Understanding CRI and why it's important

by Tushar Bhala on August 09, 2023

Lighting is an essential aspect of our lives, influencing how we perceive the world around us. We often focus on factors like brightness and colour temperature when choosing lighting solutions, but another critical factor that deserves attention is the Colour Rendering Index (CRI). In this blog, we'll explore what CRI is, its significance, and its impact on how we see colours under different light sources.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI) —

The Colour Rendering Index, commonly known as CRI, is a quantitative measure used to evaluate how accurately a light source reveals the true colours of objects compared to natural sunlight. It is expressed as a numerical value ranging from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating better colour rendering capabilities.



Understanding CRI Values —


< 50: Poor colour rendering, with colours appearing significantly distorted.

50 – 80: Moderate colour rendering, suitable for general lighting purposes but may not accurately render colours for critical applications.

> 80: Good colour rendering, appropriate for most applications and home lighting, providing reasonably accurate colour representation.

> 90: Excellent colour rendering, ideal for tasks that demand precise colour accuracy, such as art studios and surgical rooms.

The Significance of CRI 

The CRI of a light source plays a vital role in various applications, impacting how we perceive colours, objects, and spaces. Here are some key points highlighting its significance:

Colour Accuracy:

CRI helps ensure that colours appear as close to their true, natural hue as possible under a given light source. For tasks that require accurate colour perception, such as art and design, manufacturing, and healthcare, a high CRI light source is essential. It ensures that colours aren't distorted, enabling better decision-making and visual assessment.

Visual Comfort:

Light sources with high CRI values provide better visual comfort and reduce eye strain. When colours are rendered accurately, our eyes do not need to work as hard to distinguish between objects and their features. This is particularly important in spaces where people spend extended periods, such as offices and homes.


Retail and Commercial Spaces:

In retail settings, a high CRI is crucial to showcase products in their true colours. It enhances the appeal of merchandise and creates a positive shopping experience for customers. Similarly, in commercial spaces like restaurants and hotels, accurate colour rendering contributes to the overall ambiance and guest satisfaction.

The difference between 90+CRI (left) and <70 CRI (right)

The difference between 90+CRI (left) and <70 CRI (right)


Health and Well-being:

Lighting with poor colour rendering can affect our mood and well-being. In spaces like hospitals and nursing homes, where patients spend a significant amount of time, a high CRI can contribute to a more positive and comfortable environment.


Colour Rendering Index (CRI) is a crucial metric in lighting design that determines how accurately a light source renders colours compared to natural daylight. Understanding and considering CRI values in lighting choices can significantly impact colour perception, visual comfort, and the overall ambiance of a space. By choosing lighting solutions with appropriate CRI values, we can create environments that not only look appealing but also enhance our well-being and productivity. 


Contact us for a free guidance and lighting tour at our lighting studio or your home to choose the right lights and CRI which will be specially curated to your needs. 


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