Lighting Tips for Entertainment Centers and Media Rooms

Internet and satellite TV bundles will give you everything you need to connect to television shows, live sporting events, movies and streaming services. But the setup of the entertainment space is up to you. The television is always the main focus, as it should be; however, many people overlook one of the most important design elements.

lighting for entertainment centers

Lighting can dramatically impact your viewing experience. From distracting glares to setting the right mood, here’s a look at how to improve the lighting in your entertainment area.

Setting the Right Mood
Have you ever noticed in movie theaters that the lights are dimmable? Or that movies and television shows can affect your emotional response strictly with the lighting of a scene? Many studies have shown that lighting affects mood, but when you’re lighting an entertainment space the basic rules don’t always apply.

For instance, you won’t want to keep the area brightly lit because that can hinder viewing. The tips below will set the right tone and making the entertainment space feel more comfortable.

  • Soft lighting creates a more intimate feel. This can be achieved with dimmers or diffused lighting (i.e. sunlight coming through sheer curtains).
  • Complete darkness can make people sleepy and cause the body to produce melatonin. Have some sort of ambient lighting so the space isn’t completely black.
  • Back lighting creates a very dramatic feeling.
  • Decently bright lighting with few shadows is considered neutral lighting that is upbeat yet doesn’t dramatically impact mood.
  • Recent studies have found that red ambient lighting has the best effect on our mood, whereas blue and white lighting can have a negative impact.

Tips Specifically for Lighting an Entertainment Center or Media Room
Lighting a living room or media room is different than other areas of the home because of the television screen. To create the best experience for viewers keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid downward lighting right over the television to avoid harsh shadows and possible glare.
  • Keep light off the screen. Any light on the screen will create a glare.
  • Focus lighting down over the seating area so that socializing can occur without obstructing the TV screen. This is ideal when you’re watching sporting events.
  • Add a backlight behind the TV to up the drama.
  • Keep the lighting balanced so that both sides of the room or the entire room are lit equally.
  • Don’t forget about the wall colors. The paint in the room can affect how lighting looks. Semi-gloss and glossy paints are more reflective and will catch the light. The color of the paint can also make light look more intense.
  • Use task lighting within the media center over devices.
  • Create lighting zones. This will allow you to keep light off of the screen but still keep areas like a wet bar or pool table illuminated. Recessed spot lighting works well for zones.
  • LED lighting around the back edge of the television can create contrast.

Many of today’s top televisions are being built with lighting features of their own. It’s just one more thing you’ll need to consider before planning out a lighting scheme for your entertainment center or media room.

Controlling Natural Light
Intense natural lighting can boost your mood, but nothing is worse than having a glare on the screen. That’s why purpose-built media rooms lack windows. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a dedicated media room, the next best thing is being able to completely control the natural lighting.

Black out curtains are going to be the best option for controlling natural light. They should completely cover the window from top to bottom. Another option is shades with blinds. Shades have the advantage of being opened or closed to various degrees, which allows different levels of lighting into the room.

Another consideration is the orientation of the windows and the TV. If the windows face east you’ll have the most natural, bright lighting during the morning. If the windows face west you’ll receive lighting in the afternoon, which can range from intense direct lighting to soft lighting with many color tones.

The Benefits of Smart Lighting
Just like many other home features, lighting is getting smarter these days. These lights are not only energy efficient they also give you more control without having to hardwire anything. Smart bulbs can be:

  • Controlled by apps to light up or turn off on a schedule.
  • Change colors with the click of a button.
  • Dim up or down on demand.