Puritan Gray and see it as ‘gray with undertones’, but I’ve had clients find it not gray enough and see too much blue-green. For me, it’s about what’s the OVERTONE or MASS COLOUR – the one you automatically see first when you look at the walls. Again, open to perception, but if you just SEE BLUE, then it’s probably too colourful for you. However, if it could easily pass as gray, then you might be closer to the ‘gray with undertones range’.
      Does that help AT ALL???? Any thoughts you have just holler as it just makes me think harder!

  28. Hi Kylie. I’m trying to choose between BM Balboa Mist (LRV 67) and Collingwood (LRV 62). How much of a difference will 5 points make in a 2 story foyer where the 2nd story does not have a lot of natural light?

    1. Post

      Well, you will notice a shift between the two! For a LOWER light area, I would lean towards Balboa because it is that bit lighter and softer :).

  29. Pingback: Behind the Scenes: Color Reboot Inside My Home

  30. Do you have a blog that lists the Benjamin Moore colors with a LRV of your magic number “62”? Or a list of colors within the magic range?

    1. Post

      Ooooo, say no, that’s a GREAT idea!

      Off the top, BM Collingwood, SW Big Chill, SW On the Rocks, SW Agreeable Gray – just a few to get you started!

  31. Hey Kylie! So glad i stumbled on your post what PERFECT timing OMG! I have a new build i just moved into with very low grade, stark white awful paint that does nothing for my house and honestly it’s so ugly it might just be primer🫤. It’s dreadful and not full of life. Though i personaly love the white walls i have been SO torn between Chantilly Lace & Simply white to repaint it. Is there one you prefer more? I would like to keep the white but the white they used is all wrong and makes it feel very stale vs cozy plus i have kids so i want nice, cozy feel that would bring out that beachy look we desire with all our wood tones. “Most” rooms get natural light throughout the day as the sun changes so i am really stuck on which color would make it feel like home vs a builder grade home.

    Also….i am planning on painting the exterior of my house white as i love the beach cottage looks there too but i am wondering if the LRV matters on the exterior like it does the interior? Can you tell me if this rule still applies.
    I was looking at either Pure White or Snowbound (this will be going over a taupe color house) but after reading your post i am not sure if the LRV matters for outdoors also so it’s not blinding vs beautiful. I have a South facing home and would love a little help before i make a HUGE expensive mistake. Help please! Thank you so much 😊

    1. Post

      Hey Shawna, I can’t answer ALL of your questions, but Chantilly ‘can’ be a bit ‘white white’ and Simply White can come up a touch yellow – both have their place, but when I’m looking at a WHOLE HOME white, it’s often SW Pure White that comes up as it often suits more interior hard finishes (ie. countertop).

      As for the exterior, whites tend to look that BIT whiter, depending on how MUCH light you get, but generally – they’re pretty white. A lot of my clients are shifting to a slightly softer look, like BM White Dove (even Pure White is a bit soft too, creating a nice look). It really all depends on the AMOUNT of light you get as even an off-white could look QUITE BRIGHT!

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