How your surface finishes will impact your lighting

One of the initial inquiries posed by a lighting designer is often: "What surface finishes will be utilized?"

Light reflects differently off various surfaces, and this characteristic significantly influences the style and quantity of light fixtures incorporated into any lighting design.

What is Light Reflectance Value (LRV)?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is a scale that quantifies the extent to which usable light is reflected when a surface is illuminated.

LRV is measured on a scale from 0% to 100%, with 0% indicating no visible light reflection and 100% representing total light reflection.

Why Does LRV Matter?

The seemingly simple aesthetic choice of surface finishes can wield a substantial impact on the illumination of space when a surface's LRV shifts from high to low or vice versa.

For instance, imagine a meticulously crafted coffered ceiling painted in white. It has the potential to provide effective general lighting to a room due to the high LRV of white paint.

However, if you change the ceiling colour to black, a hue with a very low LRV, most of the light produced by the coffered ceiling will be absorbed. Consequently, there will be minimal usable light in the space below.

Likewise, a gentle, diffused glow intended to emanate from beneath cabinetry onto a matte tiled floor can transform into a harsh line of light if the tiles are swapped for a glossy finish without appropriate adjustments to the lighting selection.

How to Achieve Optimal Results

Above all, maintaining an ongoing collaboration with an experienced lighting professional throughout your project is essential.

Comprehending interior surfaces and their light reflectance characteristics forms a foundational aspect of any successful lighting design. An experienced lighting professional will provide guidance in choosing suitable luminaires to attain the desired ambience you seek.