Forget fixtures and fittings, the way you light a room can be just as important to its feel and ambience.


Along with colour and texture, lighting can play a huge role when it comes to the feel of a room. So next time you are creating that special space in your home, shop or business think of lighting as the fourth element of good design; turning colours and textures into a vibrant palette of finishes and materials.

The way that colour appears within an interior is a key element of good lighting and for certain applications the accuracy of colour is vital. From fashion retailers, who are careful to achieve a ‘true’ colour rendering for their merchandising, to grocery stores who feel lighting can add vibrancy and freshness to their produce on display – lighting is key.

Thanks to well chosen lighting, colours burst into life, textures stand out, and finishes have a new sense of depth and vibrancy. But just what is a CRI rating and how can you use this scale to ensure you are choosing the correct LED bulbs? Well, let us explain.

What is CRI?

CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index and every lamp, be it halogen, incandescent, CFL or LED has a CRI rating out of 100. The closer to 100 you go, the better that lamp will be at showing up the true colours of the objects it illuminates.

How Does it Work?

CRI is determined by comparing the appearance of a coloured object under an artificial light source to its appearance under an incandescent light at 100 CRI. The higher the CRI, the better the artificial light source is at rendering colours accurately. The lower the CRI value, the more unnatural colours appear when illuminated by the light source.

How Does CRI Affect Your Lighting?

If your lighting sources have a low score on CRI, the colours of your interior design – including the walls, furniture and soft furnishings – won’t appear as they should. In order for the colourl of your furniture and furnishings to appear as ‘true’ as possible, you want to achieve a CRI closer to 100. This helps the colours in your home to be rendered accurately and true to their original state.

In many cases, this difference is not important. However, for certain applications such as illuminating art or comparing fabric in retail clothing stores, CRI can make all the difference. There is also evidence that high CRI bulbs might be perceived to be brighter which could allow for the installation of lower wattage bulbs to save energy.