Q - I need help on how to pick the right color for a home theater room. I have heard that it should be black or a neutral gray. Where should I begin?
A - Hi John,
To recreate a serious home theater resembling an actual cinema (like Scott's Home Theater above), a darker and flat paint is the right way to go.
For rooms where optimal darkness is required, whether it be a projection system or plasma HDTV, we suggest using darker matte interior paint for the walls both behind and surrounding your screen (a flat matte paint will further reduce reflections versus gloss or semi-gloss). Also consider colors of the ceiling - you can use a dark surface to help maintain its contrast, grayscale, and color depth. Here are some recommendations for dark wall paints (including some that veer away from just black and grays):
- Behr Stealth Jet 780F-7
- Behr Dark Ash 770F-5
- Martha Stewart Seal (great example of it up on the walls here)
- Sherwin Williams Gibraltar Gray SW6257
- Benjamin Moore Raspberry Truffle
- Valspar Nautical Navy WV41007
And don't forget the floors. Hardwood or tile flooring can reflect a lot of light, so if you're going to paint your walls, you might as well install a rug, carpeting, or something like these FLOR carpet tiles. Not only will they reduce light reflecting from the screen to your eyes from below, but carpeting will help tone down any sound echoing, just like at the movie theater.
On the other hand, if the TV's going to be out in the open, you can plenty more options to choose from. For instance, Johanni's Mid-century Aode uses a light palette to brighten up the space and breath life into his home theater setup.
But if you're going for the theater look, darker colors will almost always help prevent light from reflecting off the TV or screen, reducing contrast, and giving you the most optimal viewing experience possible.
Republished and updated from September 27, 2010/Anthony Nguyen