Interior Decorating Information

Incentives for Proper Home Theater Lighting

One of the most crucial elements to consider in building a home theater system is also one of the most over-looked. The lighting used in the room has an incredible effect on the movie viewing experience. It can make the difference between a pleasurable experience and a mediocre one.

Better Viewing Environment

Believe it or not, complete darkness is not the best way to watch movies. This is in complete contrast to what most people actually do. You can even see this in practice at many movie theaters; the lights along the sides of the theater are kept very dim during the film but they are still on. The dim lighting helps to prevent the eye fatigue that results from staring at a bright light source in complete darkness. If you have ever had a headache after watching a long movie, it may have been caused by eye fatigue.


Lighting creates a certain atmosphere inside a room. This is true whether or not the atmosphere created is one that you had intended. When was the last time you walked into a theater that used overhead fluorescent lights? What kind of feelings would that evoke? Would you really feel like you were there to watch a movie or would it feel more like you were about to sit in on a seminar?

Positioning, color, and intensity all play a role in the ambiance home theater lighting produces. Decide on exactly the feelings you would like to produce with your home theater lighting. What emotions would you like to evoke as people walk into your home theater? Warm? Relaxed? While different colors elicit different emotions from different people, there are some colors that seem to be associated with certain feelings. Choose shades of the color that is associated with the feelings you want to elicit from your home theater audience.

The position and intensity of your home theater lighting will be determined by the placement of the viewing screen. Direct lighting should be avoided during the movie. Using fixtures that reflect light off of walls will help to avoid glare while reducing the harshness of the light. Dimmer switches are also a necessity if your home theater room is not equipped with central lighting control. They will provide you with the ability to customize the intensity of your home theater lighting to your own tastes.

Dedicated Room or Living Room

Now before you come up with the excuse that your living room is your home theater room and other things take place there besides watching movies, just stop. If your home theater room and living room are one and the same, there is even greater incentive for you to address the room's lighting. Your living room is a multi-purpose room. When your friends come to visit, that is where you congregate. You read your books in your favorite chair, which is in the living room. Your family gets together to play board games or even just to talk in the living room. On top of these and anything else that goes on in your living room, you watch your movies there. How nice would it be if you could adjust the lights to create the perfect reading atmosphere around your favorite chair? Or how would you like to make a very inclusive and personal setting for spending time with loved ones? Even doing something as simple as creating a relaxing, cozy environment after coming home from work can be accomplished by changing the lighting conditions of a room. Proper lighting will provide you with the means to create all of this in your living room.


Home theater lighting can easily be tailored in order to take the work out of finding the perfect setting for each light in the room every time you want to watch a movie. A central lighting control allows you to change the intensity of the all lights in a room from a single location. Some of the more sophisticated learning remote controls can actually activate your favorite lighting conditions with the push of a button.

As you can see, lighting is vital to the effectiveness of your home theater system. After being introduced to the possibilities that proper home theater lighting and control provides, it will be hard for you to ignore it any longer. You've taken the time, effort, and expense of creating a home theater system for a reason. Finish the job with proper lighting and create a truly enjoyable viewing experience.

Jon Martin is the Webmaster of the Home Theater Accessories Resource. The Home Theater Accessories Resource is your guide to home theater accessories.

This article came from the Connecting Home Theater Lighting section of the site.

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