What’s the Best Lighting for Your Home Theater?

As you step into a softly lit commercial movie theater, you pause momentarily for your eyes to adjust. The previews have already started. Everything suddenly comes into view. You see walkways, stairs, and, finally, an open row of seats. The second you enter the room a mood is set. Everyone is excited about the upcoming movie. But you don’t have to be in total darkness to enjoy what’s on screen. It’s possible to recreate this subtle movie-going experience in a home theater, but it takes a bit of careful planning, creative lighting placements, and the right ambient light fixtures.

Total Darkness Isn’t the Answer

There’s a fine line between people tripping on their way to the bathroom and bright lights causing glare on the screen. In fact, watching a movie in total darkness can actually cause eyestrain over extended periods of time. While many home theaters are placed in windowless rooms, this isn’t being done to create total darkness, it’s being done to create an environment in which lighting can be controlled.

Getting Just the Right Lighting for a Home Theater

The trick to great home theater lighting is lots of indirect light that doesn’t shine directly towards the screen. Our advice is to consult with an expert like Moseley Electronics to carefully evaluate the space and provide some creative insights about what lights to use. A big overhead light in the middle of the room is almost always going to provide a glare on the TV, so start thinking outside the box.

CL-610_AudioVideoPlannersGet Creative with Lighting Placement

Lots of small, soft lights that can be controlled by a dimmer feature on your universal remote, providing a much better viewing experience for your home theater than bright overhead lights. Small lights built into steps, under chairs, or along the wall will help ensure people don’t trip when exiting the room. Small lights, like long bands of LED lights, make it easier to provide adequate light without disturbing the movie going experience. But you’ll need more than just lights on the floor to get the light to darkness ratio in the room just right.

What About Lights on the Ceiling and Walls?

Another trick to providing soft ambient lighting is to recess the ceiling and place lights on top of the recessed ledge. Some even go one step further and add a starry night sky effect to the ceiling, which is fun, but really comes down to personal tastes and preferences. Any light that finds its way down to the theater from atop the recessed ledge will be soft and have little glare on the screen. Wall sconce lights can add a nice design touch to any room, and the indirect light won’t create as much glare on the screen as traditional lamps.

Cost of Home Theater Lighting

When you’re figuring out the overall budget and cost of your home theater system, keep in mind that peripheral expenditures like lighting, speakers, seating, and other accessories should probably make up at least 35% of your overall budget. You may want to consider setting aside 7 to 10% of your overall home theater budget for lights. While core home theater equipment will make up the majority of your budget, spending money on comfortable seats, great sound equipment, and exceptional lighting is what will put your theater over the top and make your investment in the primary equipment worthwhile.

Lighting is a very important element to creating an out-of-this-world movie going experience, but it’s also important to provide adequate light to allow people to safely move around the space without hurting themselves or disturbing the other viewers. Great lighting can help set the overall mood of the room and will help create a memorable experience that guests won’t soon forget.

Would you like to learn more about choosing the right lighting for your home theater space? Do you need help planning or installing a new home theater? Give the electronic solution experts at Moseley Electronics a call at (804)379-1348 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help guide you down the right lighted path.

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