Color Accurate Fixtures: How It’s Measured and Why It Matters

In the world of lighting design, the importance of color accuracy cannot be overstated. From enhancing the ambiance of your home to ensuring accurate representation of your artwork, color accuracy is paramount. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of color-accurate fixtures and explore how they are measured.

How Color Accuracy Affects The Appearance Of Items In Your Home

A color-accurate light source allows everything in the room illuminated by it to be represented truthfully. This means a red apple looks red, not a muted red or oddly red green. Items only look as good as the light illuminating them. If your home lights give off a green hue, so will the items in your home. 

Measuring Color Accuracy

The color accuracy of a light is predominantly measured using the Color Rendering Index, or CRI for short. There are 15 different colors tested with CRI, but only the first eight are averaged together to create the CRI rating. You’ll commonly see LEDs separately mention an R9 rating. R9 is the ninth CRI color rating representing red, one of the most difficult colors for LEDs to render.

Due to the inadequacies of CRI in its ability to measure the lighting performance of a light, new color accuracy standards have emerged. CRI “only” measures how close a color is to its actual hue when illuminated by a light source. A new standard called TM-30 measures color likeness, saturation and gamut shape. Additionally, instead of only using eight colors to compile its score, TM-30 uses 99 color samples from all over the color spectrum. This means TM-30 ratings are a more representative rating of the quality of the light over a broader selection of colors.

Why Color Accuracy Matters In Your Home

The truth is, for many homes, the highest color accuracy may not matter. While we feel these ratings are important to differentiate poor lighting from okay lighting, not everyone needs cutting-edge color accuracy throughout their home. However, it is still important to use these ratings to determine how good light will make your space at night.

It’s okay not to want the absolute highest fidelity light, but we would hate to be caught in a home that feels desaturated or dull under LED lighting that low CRI bulbs can create. Even something as simple as skin hues can be altered by an inaccurate light fixture, potentially making people look pale or sickly in your home.

When You Need Color Accurate Lighting

There are a few unique use cases when we feel color-accurate fixtures are a must. The most common is with artwork. Artwork is only as good as the light illuminating it. Color-accurate fixtures ensure that the true hues and intricacies of your artwork are represented exactly as you’d expect them to be. This allows you to appreciate your artwork the way it was intended. Whether it’s a priceless painting in a private gallery or a cherished personal piece, the right lighting can make all the difference in how it is perceived and valued.

What Fixtures Are Right For You?

Color-accurate fixtures play a crucial role in creating a welcoming environment with colors at least as vivid as in daylight. If you would like guidance on finding value-centric lighting options that still provide a highly color-accurate space for your Bay Area home, call Lighting by Design at 415-883-7700.

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