How To Write Homeowners Association Color Covenants

Even if your homeowners association hired a professional interior designer or architect to write the color rules for your community, those rules are very likely flawed. I can help you make corrections so your homeowners association covenants regarding your community’s color palette actually mean something.

Every year I get calls and/or emails about light reflectance value (LRV) and exterior paint colors. Either from a homeowner duking it out with their HOA or representatives from HOAs with technical questions about how LRV works.

Here’s the 2005 post about LRV that started the trend of HOA’s referencing LRV in their covenants:

I tell everyone who calls the same thing. That it’s a mistake to use LRV and LRV only as a color rule for a community’s color palette. Because the only thing LRV speaks to is how light or how dark a color *is*.

I try to explain that what they really want and need is a control for chromaticity. Chromaticity is independent from LRV’s luminance factor. Chromaticity speaks to a different part of color – chromaticity speaks to the color part of color.

HOA Color Guidelines

My favorite example to demonstrate my point is Sherwin Williams’ Lime Rickey on the virtual house above. It has a LRV of 45 and it always falls within HOA LRV guidelines.

When I share that LRV is not the magic bullet of color data they’re wanting it to be, the frustration and disappointment I can sense from them is palpable. They thought they’d walk away from a conversation with me with a clear-cut solution. Instead, I have to deliver the message that they’re only half way to where they want to go.

And I know why there is frustration and disappointment. It’s because up to the point of reaching out to me, they were feeling accomplished for investing the time and effort it takes to understand the basics of LRV and how it works. When I tell them there’s more to the story than just the basics of LRV, they panic a little. To make matters worse, their color situation at hand is usually difficult because of all the challenges that go along with “coloring by committee”. Too many people, too many opinions, not enough correct color information, a big cash outlay to an interior designer or architect, some looming painter deadline, etc.

There are color strategies specifically for HOAs that address not only lightness and darkness but also the colorfulness part of color. Those strategies can be broken down into layman’s terms that anyone can understand —- just like I did with LRV.

I encourage you to contact me so we can discuss how I can help get your color covenants on the right track. You can find me at The Land of Color, • 480-868-8622

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