|Building The Basic, Badass Home Theater|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Other|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2006|
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Lighting and Darkness
Lighting control is one of the most overlooked elements in the basic home theater. With your floor plan in place with furniture and gear, take another copy of your plan and note where your lights are currently located. Look for places where you would like to remove lights. If you have a floodlight right above your screen for your new DLP projector, you would be well advised to move or remove such a light. In-ceiling lights are very slick, but track lighting is a more affordable and comparably effective way to get light where you need it. Consider lighting options so that you can read a book in your favorite seat while the rest of the room is basically dark. Consider how you will be able to see and access your equipment rack of gear in a darkened room. Normally, one or two spots will do the trick without ruining the mood during a movie. Calling in a professional electrician is best in this situation. Be sure to get a dedicated circuit for your equipment rack with at least a quad outlet for plugging in gear.
The best way to make your picture look better in the room is to make the room as dark as possible. This sounds simpler than it usually is, nor is it cheap in many cases. Window treatments can cost a pretty penny, depending on the fabric you choose. I recommend ordering blackout drapes for your windows which use multiple layers of fabric to absorb light. You will want to flush-mount them in a track in your ceiling or use some sort of covering for a more traditional track. Drapes also help your acoustical situation. A more cost-effective way to deal with window treatments is to look to stores like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware or Room & Board for pre-made drapes. Do your measurements as though you’re doing them for NASA. It is really easy to mess up. For a few hundred dollars, you can get nice thick drapes up that do a suitable job of blocking light. In order to create a dark room suitable for the best in HDTV in the middle of a summer afternoon, I am not installing windows in the dedicated theater that I am building onto my house in Los Angeles. I have planned spaces for windows in the room in the event someone later wants to tear out the theater and make it into an additional bedroom or office. Getting all of the light out of your room costs a lot more money, but your wife might consider window treatments to be a different budget than you AV gear acquisitions.