Reliable and accurate reference intervals (RIs) for laboratory analyses are an integral part of the process of correct interpretation of clinical laboratory test results. RIs given in laboratory reports have an important role in aiding the clinician in interpreting test results in reference to values for healthy populations. Since the 1980s, the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC) has been proactive in establishing recommendations to clarify the true significance of the term 'RIs, to select the appropriate reference population and statistically analyse the data. The C28-A3 guideline published by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and IFCC is still the most widely-used source of reference in this area. In recent years, protocols additional to the Guideline have been published by the IFCC, Committee on Reference Intervals and Decision Limits (C-RIDL), including all details of multicenter studies on RIs to meet the requirements in this area. Multicentric RIs studies are the most important development in the area of RIs. Recently, the C-RIDL has performed many multicentric studies to obtain common RIs. Confusion of RIs and clinical decision limits (CDLs) remains an issue and pediatric and geriatric age groups are a significant problem. For future studies of RIs, the genetic effect would seem to be the most challenging area.