Building a home theater room can be very rewarding and also a very challenging DIY project. While you may not need too much technical skill to convert a room into a home theater, you will need some understanding of how room light impacts picture quality.
And this obviously means that you’ll need to figure out which colors are best to use for the walls and which ones to stay away from. Using the right color can mess up the image irrespective of the quality of your projector and screen. It’s details like this that can turn an exciting project into a disappointment and cause you to start over.
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Recommended Paint Finish
Knowing the best wall paint colors for home theater rooms is not enough. Choosing the right color will only get you so far. What you also need to understand is what makes the best finish for an entertainment media room.
You’re likely familiar with matte and glossy finishes. Glossy paint can look really nice in almost any room, but when you want to build a great home theater room, a glossy finish is out of the question.
You see, a glossy finish has reflective properties. This means that light will reflect off your walls and ceiling. Too much light in a home theater room can result in color washing on your projector screen.
To avoid this, people always opt for a matte finish. This type of paint, also called flat paint, is known for its light-absorbing properties. It has little to no sheen whatsoever, and thus it’s not going to reflect light in any appreciable degree. On top of that, a matte finish can also help to cover up some minor imperfections and make everything look flat.
A matte paint finish will only get you so far. You also need the right colors to make sure that the walls that are around the screen will absorb enough light. This calls for darker colors.
One personal favorite of mine is the Rust-Oleum Coastal Blue. The paint has an ultra-matte finish and it also dries very quickly, so it’s easy to apply even for the inexperienced.
You can also make your walls completely black. However, if you’re going to be using the home theater for more than watching late-night movies, I’d suggest going with something else. Black rooms are known to tire out your eyes.
Something like charcoal is a nice alternative as it’s basically a very dark gray color and not entirely black. Or, if you’re really set on black, use a lighter shade of black rather than flat black. For example, I recommend something like the Kilz Tribute Mystic Black. This is a shade of black that’s less tiring on the eyes and yet it’s still dark enough to absorb plenty of light.
You may have noticed that older movie theaters have liberal uses of maroon elements, like maroon curtains or even the walls painted. This can also be a good choice and even more so, it’s a rather stylish approach.
Most people look at color choices and only compare them by the light-absorbing properties. However, if you want your home theater to look the part, then some colors are better than others.
Take Into Account Other Room Uses
Will you be using your home theater just for watching movies? If this is the case, the darkest wall and ceiling color that you can handle may be your best bet.
But, what if you want to host gaming sessions on your console and large projector screen? What if you plan on making some conference calls in the room? Then going with dark black or gray may not be the best choice.
Alternatively, you might want to consider variations of dark brown for the walls. Burgundy is another nice color to consider.
The point of these colors is to make the room look more appealing with the ambient lights on. And, at the same time, you’d still want the walls to have plenty of light-absorbing properties to enhance the picture quality.
Do as the Pros Do
If you’re ever in doubt about what color to paint your home theater with, just go watch a few movies in town. You’ll be able to see what works in no time.
And don’t be afraid to model your home theater after your local movie theater if that’s something that works for you.
Don’t Forget About the Other Elements
Having a single color can be very boring. Especially if the only other things in your home theater are the chairs, speakers, and screen. You’ve probably noticed that movie theaters have fabrics on the walls too.
Those are used for both stylistic and acoustic reasons. You can do the same thing at home. And, you can use these extra elements to spice up the color scheme in your home theater room.
Use fabrics to change the way the sound waves bounce off the walls in certain spots in the room. This is especially at the first reflection point of your front speakers. That’s assuming you have a full surround sound system with separate speakers, as acoustic damping may have a different effect on soundbars.
And, you can use a different but complementary color that will turn your walls from bland to eye-catching. Besides, if you splash some color on the walls, you can stop worrying about the ceiling and leave it as black as you want. The walls will complement that and compensate for the extra dark spot.
Planning Things Out Is Always Best
Although the color will matter the most in the end, it’s best if you think about everything else first. Consider whether you’ll be using any fabric on the walls. Think about a carpet that fits your room.
If applicable, also consider whether you need to cover any windows in your home theater room. Map out where you want to put the seats and ambient lights. After doing all of that, you can then start comparing color samples. And it should be much easier to arrive at a decision too.