Home Theater Lighting Ideas

Get all the info you'll need on home theater lighting ideas, and get ready to add a lighting scheme with plenty of ambiance to your home theater.
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CEDIA2013_HT36_high_performance_lighting_acoustics_home_theater_reversal_h

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

By: Sean McEvoy

If a home theater installation or redesign is on your agenda, you'll want to explore home theater lighting ideas to ensure that your entertainment space has plenty of adjustable, ambient lighting. You'll have plenty of choices when it comes to home theater lighting, from complex lighting systems controlled via a universal remote or a whole-home automation system to simpler systems you can install yourself with a little DIY know-how and sweat equity.

Elegant and Understated Home Theater

Elegant and Understated

Elegant and Understated

Elegant and Understated

Elegant and Understated

The main goal of home theater lighting is most often to set the mood so that guests can enjoy an immersive and entertaining experience. Creating a dedicated viewing experience is the intent, so that guests aren't distracted and can focus on the action on the screen. To achieve this cinema-like feel, ambient lighting is often the best choice for home theaters. Traditional lamp lighting, hanging or suspended lighting can reflect on a TV's screen, cast shadows on a projection screen or interfere with a projected image. So in general, you'll want to keep your lighting as low-profile and as integrated with the room's walls as possible.

For this reason, there are a few common choices for home theater lighting. The first type, the sconce, takes inspiration from movie houses. Sconces are a familiar fixture at many a megaplex, with good reason—they provide enough ambient light so that guests can navigate aisles and see their concession goodies without distracting from the action on screen. Sconces specifically designed for home theaters are available in a wide range of designs and pricing tiers from home theater specialty stores or big box stores that carry home theater accessories—but there's no requirement to use a "home theater sconce" in your entertainment space. If it pairs well with your design, any sconce will do—with one major caveat—a dimming function is almost essential for sconce lighting in a home theater.

Another option for home theater lighting is track or ceiling lighting. Similarly to sconce lighting, track lights or ceiling lights that operate on a dimmer can provide ample ambient light but without over-lighting the space or interfering with the projection or TV image. Track or ceiling lights are available from many home theater specialty stores, from home theater departments within big box stores, or as standalone sets from any lighting retailer.

Speaking of navigation within a home theater space, another option for home theater lighting is floor lighting. As is the case within traditional cinemas, floor lighting can provide both a safety feature that allows guests to see where they're walking regardless of the rest of the lighting in the room, as well as an atmospheric, cinema-style experience and design for your home theater.

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