You may automatically think that a home cinema needs to be this dark man cave that needs minimal light to be able to fully enjoy the experience. In actuality, it needs to be exactly the opposite. Proper lighting and placement is critical to making the room exciting to use each and every time to enjoy for many years with friends and family.
It is important that if you are in the construction phase of building your cinema that a proper plan is made up and all the details are laid out, so it will go from just being just "OK" to "Oh Wow!" Never fear though, as hindsight is 20/20 and you might have an Why didn't I do ______.? Some lighting can be added in afterwards, but it makes it more of an uphill battle so don't go there if you can avoid it.
In article, we are going to dive deep into some of the different lighting ideas that you might want to incorporate into your room and give some great layout tips and ideas for different styles and sizes of rooms. These tips will be guaranteed to amaze even the most harshest critic.
Like many other areas of the home, recessed lighting is a popular choice to use. Some of the great reasons to use recessed lighting is that it doesn't stick down from the ceiling and protrude into the room, making the room appear larger than it is. It is the preferred style of lights in places where there are a lot of bulkheads or low ceiling height.
Another great thing about recessed lighting is that it has a lot of options for trim for finishing the can once the drywall is up and you are nearing room completion. You can get trims in everyday common colors, The bulbs can even be built into some styles of trims with LED lights so no light bulbs are even necessary. Virtually the options are endless as to what the finished product will look like.
Another great thing about pot lights is that they come in various sizes. Common sizes include 3,4,5, and 6 inches in diameter in size. Depending on the area that you are looking to light up, you can use larger ones for main areas. The smaller sizes work well to illuminate details in the room or highlight something in the room like a movie poster on the wall or woodwork. The medium sized ones work well for use in general lighting applications. They are a simple, almost essential type of light for any sort of media room.
As with all great things, there are always a few negatives of using these in a room. One of these is soundproofing. A pot light makes a sizable hole in the ceiling allowing sounds waves to pass through. This may not be a big deal for some people, but usually in most houses it is a problem for either the children sleeping at night or the angry spouse whom does not like to hear the bass of the sub pumping. There is a solution to this, but involves yet more planning beforehand as well as more time and money.
You can build what are referred to as backer boxes around each and every recessed light that you install. What the heck is a backer box? Well, a backer box is a box built out of soundproofing material that encapsulates the area where the penetration for the light is. It will help to dampen how much noise escapes from your room and are meant to be airtight. There is a great article written on it called Backer box and Installation guide if you are interested in learning more about them.
Wall sconces are a great choice for any home cinema. They can really make the mood change as they turn on and off with the use of a dimmer. The most popular style for use in a room are sconces that focus the light up and down as shown in this picture
They like their cousin, the recessed light, do make penetrations in walls allowing sound to pass through but on the plus side the holes are not as large. To solve this problem, the electrical box can be wrapped in what are referred to as putty pads. What is a putty pad you ask? Well just think of it as like play dough that you used to play with as a child. It is flexible and can be molded around the electrical boxes. This will slow down any sound coming from the room and allow every one in the house to sleep soundly.
Fiber Optic Lighting
If you have the money in the budget, take a look at doing some fiber optic lighting. It usually is installed in a black ceiling and looks like little stars twinkling in the sky. This lighting effect definitely kicks your room up a notch from most cinemas and makes you feel like you are at a drive in movie theater in the back of a pickup truck, watching your favorite movie.
They are not for every room as design and layout of the room will dictate whether or not it will work in the space. Typically, fiber optics are installed in an area in the middle of a coffered ceiling. What is a coffered ceiling? Well, a coffered ceiling is a design feature in a room that typically has 4 drop down bulkheads that run in a circle.
A lot of the time, a common design feature allows for recessed lighting to be installed in them allowing the edges of the room lighting and effect.
Inside the bulkheads, the high pair of the ceiling is typically is painted black and gives it the coffered effect. The star effect is made by use of hundreds of individual strands of fiber that is lit up all together. They usually are white in color, but some can also can changed to be different colors as well. If you can afford this option, it it definitely work having.
Other Ceiling lighting Options
If you prefer a different look for your lighting, you might choose to do some ceiling mount style fixtures in your room. This style of lighting works well for cinema concession stands or beverage areas.
Some examples that work well would be track lighting, or spot light style fixtures as the light can be controlled in an environment where glare on the screen will affect the overall quality of the area. Try and avoid where possible fixture lights anywhere near the screen area in general unless it is for a specific purpose due to glare and lighting pollution effects. An ideal use for overhead lighting in this style is like in a snake bar or concession area.
For soundproofing purposes, you can either use the putty pads or build a small backer box to help keep the sound in the room for maximum enjoyment.
This is a another fun area of lighting in cinema rooms that really make a room go from zero to hero in a heartbeat. There are many, many things that you can do in a cinema room guaranteed to amaze.
The first one we are going to talk about is lighting up memorabilia or posters on the walls. This can be achieved by use of recessed lighting that has a gimbal on it to focus on the item on the wall. A second way to light the area up would be to build or buy a backlit frame if it happened to be a poster. This a nice way to perk things up.
Another common type of detail lighting is on the floors. Say for example, you wanted a snack or drink while the movie was playing, you might have a problem walking around in the dark. If there are stairs, you can use stair riser lighting to help show you the way. Also on stairs and edges, another great way to pave the way is to use rope lighting or possibly led tape on the backside lip of the edge of a stair nose to help illuminate the floor area without disturbing other moviegoers. Using subtitle lights like this look similar to what they use in commercial movie theaters.
The last lighting type I am going to talk about in this article is cove lighting. It is usually installed on top of crown molding or perhaps under the lip of the countertop in the bar or snack area. It is achieved most commonly by use of LED tape or LED rope lights. It is another means of detail in an already cool room. Another cool trend is to run LED tape around your screen area and make it look like the screen has a glowing effect. It is amazing what a little bit of planning with all these great ideas will do to a room to make your friends jealous.
If you are building a higher end cinema, You might think about using a lighting control panel or controller to control all your different layers of lighting that you have chose to incorporate into your room. While stepping it up to this level is not for everyone, it will really make the user experience of your theater memorable.
This would involve being able to control your room lighting with your phone on an app, or perhaps a tablet, or maybe low voltage switching. Ask your friendly, neighborhood electrician about these types of options for lighting control if your budget allows and you are a tech geek.
Use of Dimmers
Dimmers are an simple, more affordable way to control the various lights in your room. Standard dimmers can do the job well for the average person that isn't interested in using the latest and greatest technology available.
One thing that I will mention in the article is there is a step up from your standard dimmers. There are smart dimmers, smart light bulbs, and smart switches out there and available on the market. What exactly is a smart switch?
They are devices that can be set up so that they show up on your WI-FI system. From there, similar to lighting controllers and such, the lighting can be controlled via your smart phone or other similar devices. There are devices that once you are on the network you can just talk to and the lights will do your bidding. Kind of cool, Huh?
They are user friendly to set up and more affordable than lighting controller systems. It is fun to dabble in this
Hiring an Electrician
Do all this lighting schemes look absolutely breath taking, but look difficult to execute? Most likely, the answer to this question is yes. There is a lot of skill and knowhow to get everything in just the right place to make the lighting work effectively.
If you happen to be in the Cochrane, Calgary and Area, please trust Firestorm Electric to help you with you Cinema wiring needs. We have the years of experience and confidence that we can make your space look and sound amazing. Feel free to check out our page link for home theaters here or call us today for your free quote.