We were surprised at the results of some of our recent field research, which discovered that the knowledge of CRI amongst a lot of people–professionals like specifiers included – was quite low. CRI is valuable for you to understand, especially if you want to make sure your interiors (as well as yourselves!) look their best, as opposed to dull and washed out.

CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index. In simple terms, it measures how vibrant a light source makes colours appear in comparison to the ideal light source – sunlight. CRI is based on a scale of 0 to 100, where sunlight is ranked at a perfect 100.

The closer a light’s CRI rates to 100, the better it will be at displaying colours as they would appear in sunlight.

A light’s CRI can only be compared to another light if they have the same colour temperature, which refers its colour appearance (generally categorized as cool, warm or neutral).

If a light has a CRI of 90 and above, the colours of your interiors will come out beautifully. If a light has a CRI of 80, it won’t be as great but still fairly good. If a light has a CRI of 50, well, you just won’t be doing anyone (or anything) justice.

Be sure to check out a light’s CRI before jumping in and making a purchase to ensure you’re putting your best face forward.

You can learn more about the foundations of lighting design over at our Lighting Guide.