Building up your home theater room from scratch will take a bit of work. It will also involve you making all the right decisions as to how to put things together, ranging from installing the projector and the seats through to the paint on the walls.
As far as the topic at hand is concerned, the best projector screen paints for walls can come in many colors and at almost just as many price points.
4 Best Wall Paints for a Projector Screen
Table of Contents
- 4 Best Wall Paints for a Projector Screen
- What Type of Paint to Use for a Projector Screen
- Best Paint Color for Projector Screen
- When to Use White
- When to Use Gray
- Regular Paint vs. Projector Screen Paint
- Spray Paint or Roll-On Paint?
- Is It Hard to Paint a Projector Screen?
This is a high-definition screen paint with high gain that’s considerably brighter than the regular white paint. It’s designed for 4K projectors that are considerably bright. Think ratings of around 3,000 lumens or higher.
I recommend this paint if your home theater also has some amount of ambient light that gets in or if you prefer leaving some lights on when you watch movies.
This paint is also good value as one gallon is enough for you to apply two coats and cover up to 160 sq. ft. The paint obviously has a matte finish and thus good fingerprint resistance. That said, I don’t find it great at covering textured walls.
With that in mind, the paint may be slightly expensive for the average homeowner. But if you are aiming for home theater screen perfection (for a projector, that is), this is one of the best and easiest paints to use.
This is another high-gain screen paint that’s specifically designed for home theaters and even for commercial screens. It comes with Digital Image’s Optiperfect sheen that delivers extra brightness without making the coated surface too reflective.
Because this is an acrylic latex paint with a water base, it should be very easy to apply and quick to dry. It’s ideal on smooth surfaces but not so much for any textured walls.
With one quart of this paint, you should be able to cover an area of up to 40 sq. ft. Two coats at that. So, if you’re not looking for the biggest screen, this could be a more budget-friendly alternative.
Due to its brightness, this paint should also help dimmer projectors shine at their brightest. What’s also nice is that it can also work with 3D pictures, which are inherently dimmer.
Another interesting choice that you have for a home theater room is clear paint. A clear coat of invisible color paint is a nice alternative to consider if you already have a good paint but you wish to spruce it up a bit. Like give it new life.
This clear coating is designed to add brightness to existing paint and make it more suitable for a 4K projector. It has a gain of 1.6, meaning that it’s considerably brighter than many standard home theater paints.
It’s great for 3D applications as it can brighten up the dimmer colors. You can roll the paint on with ease and you will get great coverage from a one-gallon can. That said, note that this is somewhat pricey.
However, the cost may be worth it if you want to have a dual-purpose wall in your home theater room. Just remember that the higher quality the projector, the better this painted screen will perform. If it’s to be used with entry-level projectors, it may be too expensive from the off.
If you prefer a gray projector screen, you may want to consider the S1 Screen Plus. The 5 shade to be exact, which is a silver screen paint.
This formula has a 1.5 gain and has been designed to support up to 4K full HD. While it will do a good job on 3D projections too, it may not be the best choice for such an application.
That said, the paint comes in gallon containers and will give you good coverage. It’s also more affordable than some other shades of gray or even white.
Due to the unique formulation, it can also be used on lightly textured walls and will offer some level of surface correction. The matte finish will reject enough ambient light and without washing the colors on the screen.
This is a personal favorite when it comes to enhancing dark colors on screen and making nighttime scenes look more vibrant.
What Type of Paint to Use for a Projector Screen
First things first, let’s talk paint finish. For a projector screen, you’ll always have to go with a matte finish. The same goes for the other walls and the room’s ceiling. It’s just the colors that will differ as you’ll find out in the following paragraphs.
The screen needs to absorb light and reflect very little back, which is why matte finishes are best. Secondly, a matte finish should also help to hide some wall imperfections and texture imperfections.
This is something that glossy paint simply can’t do. A matte finish is much smoother and because of the special formulations used in projector screen paint, it won’t look dull either.
Best Paint Color for Projector Screen
Do you want the very best color for your projector screen? Of course you do. The problem is that there’s no one color or shade that will work in all home theater rooms.
When picking a color, you have to take into account many factors, including your projector, what you favor watching, ambient lighting, and so on.
