Technical Guide Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Lighting Guide | Color Rendering Index (CRI)

What is Color Rendering Index (CRI)?

What is Color Rendering Index (CRI)?

CRI (Color Rendering Index) is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures how accurately it makes colors look compared to natural sunlight. Think of it like a scorecard, where sunlight scores a perfect 100 and represents the maximum possible color accuracy. The higher the CRI value, the better the color rendering capability of the light source. If a light bulb has a CRI of 90, it means colors under that light will look 90% as authentic as they would in natural sunlight.

CRI matters for home lighting because it affects how accurately colors are represented under artificial light. A higher CRI ensures that the colors of walls, furniture, decor, and even food appear true to their natural hues. This can enhance the ambiance, make activities like cooking or makeup application more precise, and ensure that interior design choices are seen as intended. In essence, a high CRI contributes to a more vibrant, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing living environment.


CRI Values explained

  • CRI > 80
  1. This is the minimum score for reasonably authentic color perception and means that colors will look fairly true to their appearance in natural light. It's good for most household applications.

  • CRI > 90
  1. A more "true" light, revealing the authenticity of materials, colors, skin, etc. This light will make colors look very close to how they'd look in sunlight. It's great for areas where color accuracy is important, like a bathroom (for makeup application) or a kitchen.

  • CRI > 95
  1. This is a higher degree of precision and means colors will look almost exactly as they would in natural sunlight. It's excellent for tasks that demand high color accuracy, like art studios and is often used for highlighting artworks, etc.
A CRI of 90 or higher for the dressing room

Which CRI is best for each room in your home?

In general, a higher CRI is preferable for spaces where color accuracy is crucial, while a good baseline for most home rooms is 80.

  • Living and Bedrooms:
  1. CRI of 80 or above for a warm, inviting atmosphere and accurate color perception of decor.

  • Bathrooms and Dressing Rooms:
  1. CRI of 90 or above to ensure precise color representation, crucial for makeup application and outfit choices.

  • Kitchens:
  1. CRI of 85 or above, aiding in clear visibility for food preparation and accurate color representation of ingredients.

  • Home Offices or Study:
  1. CRI of 85 or above for clear visibility during reading and work.

  • Art Studios or Craft Rooms:
  1. CRI of 95 or above to ensure artwork and crafts have true-to-life colors.
See lighting tips and tricks for each room
A CRI of 95 o higher for highlighting Artwork

Kelvin and CRI: Key Factors in Home Lighting

When choosing lights for your home, it's vital to look at both CRI for color accuracy and the Kelvin scale for ambiance. Warm white tones (2700K-3000K) set a cozy mood, while daylight settings (5000K-6500K) invigorate spaces. Balancing a high CRI with the ideal color temperature ensures your space feels both authentic and comfortable.

Learn more about color temperature.

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