Unbeatable Prices Lighting House Price Beat Guarantee
Free Tracked Delivery On Orders Over $149*
30 Days Return Risk Free Shopping

What is CRI in Lighting?

What is CRI in Lighting?

Light is one of the most important elements of interior design. Without it, the other elements such as color and texture would have no significant impact. Light sources, whether natural or human-made, can brighten up homes by making colors pop and textures stand out. Lighting adds depth to every design element within a given area. Not to mention, it sets the mood of any living space.

A process called color rendering illustrates how a light source can make color visible to the human eye. It also determines slight variations in color. To better understand the role of lighting in any home, one needs to understand the color rendering index.

Again, the bulbs that are lighting your home can have a tremendous effect on its entire look and feel. So that you can achieve the desired look, let’s delve into color rendering.

What is a Color Rendering Index?

A CRI is a scale ranging from 0 to 100 percent. It measures how accurate a light source is at displaying color.

When a light source reaches the maximum value, which is 100, that means it has the same rendering capability as natural light. It displays colors accurately. That also suggests that the lower the CRI, the more distorted the color perception is. Under a light source with a low CRI value, unnatural colors will be projected. An example of a poorly lit source is one that emits a pale-yellow glow. It completely distorts color that even the human skin may appear yellow under this kind of lighting.

For those seeking a more accurate color rendering capacity, especially to illuminate art pieces, a CRI value of at least 90 will do. It will make a big difference.

Finding a Light Source with Great CRI Value

There are instances where light bulbs with a high CRI value appear so much brighter. For such cases, one can opt for lower-wattage bulbs to be more energy-efficient. Fluorescent, halogen, and metal halide bulbs are a few of options you should consider. Their CRI is close to the maximum value and they can render color accurately.

Note that except for halogen bulbs, these light sources may emit a warm 2800K temperature. To achieve the bluish hue of natural light using incandescent bulbs, you can have them coated with neodymium. Though they can give off that same tone as daylight, their color rendering value will be lower than 90.

LED light bulbs are a more popular option that’s worth looking into as well. They are highly sought after primarily because they are designed to be energy-efficient. As for their color rendering capacity, most LED bulbs have a CRI value of 80 to 90.

Compared to fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are more suited for indoor use. The former often gives off an unnatural look whereas the latter is known for producing a brighter and more natural light output.

CRI and Residential Application

If you’re a homeowner who has put a lot of effort into the design of your personal space, never underestimate the power of lighting. It can make or break your home’s overall look. To make colors and textures pop, you need to consider your light sources’ color rendering capacity. Aside from influencing the appearance of your home, it will also have an effect on your day-to-day tasks. A good light source won’t strain your eyes when you’re reading a book or watching TV.

As a consumer, you ought to know the facts before making a purchase. These days, manufacturers often include necessary information about the light bulb on the packaging. It should include details such as the light bulb’s CRI rating, number of lumens, and efficiency metrics.


Once you learn about the color rendering index, you will know how to identify the best possible light sources for your home. It will make other design elements look sharper and the entire design more cohesive. Plus, a good light source should make it easier for you to carry out your day-to-day tasks. So, don’t forget to check any light source’s color rendering capacity to ensure that your home is well-lit, clearer, and bursting with perfect color.

Sign up to our email list to get 10% discount on your first order