Being able to brighten and dim the lights is a great way to add drama and excitement to a home theater. But effective lighting also requires good lighting design. The style of the fixtures and the bulbs, as well as the positioning of the lights, all have a direct impact on the overall effect. A professional lighting designer can help you select the perfect fixtures and arrangement for your home theater. Here are a few pointers offered by Tom Dearborn of Tom Dearborn Lighting Design in Portland, OR, to ensure that the lighting in your theater looks and performs its best.
1. Introduce a lighting designer to the project early, and be sure he or she collaborates with the audio/video designer, the interior designer, the cabinetmaker and the architect on the project.
2. Leave a few lights on at very low levels during a movie. Soft recessed lighting overhead will ensure that you can see your bag of popcorn, while lighting around the perimeter will help you see the walls and floor so you can make your way in and out of the room.
3. Use a cove ceiling as a hiding spot for small light fixtures. The fixtures will still illuminate the space but without producing any spotting or shadowing on the walls or video screen.
4. Cover any windows with blackout shades.
5. Choose low-reflective fabrics and wall colors, such as black, dark blue and deep burgundy, that won’t cause the lights to glare.
6. Use miniature recessed lights mounted flush with the floor surface to accent columns, art and other aesthetic details.
7. Be patient when creating scenes for your home theater. It may take a few tries to get the settings perfect.