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Lights, Camera, Action: The Importance of Lighting in Your Home Theater


Creating a light-controlled environment is one of the most important aspects of theater design

When planning a new home theater installation, it’s easy to get caught up in the big details, like choosing a display screen or picking out comfortable seats. But what about the more subtle aspects of home theater design that shape your space into the ideal movie-watching environment?

Lighting control is one of the most important aspects of theater room design. Cinematic lighting creates ambiance and aesthetic appeal in your theater and contributes to your overall enjoyment of the movie-watching experience. Keep reading to learn more about lighting design for your home theater in Cranberry, PA. 

SEE ALSO: Why Design Matters in Your Dedicated Home Theater Setup


The Purpose of Home Theater Lighting

Lighting is just as vital to theater design as elements like screen placement and surround sound installation. Consider how important lighting is in your local cinema: when the lights dim, you’re filled with excitement and anticipation for the film ahead. Once the credits start rolling, soft lighting that gradually brightens helps coax you back to the real world.

With good lighting design, you can recreate these emotional responses and moods in your home cinema. Lighting is one of many essential components that contributes to creating an immersive and thrilling film-watching environment.

Types of Lighting

There’s much more to home theater lighting than a switch that operates a single light in the room. A cinematic design is layered with multiple types of lighting that serve to enhance the functionality, beauty, and ambiance of your custom theater room. Your home theater will include a combination of the following:

  • General lighting. General lighting (or task lighting) provides bright, even illumination over your entire theater. Task lighting is necessary for performing non-viewing activities like cleaning or setting up for a party. The most popular choice for general lighting is recessed, in-ceiling fixtures that lie flush with the ceiling material.
  • Safety lighting. Watching movies in the dark is fun… but pausing the film when someone trips trying to exit the theater isn’t nearly as enjoyable. Safety lighting fixtures — like step lights, under-seat lights, and aisle lights — ensure that you and your guests can safely navigate the theater during a bathroom break or snack run during a film screening.
  • Accent lighting. Accent lighting serves to add ambiance and show off your gorgeous theater design. Indirect lighting fixtures are also helpful when you want soft light in your theater, but nothing bright enough to distract your attention from a movie, show, or sporting event. Popular types of accent lighting include wall-mounted scones, column lighting, cove lighting, artwork backlighting, and star ceiling lighting.
  • Motorized shades. Uncontrolled ambient light can have several negative effects on your viewing experience. Sunlight streaming through a window can wash out the image quality on a projection screen and cause screen glare. If your theater room has windows, blackout motorized shades that can raise and lower with the press of a button are the best solution for controlling ambient light.

Effortless Control

Smart lighting control with Control4 allows you to manage all your home theater lighting with a single device like a smartphone, tablet, or even voice control. Create custom lighting scenes like “Start Movie,” “Intermission,” and “Game Day Party” that instantly set the right ambiance with the press of a button. Once you’re finished for the day, a “Power Off” scene will shut down all your lights in one swoop.

Trust the team at Simply Automated to be your home theater design and installation experts. We’ll work with you from start to finish to create the best entertainment experience for your Cranberry, PA, home. Call or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation at one of our two Pittsburgh locations. We look forward to hearing from you!

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