Your home theater might have the most comfortable seating in town, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a projection screen with the best resolution that money can buy, but without the perfect lighting, it’s missing a critical element of home theater design.
We’ve already revealed some of the secrets to lighting control in our article, “Making a scene/The Secrets to home theater lighting control”, which offers the following tips:
- Eliminate outside lighting
- Create a home theater lighting control center
- Invest in a reliable network system
- Set the mood with smart lighting
- Get atmospheric with dimmers and switches
- Set the scene or create a theme
- Use automation and motion sensors
In “Starry ceilings & beyond/The magic behind home theater lighting”, we described the different types of lighting you can use in your home theater, from overhead lights to wall sconces. In this article, we offer you tips on what’s hot in 2022 to make your home theater the best it can be with creative lighting.
Create Pools of Light
The first lighting rule of any home theater is to avoid light spillage onto the screen, in order to maintain the most vibrant picture quality. This is especially true for projector screens.
To achieve this, you want to avoid using ambient light sources that shoot light in all directions, such as a light bulb or daylight coming through a window.
Instead, use directional canned lights that cast pools of lights when pointing downwards. This provides enough light to safely navigate through a dark theater while maintaining picture quality. It also provides a great, moody feel as well.
Wall sconces and LED lighting under stairs also provide excellent indirect lighting.
Block Out Outside Light
We’ve mentioned this before and we’ll say it again: in order to create an immersive home theater experience, you need to block outside light from entering the room, particularly if your home theater is not located in the basement of your home.
You can enhance the total darkness and eliminate glare with dark-colored walls and ceilings. Light-colored walls reflect light, so your home theater’s walls should be as dark as possible.
Consider a dark gray, blue, or brown as well as black. We recommend painting the ceiling dark as well, but try one shade lighter than the wall color for an appealing look. For both walls and ceiling, use a matte or flat finish rather than gloss to avoid glare.
If your media room chairs have end tables, seat-side lamps with opaque shades are a great way to add a decorative touch while adding lighting to navigate through a dark room. They are affordable and easy to install.
You can add table lamps to augment your home theater’s décor, either by matching the existing décor or making a bold statement. Again, opaque shades are necessary to avoid washing out the picture on the screen.
For additional lighting, you might consider standing floor lamps, or, for another alternative if you have recliners, installing seat sidelights, recessed lighting strips that are placed underneath the chairs.
Go Wild with LED Light Strips
We mentioned LED lights in our previous article, recommending that they can be used to map pathways, highlight steps and risers, and line floorboards.
There are so many more ways you can use LED lights as decorative detailing. LED strip lighting offers soft accents without completely overwhelming the space or calling attention to itself. They are far more efficient than traditional lightbulbs and give off a subtle glow rather than a bright light. You should always use LED lights that do not generate any heat.
The lightweight strips, which are almost invisible, are flexible and hold dozens of tiny bulbs. Because they are not tied to a lightbulb holder, the strips can be cut up and strung to fit objects of any size. You can string them practically anywhere, including under your entertainment console, around the ceiling, under seats, and behind screens.
They are available with fun features, such as changing colors, dimmable settings, and even the ability to sync to music, and can be controlled with a compatible remote. You can design interesting color combinations, or use them to help create a theme.
Smart Lighting for Your Home Theater
Gone are the days of the traditional light bulb. If you are familiar with smart home technology, you are probably aware of how it can increase your lighting’s scope and functionality. Smart LED bulbs are made with software that can connect to an app or other smart accessory, enabling you to automate your lights and control them remotely and even by voice, eliminating the need for wall switches.
The technology gives you more control over your lights by allowing you to control them wirelessly via your smartphone, tablet, or smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Recent advances in technology have improved the capabilities and benefits of smart lighting. A smart lighting system is easily retrofittable and even something you can install yourself.
There are many benefits to smart lighting for your home theater beyond letting you control your lights automatically as well as remotely. Here are a few more advantages of smart lighting:
- Smart LED lights can be dimmed via an app or smart accessories
- They use less energy than light bulbs, last longer, and generate less heat
- The bulbs can be automated and configured individually or as a group
- You can create a mood with pre-set and customized light scenes at the press of a button
- They can incorporate motion and light sensors that will automatically turn on and off
Smart lighting also includes switches and dimmers, giving you more control over your lighting fixtures. You can even use them with existing light bulbs.
Whether you are thinking about creating a home theater, or upgrading or modifying an existing one, there are many ways to use lighting to help create a beautiful and functional home theater.