Thursday, October 31, 2013

Choosing a Paint Color: LRV Number

Update: Gooooo Red Sox! What a game. Tired today but totally worth staying up to watch the post game highlights. Warm up the Duck Boats, it's time for a parade! :)

Well, I'm stumped. I'm looking for the right shade of a gray/beige/neutral for our bathroom. I know it must exist, I'm just having the hardest time finding it!

It would make life a lot easier if I just went with something colorful. But you see, that's not how I envision our new bathroom. And while I can usually warm up to a change in plans after reworking them in my head, this one is truly stumping me. I know a warm, light blue would look great in the space. But I don't want a blue bathroom. I want a grey/neutral bathroom. So the search continues.

Some of the colors we've tested include:

Chelsea gray was a little too dark. Rockport gray ended up being way too brownish in our space. I've looked at more grey's on Benjamin Moore's website than I ever knew existed. And 5 samples later, we may have a winner. Stay tuned...

But there's something that J and I found SO helpful (and saved us money from testing even more samples). The LRV number. While we are no experts over here, looking at the Light Reflective Value of the paint color really helped us narrow down our search. What is the LRV you ask? Well, it's the percentage of light reflected from a surface. The higher the LRV, the brighter or more reflective the color. White has an LRV of 100. A really dark color, like Hale Navy has a LRV of 6.98. And this information is listed for each color (at least on SW's and BM's websites)

The LRV of Chelsea gray is 22.81. Another color we originally tested (but that I don't have a pretty picture of) is Sherwin Williams Grayish. This color has an LRV of 61. And we had decided that it was too light in the space.

So as I searched for the perfect color, I ruled out anything lower than 35 or higher than 55 immediately. This really helped narrow down the search.

It's funny, this is probably the only room we'll be able to use a "darker" color in - it's on the south side of our home and gets plenty of natural light. As I mentioned previously (here), we have low ceilings. Any rooms on the front (north) side of our house do not get enough natural light so the dining room color, which is as dark as I would go in that room, has an LRV of 57.11. I find it really hard to tell just how dark a color is online, so reviewing the LRV really helped me visualize the space better.

How do you find the perfect paint color?
I turned to Pinterest and Google images to get an idea of what a paint color might look like, but in the end, the LRV number really was the most useful tool for us.

Happy Halloween!

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