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How To: Light Your Home Theater

Looking to install or upgrade your home theater? Here are some lighting tips that can help enhance your home movie viewing experience!

Armed with your box of deliciously buttery popcorn or refreshing Junior Mints, you head into the slightly darkened theater.  You chat animatedly with your friends or family as you choose the best seats for your anticipated journey.  It’s not long before the lights dim to near blackness, signaling that the rom-com or action-thriller flick you are about to immerse yourself in is about to begin.  

The lighting at the movie theater adds dramatic effect to the film you are viewing and is a major part of the cinematic experience.  In addition to the screen technology and the seating arrangements, lighting is a key element to consider when designing your own home theater.  IES Light Logic has some tips to help you make the most out of your home viewing experience. 

Versatility of space

Theaters can seem like completely different settings when a performance is in progress compared to when one is not.  Much like at a real movie theater, the ability to make adjustments to the lighting before, during, and after the film must be considered in your home theater.  Furthermore, this space does not have to function solely as a movie house.  It may also serve as an office, reading lounge, or game room, and as such, requires flexibility in the lighting.  The versatility of this space makes layering light a must. 

Layering light

To really capture the magic of a movie theater, you cannot have just one set of lights that you simply turn on or off.  You will want to mix up a combination of ambient, accent, and task lighting to achieve the full effect.  Ambient lighting is your general background lighting for a room.  This type of lighting should be soft so that no bright lights are shining directly in your eyes.  The sources should be shielded so as to minimize glares, reflections, and extreme contrasts.  Accent lighting is brighter than ambient lighting and is used to draw attention to points of interest in the room.  Accent lighting should be placed strategically around the theater to highlight items such as artwork or movie posters.  Task lighting is exactly what it sounds like, and should be installed to facilitate additional use of the space.  For example, luminaires to enable reading, writing, or working on hobbies can be set up next to seating and on tabletops.  Finally, pathway lighting should be included so that you and your guests can move about your home theater safely even in darkness as the film is rolling.

Control system

A control system is a great way to coordinate the light layering in your home theater.  You can program this control system with various combinations of your layered light options, so that at the simple touch of a button, you have an optimal lighting ambiance to match your intended use of the theater. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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