For all intents and purposes, you’ll have to choose between a version of white or gray. These are the only two real options, with white predictably being the most popular choice.
When to Use White
White seems to offer the least compromise in any type of home theater room. But, the shade of white used for a projector screen is very different than the white you may use in your bathroom or kitchen.
When you’re using a low-end projector, chances are it won’t be very bright. Therefore, white is your only choice. That’s not to say a very bright projector won’t go well with a white coat of paint. It will, as white is usually workable for all projectors.
I will also add that for 3D movies, white is again a better choice. 3D colors are known to be inherently dimmer. Therefore, a bright white screen with a very high gain may be the best choice.
When to Use Gray
A gray projector screen has some unique qualities. This color will help brighten black and darker colors. Therefore, it can make nighttime scenes look better, more detailed, and in higher contrast.
If you think of shows like Game of Thrones and movies like the Alien or Predator series – anything with a lot of nighttime action – a gray projector screen paint would do the trick nicely.
However, the same can’t be said about animations, comedy movies, even most action and fantasy movies which often feature very bright colors.
Also, when picking a gray color, be sure to take into account the natural brightness of your projector. The same shade that works in your neighbor’s room may not work in yours. A high-gain paint should be good for most lighting conditions.
Regular Paint vs. Projector Screen Paint
Apart from matte, what else separates screen paint from regular paint? You may have noticed me mention the “gain” more than a few times. A paint’s gain is essentially its brightness rating. A gain of 1.5 is usually the standard and it’s acceptable in most situations.
But, you can go for an even higher gain, up to 2.0 gain especially if you’re using gray paint or if you’re creating a home theater room specifically for 3D movies.
You see, high-gain paint is brighter and therefore it can help to brighten the colors projected on the screen. The way it does this is through its more reflective sheen. But, don’t confuse this sheen with the sort that you get from highly reflective glossy paint.
Spray Paint or Roll-On Paint?
Lots of people spray their projector screens on the wall. This is a very convenient and foolproof technique to get a projector screen going.
And, spray paints do come in very high quality. However, there are some problems involved with spraying a screen on the wall.
First, you will end up paying more to cover the same size. Secondly, spraying on a screen may not always result in a very smooth surface with an even coat all around.
Furthermore, spray paint can’t be modified. What you see is what you get. But then, it’s not like you should be buying screen paints for mixing anyway.
Is It Hard to Paint a Projector Screen?
Not really. There aren’t any special tools needed but you will need some dexterity, an eye for detail, and precision.
The best way to go about it is to first measure and mark your desired screen size. You can use masking tape for the border or a wooden or plastic frame, whichever comes easier.
When applying the paint, you have to keep things as even as possible and avoid lumps at all costs. Two or three coats of paint should do the trick.
After the paint dries, you can remove the masking tape and apply a screen border. If you have a frame already built, I recommend wrapping it in velvet screen border tape.
However, for the best results, I find that painted projector screens work better with a seamless frame. Therefore, you can apply the border tape directly on the wall and basically ditch the frame. Trust me, it will look more natural.
Should you just buy a projector screen or should you paint one yourself? The truth is that there are many things that can influence this type of decision.
For the most part, entry-level projector screens will look quite alright. They may not always be easy to install or very sturdy but they should do a good job regardless. On top of that, you can also use a projector screen to hide any in-wall speakers.
For perfectionists, this is likely the ultimate setup. It will make the sound and the image come at you from the same direction and your experience more immersive. That said, this can lead to complex installations and paying top dollar for an acoustically transparent projector screen.
Now back to screen paint. Projector screen paint can be expensive, at least when compared to regular wall paint. But that’s because it has special properties for the unique formulations.
And think of it this way. You’ll only pay more for the paint used to make your screen. The ceiling and the rest of the walls can be painted with regular matte paint.
All in all, in terms of investment costs, using screen paint is going to be cheaper than buying a top quality projector screen.
Do It Yourself for Extra Satisfaction
Picking out the paint isn’t going to be the first thing you have to do. But it’s a very important step and one that can make a very big impact on your viewing experience.
As you can see, there are quite a few choices in color and more. That said, a projector is likely to have an ideal shade range, which may be influenced by your room. Just make sure that you use the tips above and that you know how bright or dim your projector is going to be.