A dedicated media room can be a fun place for families to gather and enjoy a good movie (or a bad one!). It might be tempting to paint and decorate it like you do any other room in the house, but this can negatively affect the performance of the room.

When painting a media room, here are some tips you should keep in mind

media room with dark colors
Dark colors are ideal for a home theater

1) Go Dark!

The first thing to keep in mind is that TV screens reflect their surroundings. Projector screens take this a step further… they amplify and reflect any light source.

This means that a brightly colored room can reflect onto the screen, causing a distraction even when the lights are off. The simplest way to fix this is by painting the media room with a mid-tone or darker color.

There is a reason movie theaters are all painted black. While this is the easy, obvious choice, this doesn’t always work with the style of the house and is just too dark for many people.

Therefore, dark grays and deep maroons tend to be popular home theater colors. A deep, dark red looks stunning, like you’re in a real theater, but still performs well when the lights are off.

media room with flat painted walls
Stick with flat and matte sheens for the paint

2) Make Sure The Paint is Flat

The paint sheen you choose is important, and this is true again when painting a media room. A flat or matte sheen is your best bet. While it shows wear quicker and is a little hard to clean, a flat finish will reduce the amount of reflections from the screen. This is ideal for the least distracting movie experience.

If the walls in your house get a lot of abuse, you can compromise with an eggshell sheen. It will be slightly reflective, but allow you to clean the walls more easily.

neutral paint color fan
Stay with a neutral shade to avoid affecting the perceived color of the TV screen

3) Keep It Neutral

This is very important and often overlooked. No matter what color you choose, you want to make sure it is a neutral color. Since the screen is reflecting the room, the color of the wall can actually distort the colors you see on the screen.

Even blacks and grays have shades that are a little too red or a little too blue. Most paint stores will have a selection of neutral shades to choose from, or be able to tell you if a color is neutral or not.

Sherwin-Williams has some popular neutral dark shades that we use a lot when painting media rooms, such as Peppercorn (SW 7674) and TriCorn Black (SW 6258)

And being neutral doesn’t just mean staying with gray and black. Deep reds, blues and greens can also be neutral colors.

home theater with black ceiling
Dark ceilings are ideal for a media room

4) Don’t Forget the Ceiling

Most houses have flat white ceilings. This helps make the ceilings feel taller and more open. In a media room however, this can causes reflections with the screen.

Once again, you will want to go with a dark color with a matte finish. In most cases, it is easiest to go with the same color you chose for the walls. Dark grays and blacks are the most popular choices here.

If you are looking to add some dimension to the room, try a slightly darker shade than the walls. For example, ask the paint store to give you the same color 50% darker. This will help break up the transition from the walls to the ceiling

home theater with accent wall
An accent wall can break up the monotony of a room

5) What About An Accent Wall?

I mean, why not?! When painting a media room, we sometimes get asked about doing an accent wall to break up the room. The absolute best place to do it is on the screen wall.

You can go a couple different directions with this. This first, and most common, is to paint the wall with the screen the darkest black you can find. Again, there is a reason movie theaters use black. It is less distracting, drawing your eyes only to the screen.

However, another option is to try a color on this wall, especially if you watch with the lights off. Also, since the wall is behind the screen, the screen won’t reflect the color from this wall. A mint green will disappear with the lights off, but give the room some style and color when the lights are on.

Some Other Tips…

While the paint will have a huge affect on the style and performance of your media room, there are some other things you want to think about:

  • Flooring – Use carpet. Carpet will absorb sound as well as light, and is really the only choice. Hard flooring is popular these days, but a poor choice for a media room.
  • Lighting – Put your lights on a dimmer so you can control how much light there is. Add blackout shades to any windows. Use a night light if you need a little light for getting around the room without distracting from the screen.
  • Seating – Home theater seating is ideal, but couches work as well. Make sure they are comfortable, and that you have a place to set down a drink.
  • Furniture – If you need to put any other furniture in the room such as cabinets or bookshelves, try putting them at the sides or the back of the room. Ideally, your focus wall should only have the screen on it and be free from distractions.
  • Wall Hangings – Try to avoid any wall hangings that are reflective, such as pictures or artwork. If you must, try and use non-reflective glass. Fabric sound absorbers and heavy curtains are great if you are going all out for performance and authenticity.

Ready to Paint Your Media Room?

If you’re ready to paint a media room, give us a call or schedule an estimate online. We can even help setup a professional color consultation!