Media Room Lighting

Get all the info you'll need on media room lighting, and prepare to add a lighting scheme with plenty of appeal and convenience to your media room.
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The white sectional, red accent and ample lighting keep the space from feeling dark and drab.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're planning to install or refurbish a media room, you'll want to explore some media room lighting ideas so that your entertainment space features the right type and quality of lighting. You'll have a wide variety of choices when it comes to media room lighting, from high-end lighting systems controlled via a whole-home automation system to more straightforward schemes you can install yourself if you decide to go the DIY route.

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The primary function of media room lighting is to create ambiance, so that guests can enjoy an immersive and entertaining experience without any distractions created by too much or too little lighting. The creation of a cocoon-like, dedicated viewing space is the intent of a media room; that way, guests aren't distracted and can focus on the action on the screen. To achieve this movie-house-like feel, ambient lighting is almost always the best choice. Lamp lighting or suspended lights will almost always reflect on a TV's screen, throw shadows on a projection screen or interrupt a projected image. Keeping your media room lighting scheme as low-profile and integrated with the room's design as possible is always a good place to start.

A few common choices in terms of style and fixtures are often found in media rooms. The first type of lighting fixture will be familiar to anyone who's visited the local megaplex—the wall sconce. Sconces are great for providing just enough light so that guests can move easily and safely in a darkened space and access those all-valuable theater concessions, but not so much that they'll be distracted from the big screen entertainment. Sconces designed just for media rooms are available in many styles and pricing tiers from media room specialty retailers or big box stores that carry media room accessories. There's no need to use a "media room sconce" in your entertainment space, though—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 media room).

Track or ceiling lighting is another option for media rooms. Like sconce lighting, track lights or ceiling lights with a dimming function can provide just enough ambient light—without over-lighting or disturbing the projection or TV image—that guests can see their snacks and move safely inside the space. Track or ceiling lights are available from many media room specialty stores, from media room departments within big box stores, or as standalone sets from lighting retailers.

Another potential option for media room lighting is floor lighting. As with traditional movie houses, floor lighting can provide a safety feature that allows guests to see where they're walking regardless of the brightness of the room's other lights; in addition, these lights provide an atmospheric, cinema-style experience and design for your media room.

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