When planning your home theater, lighting should not be an after thought. Movie theater lights for your home can add that extra special touch to complete the whole experience you are after. Besides audio and visual components which are most important for your home theater space, lighting is not that far behind in priority. Of all the elements you can choose to embellish your home theater, movie theater lighting can be an integral addition which is sometimes designed improperly or overlooked completely.
If you have taken the time to keep natural light from creeping in to your home theater you may also need to properly placed your movie theater lighting so as not to adversely affect your picture quality. Both natural and artificial light should be controlled and articulated to enhance your home movie theater experience. Keep in mind when aiming for that movie theater effect you should consider how your TV is affected at different times of the day. The main goal is to keep glare off your viewing source. Secondly you need to see where your going and where your amenities are like seating, aisles, concessions, equipment, bathroom etc. You don’t want to shine a bright light on during a movie because you can not see where you are going. That might be annoying to others watching. Let us get into some ideas about extending your movie theater experience not only through your great equipment but also with great lighting design for your home theater.
The prime spot for your home theater is located in your basement because this lower level space typically allows little or no natural sunlight to leak in. These low light conditions cut down on glare and gives you a clean slate when designing your lighting scheme. If a basement is not available to you have no fear there are plenty of options to control natural light leakage.
Not all home theaters are in the subterranean realm but exist above grade level. There are steps you can take in order to prevent too much light from affecting your home theater experience. Controlling natural light coming from your windows are the biggest culprit. The best solution to mitigate this glaring problem is black out accordion shades. These blackout accordion shades can be purchased at any home improvement store. Make sure they say black out because there are other accordion shades on the same shelf that are not the black out type. These shades allow light through its material and by closer side by side examination you will notice the black out shades are darker. There are usually a variety of stock sizes that will fit in your window frame. If the size you need does not exist the person working in the window department will be able to custom cut your shade to size. Once you get them cut you can not refund them so make sure your measurements are precise. Make sure your shades are cordless because cords are unsightly and a bit of a nuisance to use. Also cords can pose as a hanging threat to young children and toddlers.
Although these blackout shades do a great job there is still light leakage around the sides. Get yourself some nice thick curtains to reduce this light to almost nothing. Besides the functional job curtains do they also add another textural and design quality to your home theater. The different styles, shapes, colors, sizes and designs of curtains are in order of magnitudes. You can also choose between different lengths, a valence or an exposed rod. If you are not ready for window treatments yet you can just hang a blanket, tape up some some cardboard or wrap up some aluminum foil around the windows. If you are really frugal you can just wait till night time to watch a movie.
Movie Theater Lighting Types
Rope lights are great for adding accents to your space. You can install them around seating, stairs and dark corners. A dramatic use of rope lighting is installing them behind crown moulding. The effect of light spalshing up the ceiling and back down in to your theater is dramatic and adds an ambience. This also has the great result of raising your home value. Another place you can add rope lighting is behind chair rail. The light will splash up and down your walls. This will make your walls appear as if they are glowing. Other places you can add rope lighting are under shelving, behind art, under the concessions like the popcorn machine, along the isles, under the seating, behind soffits, inside cubby holes, behind the TV, under cabinets, inside a skylight opening, inside a tray ceiling, under the fireplace mantle etc. Rope lights are an ideal way to add low ambient/indirect lighting to your home movie theter that will not distract from the screen or cause any unnecessary glare.
Rope lighting or strip lighting under your seating is a nice touch but getting power there may be an issue if your seating is located in the middle of the room. If your theater has a basement or crawl space you will have access to run power to those locations. If your theater is on a concrete slab or an apartment building you may have to run wiring across the isle with a ramp over the top of it.
If you have rope lighting planned for your home theater you can bring everything over the top with color changing LED rope lights. Pow you got yourself a killer home theater.
Wall Sconces are mounted to the wall about 5 to 6 feet above the floor. They shoot light up and down creating their own splash of light. You can install them every 6 to 10 feet to achieve a continuous flow of indirect light. There are so many kinds of wall sconces you will quickly realize how many you need. Some throw off more light than others. Some are larger than others. You can get different design types such as antique, modern, post modern, artistic, movie theme and on and on.
Main lighting or general lighting is usually used when not watching a movie. Hihats in the ceiling are the latest craze. The latest slim hihats can be installed in any location without the worry of building framing getting in the way. If there is an attic above your home theater hi hats will be very easy to install.
Lamps in certain areas of your home theater can add an additional touch. They can match your decor and like sconces you have a plethora of different designs, shapes and styles to choose from.
To give you more control over your lighting output it is always best practice to control your lights with dimmers. Dimmers allow you the luxury of decreasing or increasing the amount of brightness in your space. Make sure the dimmer is of good quality and is rated to work with your particular lighting. Some dimmers do not work with some lighting.
We spoke earlier about indirect lighting and direct lighting. Those terms imply exactly what they are. Direct lighting shines directly from its source on to the area you need light. Indirect lighting gets pointed against a wall and is rebound back into your space. Direct lighting is used to maximize the brightness and indirect to minimize. Hihats or ceiling lights are direct lighting. Sconces and rope lights are used as indirect lighting sources. Indirect lighting is not only used as a design and accent but can be functional. It can be designed to stay on while your movie is playing without producing glare. Direct lighting is more functional and is not on while your movie is playing because it will interfere with your picture quality. Direct lighting produces a certain amount of glare which is not acceptable while your content is playing. Direct lighting however is needed for evryday use.
Out of the many elements you can use to enhance your home theater, lighting might actually be one of the most important as well as the most often overlooked.
Movie theater lights for your home are relative to your own personal preference. Study how certain lights affect your ability to see the content playing. Minimize as much glare as possible while still having enough ambient light to move about without disturbing the screen. Once you have figured out your lighting scheme you will be amazed at how lighting can greatly increase the enjoyment of your home theater.
We hope you found this useful. Have a great day!