Explained: LRV Charts (and Why They Are So Important!)

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Light reflectance value calculator, what is the LRV scale, what is a high LRV

Explained: LRV Charts (and Why They Are So Important!)

Creating a user-friendly, compliant and accessible washroom involves fairly complex technical considerations such as the LRV charts we’ll discuss here. Thankfully it’s our job to make this as easy as possible. In fact, it’s all we do.

Aside from – of course - making sure the layout of a room will meet Doc M standards, a measure called Light Reflectance Value is used alongside correct lighting to make sure certain fixtures and surfaces contrast clearly against their surroundings. The simple reason for this is to make sure those with partial sight can find what they need in a room.

How is the difference between two colours measured? By using a chart – known as a LRV chart – to quantify the difference between surfaces reflecting the most light (white = 100% LRV) and those reflecting the least (black = 0 LRV).

LRV Charts and Washroom Design

To be more precise, the Doc M regulations (Vol. 2) themselves describe LRV as “the total quantity of visible light reflected by a surface at all wavelengths and directions when illuminated by a light source”.

An LRV chart is used, then, to put an exact figure on the different shade seen on each surface. When creating an accessible washroom, the crucial consideration is the difference between two surfaces. For example: is the percentage figure from the LRV chart for the wall different enough from the percentage figure for the floor to allow a partially sighted to clearly tell where the boundaries of the room can be found?

To qualify, the two colours have to differ by more than 30 points. Where the surfaces are lit by more than 200 lux, the two colours must differ by a minimum of 20 points. And (to make things extra complex) “where door opening furniture projects beyond the face of the door or otherwise creates enhanced differentiation and shade, a minimum difference in light reflectance value of 15 points is considered adequate” (according, again, to Doc M rules).

To see how LRV fits in alongside measures like hue and chroma this simple overview, and its own notation system, created by the makers of Dulux is very insightful. A glimpse into how LRV is considered by domestic interior designers can be found here.

NYMAS Products and LRV

LRV is one of the key factors at the fore of NYMAS designers’ minds when our accessible washroom fixtures are being created.

That’s why NYMAS products including grab rails, shower seats and complete Doc M packs have often been finished to meet suitable LRV percentages to make contrasting as easy as possible.

Not every fixture requires a strong LRV contrast, but our goal is to provide the products – and advice – professionals need to create an accessible washroom with excellence in every detail.


We’re more than just a supplier.

Because we’ve been at the forefront of the accessible washroom sector for generations, our clients across the retail, estimator, architect, consulting and design sectors often turn to us for help to make the right choice to deliver a washroom that isn’t merely compliant but is design-led, innovative and created with the end-user in mind.

Famously, we stock Doc M ‘all in one’ packs for all budgets, stylish shower seats and accessories for all applications plus every kind of grab rail a project could possibly need.

Our dedicated team’s speciality? Going above and beyond, including support with compliance considerations like LRV, to deliver a superb Doc M accessories experience at every stage of every order.

Questions? Simply contact us to make compliance and accessibility easier than ever.


See also: Selecting the Right NYMAS Product for Any Project, Doc M Compliance Meets Hollywood Style: A Must-See Project


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We have a team of experts specialising in all aspects of inclusive washroom equipment. If you need a comprehensive range, we do it all - and it is all we do!

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We are Doc M compliant

NYMAS Doc M Packs contain all the sanitaryware and fittings to comply with the standards set out in Doc M. They have been approved by LABC to meet local authority requirements. NYMAS only use WRAS approved cistern fittings and brassware, and take great pride in the knowledge that we will only supply approved, quality products to the market.

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"NYMAS are our preferred supplier for all grab rails, toileting equipment and accessories. We find their products of a high standard and their delivery times very prompt."

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