Paint Color Ideas for a Home Theater Room

The color of the walls in a home theater room influence what you see on the screen.

Muted Earthy Colors

A home theatre system.A home theatre system.
When you walk into a movie theater, note the darkness of the walls, the acoustical soundproofing methods, and the muted look to the room -- everything leads your eye to the screen. This is done on purpose so that the audience has a good movie-watching experience and is not distracted by refracted light. While the room needs to be dark for the best viewing experience, you don’t have to paint the walls a depressing black; several color options can give your home theater room an authentic, warm, but attractive feel with the lights on or off.

With wall sconces or uplights installed on the walls directed toward the ceiling before the show, muted earthy colors create a theater-like feel in a media room. Earthy browns muted with a touch of gray such as creamy latte espresso or cappuccino; dark, but muted sage greens; and even multiple shades of darker grays -- all work inside a media room. Add drapes for sound-deadening qualities over a window wall matched to the room’s color scheme. Keep in mind that reflective furniture colors also can affect the viewing experience.

Lighter Colors

A woman holds a paint roller thinking in front of a red wall.

If you think a darker color makes the media room feel more like a dirty cave than a theater, opt for duller reds such as burgundy, port and maroon or even gray-toned yellows, as long as the paint color doesn’t wash out the screen by bouncing light onto it. Bright reds and yellows can change the colors on the screen, so choose darker versions of these colors for the best results. Avoid enamel, gloss or semigloss paints for media room walls and the ceiling; opt instead for flat paints that don’t reflect the light.

Neutral Colors

Paint swatches fanned out.

Gray-muted taupe tones, beiges and tans can also be effective in a media room as long as the color has more brown or gray mixed into them than white. With small sample paint colors, paint large sections of cardboard and place them around the room with the screen on and the lights off. Move the cardboard sections around the room to test the light reflection. If you watch movies with small lights on such as table lamps, place the panels near the lights to see if they reflect or not before selecting a final paint color.

Darker Colored Ceiling

A couple on a ladder getting ready to paint a ceiling.

Generally, to make a room appear taller, the rule in painting is to add a lighter colored paint to the ceiling. This is exactly opposite the effect that you want in a media room. Choose a darker version of the wall color for the ceiling in a matte or flat paint to reduce the light reflection even more. Room walls and ceilings with light textures on them covered with paint also help to trap the light rather than bounce it.

Prime the Walls First

A room with drywall ready for priming.

To help tone down the color of the wall, add a flat primer to it before painting. Primer allows for an even color dispersion, helps to reduce holidays -- weak spots or bleed-through areas in the paint -- and also mutes the color of the paint a bit. Painting directly over drywall is not recommended by house painters; the primer also prepares the wall to accept the paint, requiring less paint overall when you cover the wall with muted colors that include muted navy blues or blue-black.

About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.