9 Home Theater Lighting Ideas

Updated: May 01, 2024

Home theater lighting illuminates the space without distracting from the screen. Find out what combination of fixtures will work best for you.

Private Home Theatre Lighting IdeasIMAGINIMA/GETTY IMAGES

What Is Home Theatre Lighting?

An ideal home theater has big cushy seats, a huge screen and an impressive sound system; but don’t overlook the lighting design! The right lighting is pivotal to creating ambiance and improving your viewing experience.

Home theater lighting often combines task, accent and ambient lighting. Each lighting location should work together to create a relaxing atmosphere and reduce glare on the screen. The most common types of theater lighting include recessed ceiling lights, LED strip lighting, and wall sconces. We spoke to home theater experts Alan Hutchinson and Kelly Stewart to learn more about designing the lighting in a room made for watching movies.

Why you should consider home theater lighting

“Home theater lighting is different than regular home lighting. Most homeowners will use lighting systems that allow them to control all lights in the theater with home automation,” says Hutchinson. “This allows them to control the lighting, easily dimming the lights or turning them off during movies.”

In addition to the convenience of automation, home theater lighting will add to your space’s cozy factor. “A successful home theater lighting design ensures the room is not overwhelmed with too much light, lowers eye strain, and makes it easier to move around,” says Stewart. “Plus, lighting adds to the aesthetics, it simply looks good!”

Read on for some of our favorite home theater lighting ideas that will help you create the perfect space to watch the next blockbuster from the comfort of your own home!

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Star Ceiling
Courtesy @buildmontage/Instagram

Star Ceiling

A home theater lighting system consists of multiple light sources, as seen here in this design from @buildmontage. His theater features LED strip lighting on the floor and around the curtains, down light fixtures in the rear, and the star of the show — that star ceiling! The star ceiling is an impressive DIY project using acoustic boards, neodymium magnets, and fiber optic LED lights.

What we like: The star ceiling provides subtle light and an eye-catching decorative element, adding to the overall immersive feeling of the theater.

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Wall Sconces
Courtesy @kchhomes/Instagram

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are a common light fixture choice in home theaters because their light is directed up and down the wall, instead of shining outward. The industrial-style wall sconces in this home theater from @kchhomes have narrow bulbs that emit a soft, comforting glow rather than bright light that will glare on the movie screen.

What we like: “Ambient lighting like sconces can create a mood in your theater,” says Stewart. They complement the viewing experience without causing distraction.

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Layers Of Light
Courtesy @sacita.interiors/Instagram

Layers of Light

This chic home theater from @sacita.interiors includes sconce lighting, overhead recess lighting, and hanging pendants in the bar area. The overhead lights can be used before and after the movie, while the ambient lighting provides a cozy experience while viewing the screen. Notice the pendant lights have metal shades with cutouts, allowing the light to filter through the small holes softly.

What we like: The numerous lighting locations. “We recommend a lighting plan that comes up with multiple layers of lighting,” says Stewart. “It can vary based on the space available – overhead, wall, floor, and decorative.”

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Focal Point Lighting
Courtesy @love.lake.living/Instagram

Focal Point Lighting

A home theater is a great place to have fun with the decor and play with lighting. In her home theater, @love.lake.living used sconce lighting to draw attention to the vintage movie posters on the wall. The up-and-down lights add drama, creating a pretty art deco pattern on the wall.

What we like: Art or lighting alone improves the design in a home theater, but combined, they create a truly stunning wall accent.

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Linear Lighting

Combining wood panels and color-changing linear lighting completely transforms this home theater from @oasisluxurysmarthomes. Linear lighting provides light and adds visual interest to the room. The lights extend onto the ceiling and walls to make a big impact, while the color-changing element helps you create different vibes in the space depending on the mood.

What we like: The versatility! There are endless location, design and color possibilities when installing linear lighting.

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Decorative Theme Lighting
Courtesy @nickkleekamp14/Instagram

Decorative Theme Lighting

This theater from @nickkleekamp14 includes playful wall panels resembling the Death Star’s iconic lighting from Star Wars. To recreate this DIY project you need LED lights, plywood and white plastic for the cut-outs; or here’s a similar product. This type of lighting is a fun way for super fans to further an overall Star Wars theme in their home theaters.

What we like: Lighting with a specific aesthetic like this can add personality to your space and make it feel uniquely your own.

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Geometric Led Lighting
Courtesy @cinemasandcontroluk/Instagram

Geometric LED Lighting

Professionally installed theater lighting can be pricey but will bring real wow factor. This geometric light wall from @cinemasandcontroluk changes colors as the movie changes between scenes using interactive pixel LED technology. A futuristic theater like this gives you a full high-tech movie-watching experience that can’t even be imitated in a real theater!

What we like: The drama! Your guests will be blown away by the innovative and modern lighting design.

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@lindyegalloway 🍿🎥 what are we watching tonight? #interiordesign #lgearthyeclectic #homedecor #theaterroom #mediaroom #mediaroommakeover #luxuryhomes #luxuryinteriors ♬ original sound – Lindye Galloway

Moody Lighting

Take a tour of this modern home theater from @lindyegalloway, which features unique wall sconces and LED lighting. The minimalist look is carried through with the lighting, specifically in the large curved arch of LED light in the back of the room. This is a perfect example of how lighting should be integrated as part of the home theater design instead of a simply functional afterthought.

What we like: The lighting blends seamlessly with the design. “Home theater lighting plays a significant role in creating a comfortable, immersive, and enjoyable entertainment space,” says Stewart.

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@brycebedinger Lightsaber battles, but with Philips Hue lighting 😱 #starwars #philipshue #homelighting #hometheater #lightsaber #revengeofthesith #homeideas #lightinginspiration ♬ original sound – Bryce Bedinger

Interactive Lighting

Here’s another way to synch up your home theater lighting with the movie, and this method can be done as a DIY project. Install the Philips Hue Gradient Light Strip and watch as it mimics the content on the screen for a fully immersive experience. See the lights in action in this video from @brycebedinger — impressive!

What we like: The ability to DIY high-tech lighting like this can make your home theater dreams come true, even if you’re on a budget.

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About the Expert

  • Alan Hutchinson is the owner of HTMarket (short for Home Theater Marketplace) and has over 20 years of experience in the business. HTMarket provides home theater furniture, lighting, project screens, decor and more to customers worldwide.
  • Kelly Stewart oversees business development and client services at Oasis Luxury Smart Homes, a leading provider of home automation, tech systems, media rooms and lighting design. Kelly helps customize smart home technology needs to ensure client satisfaction.