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Best wall color for HT with projection. (1 Viewer)


Supporting Actor
Mar 21, 2000
I am getting ready to move next month and need to decide on wall colors this week. I have your standard off white walls in my current room but I am wondering if there is a prefered color for a theater wall. I have a front projector if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Stunt Coordinator
Mar 5, 2003
I'll give you my opinion based upon my meager understanding of the science of light.

The effect of radiosity, or how much light is reflected from the walls to other areas of the room, likely has some small effect on the viewing experience. When particles of light strike an object like a wall, some particles reflect while some of this light energy is converted into heat. The reflected light particles strike another surface, and the cycle repeats until no more particles remain. So, since darker colors absorb more light particles, a bright white paint with a satin finish will indeed reflect a significant percentage of these particles. These reflections will increase the radiant light level of the walls and in some small way affect your viewing experience.

Also, when a light particle reflects off of a wall, it is filtered by the color of the wall. So, when white light hits a red wall, the red part of the light spectrum is reflected while other colors are absorbed. If you had red walls, the light emitting from the screen would bounce off the red walls and the warm red tone of this radiant light would influence your viewing experience. This influence might be so small that you might not notice it at all (like, in a completely light controlled room where the only light being produced is from the projector/screen). On the other hand, it may be quite noticeable in a particular viewing environment (like, in a windowed room during the day). Colors in the periphery of your vision invariably affect your perception of the color direct line of sight. After all, imagine what your monitor colors would look like if your monitor case was bright green? :)

Oh, not to make things more complicated, but the color of everything in the room are subject to radiosity (rugs, wall adornments, sofas, chairs, people etc).

I run into the unintended consequences of color and radiosity all of the time when 3D modeling on a computer. For example, with software radiosity turned on, a bluish light in a room with white walls and a yellow rug can result in a slight greenish tint to the white walls. This is because the blue light hits the yellow carpet, and the yellow carpet reflects mostly yellow and the reflected light particles take on a greenish color (blue+yellow=green) when they strike the walls which reflect the light back to the camera.

So, after this long rant, my suggestion is this: If the new room isn't a dedicated HT room, but something like a living room, then stick with the standard off white w/ flat finish paint. If you want to jazz it up, use a dark, rich color, with a flat finish.

If this is a dedicated room, then go with an even darker, richer color with a flat finish. I've seen some home theaters with dark gray walls, but most look like morgues without some jazzy interior design :)



Stunt Coordinator
Feb 19, 2003
I'm doing a combination black/dark red or burgundy room, its not done yet but so far so good. I would say use as dark as color as you possibly can, the most black or grey as you possibly can. I've seen some theaters that were painted all black, not for me, but it might be for you.

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