What does CRI mean and why is it important?

Unless you are a seasoned artist, you might not truly understand or appreciate the art of lighting a room. Choosing lights for your space can be quite technical. If you have a certain look you are trying to achieve in a room, restaurant, business, art gallery, etc., it is important to understand the different aspects there are to lights, such as the color rendering index (CRI), and why it’s so important to achieving your goal for the space.


ShowRoom Art Gallery exposition or advertising of object or to u

For some, lighting can be an afterthought, or just simply misunderstood. If you are opening a restaurant, for example, you might want dim lighting which might work great for your space—but it might also create a different environment from what you intended. Or, if you are an artist and are hanging your work in a gallery, the lighting will affect the way your painting is seen by customers and visitors. These risks can easily be solved by understand CRI—here are some key things to know.


CRI essentially refers to how different types of illumination, or light, affected the color of objects as they are perceived when the light hit them. The index provides lighting manufacturers to create different lights with CRIs that are best for different situations, i.e. a restaurant and an art gallery. To do this, they manufacture lights on a scale of 1-100:


  • High pressure sodium light sources have a CRI around 24
  • Mercury vapor light sources have a CRI around 49
  • Fluorescent light sources have a CRI range between 50 and 85 depending on the phosphate coating of the bulb
  • Metal halide light sources have a CRI range between 75 and 95
  • Modern LEDs have a braod range of CRI up to 95


What do those CRI measurements mean? Simply put, the lower the CRI, the less accurate the true colors will be depicted. Therefore, if you are shining a light on a table where your food will be placed, you’d want a higher level CRI. The same goes for a piece of art—if the light shining on your painting or photo has a low CRI, the colors that you used or captured are not going to appear as you intended. The closer the CRI rating is to 100, the more the colors will appear as they would in perfect natural, true lighting.


Close up of sushi served on black plate. Delicious japanese cuisine sushi prepared for one person. Fresh sushi served to eat at restaurant.

Close up of sushi served on black plate. Delicious japanese cuisine sushi prepared for one person. Fresh sushi served to eat at restaurant.

There might be some instances when a lower CRI is suitable, but never in the case of lighting artwork or any typw of craft or hobby lighting.For these applicatioins you should use a minimum of 90 CRI. Always think about the object or objects you are lighting before you buy a lighting fixture. It’s never a bad idea to consult a lighting specialist at the store where you are planning purchase your lights—they should be very knowledgeable and able to help you achieve the look for which you are hoping.

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

Gallery walls aren’t just for art studios, but they are a great way to decorate your home with paintings and photos you love. That said, there’s more to making a gallery wall than just hanging up a bunch of pictures. Knowing how to design a gallery wall is important so that your wall doesn’t look messy and cluttered. Don’t worry, though, once you understand the steps your wall will look great.

First, decide on a style for your wall. Do you want it to be symmetrical and in a grid, or would you prefer the photos and pictures to be more random? Second, decide what photos and/or paintings you want to include in the gallery wall. Think about their sizes and frames and how they will fit together when determining the style you’d like.

Second, do a first draft of your wall on the floor. Once you have all of the pictures and/or paintings in their frames and ready to go, lay them out on the floor in the shape and order you want them to appear on the wall. Move them around and see which design you like best and make changes to frames, spacing and position at this point.