The proper dimming system is a vital ingredient in designing the perfect home theater. You will want an easy-to-use, convenient system that offers flexibility and control in lighting scenes.

Lighting Your Home Theater

Steven T. Hardt | Lightolier? Controls

Lighting Your Home Theater
by Steven T. Hardt Lightolier® Controls

The proper dimming system is a vital ingredient in designing the perfect home theater. You will want an easy-to-use, convenient system that offers flexibility and control in lighting scenes.


The time has finally arrived for you to begin planning your home theater. You've dreamt of your big screen and your leather massage chair. You've thumbed through magazines and picked out the perfect surround-sound audio system. However, you've neglected one of the most important components of any home theater - the lighting.

Lighting can set the mood, change the feel, or create an ambience in any room. Controlling the lighting in your home theater makes the difference between just watching a movie and experiencing a story. After all, your home theater is not just another room in your home; it's a haven.

Before you choose your lighting design, though, there are several things to consider. The first and foremost is the intended use of the room. A home theater designed primarily for watching movies should be lit differently than one intended for watching football games.

The lighting design of your home theater can create depth, shape, and elegance. When combined with dimming controls, it can effect how you live within a space and bring out the true beauty of your home theater. In order to do this, you should first decide what it is you wish to light. Next, you should select the appropriate lighting fixtures. Finally, you should enhance the elegance and convenience of your space with the appropriate lighting controls.

In deciding what to light, several options are available to you. In your home theater, you may wish to emphasize architectural focal points. Lighting above cabinets or accenting shelves can give your home theater a feeling of elegance. Also, you may wish to light task-specific spaces. Lighting a chair for reading or a pool table in your game room will create a feeling of intimacy and comfort. Another lighting option is to light objects of interest. Accenting a vase of flowers or a painting on the wall can add character to your room.

Once you have decided what it is you desire to light and accent in your home theater, you will need to decide how to light it. In selecting your light fixtures, it is important to keep in mind the purpose of the room; a family game room should have different fixtures than a home theater designed for watching horror movies.

While track lighting offers the versatility and compatibility to fit into almost any situation, wall wash lighting and accent lighting are easy ways to shape the personality of a room. Still, a wide range of wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted fixtures is available. If your home theater is to be designed and decorated with a theme in mind, the lighting should enhance and play into that theme.

This home theater by AUDIO ONE features a combination of accent lighting and wall wash lighting.

Most importantly, you will need to decide how to control your lighting. A home theater should be lit in such a way that does not distract from its primary function as a theater. The best way to do this is to set up lighting zones. Lighting zones are a group of light fixtures that operate together and may be controlled by a dimmer. Lighting scenes may then control these zones. For example, you may want to slightly dim the lights when you watch sports, but prefer a different, much darker scene for horror movies. In addition, you may want another lighting scene for watching comedies, or, in the case of a family recreation room, playing games. Each of these activities requires a separate lighting scene based on the function of the room.

The proper dimming system is a vital ingredient in designing the perfect home theater. You will want an easy-to-use, convenient system that offers flexibility and control in lighting scenes. In addition, many dimming and lighting systems may be operated via remote control, an ideal feature in a room such as your home theater.

Installation of your lighting control system can be as simple or as intricate as you desire. The most cost-efficient and manageable lighting systems are able to work with your home's pre-existing wiring. Thus, no additional wiring is required. This advantage not only makes installation much simpler, but also provides added peace of mind to the homeowner.

The Compose™ Power Line Carrier by Lightolier® Controls, a Genlyte Company, is an ideal lighting controls system for this type of application. Not only does it offer controllable lighting, but also it has the ability to save to memory preset lighting scenes. These scenes can then be turned on or off with the simple touch of a button on a wall-mounted control unit or a remote control. Perhaps best of all, Compose™ PLC offers the option of whole-house control. Therefore, you can install the system into your home theater and later expand it to control your whole home.

Lighting can transform a space into an elegant, soothing room. It can add personality or flare to any setting and it can create the perfect mood for any situation. It can alter a room into the perfect home theater with the simple touch of a button. The proper lighting control system will do more than just turn your lights on and off; it will make your dream home theater a reality and enhance your lifestyle.

For more than 20 years, Lightolier® Controls has provided quality, innovative lighting controls and a full range of advanced lighting control systems for commercial operations and residential properties. Through continuing technological advancements, Lightolier® Controls has revolutionized the way lighting controls and systems are both designed and installed creating unparalleled excellence in the industry today. The Dallas-based company is a division of Genlyte Group, LLC (NASDAQ symbol - GLYT); partnered with Vari-Lite and Entertainment Technology. For more information, visit www.lolcontrols.com.


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