Home Theater Lighting & Automation

Whether you’re a movie lover who enjoys spending time in his home theater or someone who likes to host viewing parties in front of your 60-inch flat screen, your space should be properly lit and automated. In order to recreate the atmosphere of a typical media room, it should be designed like one. Follow the tips for proper placement, glare reduction and ultimate functionality.

Avoid Screen Glare

For general illumination, install deep recessed downlights. A hanging chandelier or pendants will reflect off of your television screen, creating a glare. Wall sconces will form a non-reflective pathway, as long as the fronts are opaque. Similarly, table lamps with opaque shades can be used for tasks, like operating the remote control or eating popcorn.

Where to Place Lights

Recessed lighting is the best for overhead illumination because they will not be directed at the television screen. However, you can get more creative with your accent and task lighting. If you want your home theater to resemble a real movie theater, consider track lighting slightly above the floor and extending around the entire room.
Also, don’t forget to install lighting around your home theater system. While you may not want it on during your viewing, it will help you to search through DVDs or connect external cables. Under-cabinet lighting provides the source of light you need, where you need it, without overpowering the space.

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How to Layer Your Lighting

If you’re unhappy with the look of a certain room in your home, the solution could be as easy as installing proper lighting. To maximize functionality, layering light balances a room while offering versatile options for any occasion. There are three types of lighting that help create this effect: ambient, task and accent. You can use this technique for both interior and exterior lighting to achieve your desired look and feel.

Set Your Base


Ambient lighting is your main source. Whether you have ceiling mounted chandeliers, pendants or recessed downlights, your ambient lighting provides a base for the entire room. Dimmer switches are often installed to control ambient lighting when the homeowner wants to create a different level of ambiance from day to night.

Illuminate for a Purpose

Task lighting varies from room to room. It helps you to see when performing specific actions within your home. In the kitchen, you might want under-cabinet lighting to help you see while cooking. In the bathroom, sconces on either side of the mirror eliminate shadows and help you accomplish day-to-day grooming tasks.

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Common Home Lighting Errors

Lighting design is an often under-appreciated step in the home construction process. If done improperly, electrical work can be very complex and expensive to redo. Fortunately, not all lighting errors are due to incorrect setup and wiring. The following five fairly common home lighting mistakes can be corrected to make your home feel like new.

Too Many Recessed Cans

blog-kitchenAlthough many older homes have recessed lighting, they do not provide the best possible illumination. The solution to the problem is not to cover your entire ceiling with recessed cans. No matter how many there are, they don’t spread light, so darkness from the walls cast shadows across the room. Try pairing your recessed lighting with task lighting, fixtures that provide sufficient lighting for whatever tasks you need to accomplish in a given room.

No Lighting Controls

Controls are a great advancement in lighting technology. They allow you to dictate the brightness, when lights turn on or off and often can integrate with other home automation systems. Motion sensors are an energy saving feature, while dimmers let you control the mood of a room. Homeowners who want to change the use of a room can with automation. It gives you the option to turn a brightly lit space into a dim, relaxed living room in no time.

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Increase Property Value with Lighting

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home in the near future, there could come a time when you have to relocate. Homeowners should at least maintain or try to increase the value of their home over time to get the best possible return on investment. You never know when the decision to move will have to be made. An easy way to improve your property value right now is with lighting. The following tips start with the exterior and move inside the home.

Landscape Lighting Design

Curb appeal is an evaluation of how attractive the outside of your home is from the street. How would someone standing on the curb rate the appearance of your house? Curb appeal is important for sellers to master because it helps shape buyers’ first impressions. Homeowners can accomplish this with landscape lighting.

Highlight The Best Features

If you keep a well-manicured lawn, why not let others admire it? Exterior lighting can help illuminate your trimmed hedges or highlight your new garden. Post and path lights can help brighten up the walkway for guests who enter and exit your home in the evening.

Draw Attention to the Front Door

In addition to general curb appeal, the front door is the first introduction to your home. It sets the scene for what a visitor can expect to see on the inside. Not only should it be properly painted, but it should be illuminated if possible. If your front entrance has an awning or portico, you can easily hang a pendant and keep it protected from the elements. Or, you can also place wall sconces on either side of the door. Again, lighting is welcoming!

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Am I Using My Fixture Correctly?

The importance of lighting design is paramount. Sure, you want to match your fixtures to a room’s color scheme and your own personal style, but are you using the right fixtures to accomplish the look you want? Don’t let the improper use or placement of a light leave you in the dark. The following guide will help you choose the correct fixtures to keep your living spaces functional.


9-light satin nickel chandelier

Chandeliers are flair pieces that add dramatic style to a room. They provide general illumination, usually in layers from the multiple bulbs. A chandelier makes a bold statement in any room, due to its large size and intricate design. These fixtures are most commonly placed in entryways, dining rooms and bedrooms.


When placed in pairs, lamps add a balance of light to your living space. You can save space with the swing-arm version that swivels in the direction where you need light. A fixture as simple as a table lamp can make a major style statement with the different shade colors and base designs available. Place lamps in bedrooms, living rooms and home offices.


Pendants are a stylish space saver, but they serve a particular function that might not be needed in every room of your home. The focused downlight provided by a pendant makes them essential in task areas: the kitchen island, a desk and above the bathroom mirror to name a few. Pendants can act as accent lighting in your living room, bedroom or hallway.

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