What are Good Home Theater Paint Colors

If you are into high-end home theatre, check out our Display and Audio Calibration Guides to maximise your experience.


The color of your home theater room can have a significant impact on your viewing experience. The right paint color can help you create an immersive environment that enhances your movie watching experience, but the wrong color can degrade your screen quality. This can be a difficult choice, so we’ve put together some information to help guide you through that decision.

Why Paint Color Matters

When it comes to choosing the paint color for your home theater, most people think about the room theme and feel. For example, “Does the paint color match the style and atmosphere I’m trying to create?” However, the paint color of your home theater walls and ceiling also influences how much light is reflected or absorbed in your room. Light reflection can cause glare and wash out the images on your screen, reducing the contrast and clarity of your picture. Light absorption can create a darker and more immersive environment, enhancing the colors and details of your screen.

Best Paint Colors

There are a few paint properties to consider when finding what color paint will work best for your theater:

  1. Light Reflectance Value (LRV): a measure of the amount of visible and usable light that reflects from a painted surface. It quantifies the amount of light a paint color will reflect from your walls on a scale of 0-100, with 0 being black and 100 being white. Colors in the 60-100 range are considered high LRV; they will reflect more light than they absorb. Paint colors in the 40-60 range are considered medium LRV. While colors in the 0-40 range are considered low LRV; they absorb more light than they reflect back. Ideally, for home theaters you want a paint with an LRV under 20. These values are printed with the paint code and are an industry-standard. To learn more about paint LRV ranges click here.
  2. Paint Finish: Of the five most common paint finishes, a matte finish is recommended for a home theater because it is the least reflective. It won’t take away any focus from the screen and will absorb the light. An eggshell finish is glossier than a matte finish, but still sufficiently avoids creating a sheen from the screen. It is also easier to clean and maintain than a matte finish.

Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to choose a dark and matte paint color for your home theater. Dark colors will minimize light reflection and improve the screen’s contrast. Matte colors will reduce sheen and shine that can distract from the screen. Avoid light and glossy colors that will reflect more light and create a brighter and less cozy atmosphere.


If you mainly watch movies at night and have a dedicated home theater room, black paint will give you the best image quality possible and will enhance your immersive experience. It also gives a stylish, sleek, and modern look to the room. Black is the go-to choice for a home theater paint color, as it absorbs the most light and focuses your attention only on the screen.

While black walls can create a dramatic effect in your home theater room, they do have some downsides. Since black absorbs a significant amount of light, the room can be very dark and difficult to navigate. Black walls can also make the room feel gloomy during the day or if you are using the room for other purposes besides your home theater. Additionally, they can make the room appear smaller and boxier than it is and cause complications with lighting while trying to create the right ambiance. Maintaining black walls is also more difficult as they easily show scuff marks. 

To offset these issues, you could paint just the wall behind the screen black and choose a different color for the rest of the walls; preferably neutral or near-neutral. This will brighten up the room while still helping increase the screen contrast. Pairing black with gray can also create a sleek and modern look.


Gray is another great option for a home theater paint color, as it is neutral and helps cut down on light reflection. Gray can also create a sleek and elegant look that complements any home theater style. It is a good idea to paint your walls gray if you use the room for other purposes as gray walls are more functional during both day and night.

Gray can range from light to dark shades, but it is best to choose a dark gray with an LRV under 20 that will reduce light reflection and create a good contrast with your screen. If you paint your room multiple shades of gray, make sure you choose the darkest shade for the wall behind your screen. To liven up the look of your room, try adding accents. If you do, go for an analogous color scheme using colors that are similar to gray, or use different shades of gray to add depth. These additions all depend on your personal preferences.


Brown is another good choice for a home theater paint color, especially if you want to create a cozy and warm atmosphere. Brown can also create a rustic and natural look and suits well if you do not have a dedicated room.

It is important to keep the LRV as low as possible, without making the room look too dark. With brown shades, sometimes it is difficult to get other furniture the right shade to match it.

When choosing brown as your wall color, it is a good idea to add an accent shade for more embellishment. You can also consider adding multiple shades of brown to your décor for more texture. If you want to include more colors, blues and reds complement browns very well.

Dark Blue

Dark blues provide a similar effect to black. Not only will they create great contrast and image quality, but they also add visual interest to your room during the day. Dark blue can also create a calm and relaxing mood that enhances your viewing experience. For a more balanced look, dark blue also works well with other colors, such as white or brown.

The downsides of painting your walls dark blue are similar to those of painting your walls black. It will make the room feel smaller and boxier, and require additional lighting for the perfect ambiance. To combat that we suggest adding other colors and design elements that will brighten up the room.

Other important factors

Room Size

The size of a room can affect the right paint color. Lighter colors can make rooms look more spacious, while darker colors can make walls appear closer together. If you have a small theater room, you may want to avoid very dark colors that can make it feel even smaller. Instead, you may want to choose a color with a higher LRV between 20 and 50, which will still reduce light reflection but also create some depth and dimension in your room.

The Ceiling

It’s a good idea to paint your ceiling with a dark color, just like your walls, especially right above your screen. The first 4 – 6 feet from the screen is the most important to be non-reflective. If you didn’t want to paint the whole ceiling in a dark color, you could do so only at the front of the room, while choosing a contrasting but lighter color for the rest of your ceiling.

This also applies to all the walls and other surfaces. The first 4 – 6 feet from the screen is the most critical, so you could play with contrasting decor for the back half of the room, if covering the whole room in non-reflective paint does not fit your style.


Choosing the right floor type and color is just as important as choosing the right paint color for your home theater. Light colored floors can reflect light and create glare on the screen, while dark colored floors can absorb light and reduce glare. Therefore, the same rules apply with choosing a color for your floor as with your walls. For a more detailed look into home theater flooring, check out our article, “Best Flooring for Home Theaters“.


Window size and location should also be taken into account when you’re designing your theater. Windows let in light that can cause glare on the screen and make it difficult to see the images clearly. The light from windows is also unpredictable and changes throughout the day. If you have windows in your home theater room, you may want to consider covering them with blackout curtains or shades to block out light and reduce glare. Add window treatments that complement your overall room design.

If you are currently in the design process and need help with windows, check out our post about “How to Plan Out Window and Door Positions for Home Theater”.

Reflective Surfaces

Light-reflective surfaces are any surfaces that create a sheen, shine, or reflection. This can include mirrors, glass, polished metal, and countertops. All of these surfaces can reflect light and create glare on the screen, affecting image quality. To improve your home theater experience, you should aim to keep reflective surfaces to a minimum in your theater space. If you must have reflective surfaces in your home theater room, you should place them as far away from the screen as possible to reduce glare and improve image quality.


It’s important to consider lighting when thinking about your color palette. The darker the room, the more lights you need to light up the space. If your room is all one color, lights are a way to add a pop of color or personality to your room and can be used to create different moods. Smart color-changing lights are a great addition to change the feel of the room dynamically to suit your mood and the decor. I use RGB Philips Hue smart lights in my theater to give my theater dynamic light control.


Ultimately the design of your theater will come down to personal preference and taste. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to which color or design will work best for you. The best option is to get color samples to hang up in the room to see how each color feels and looks.

It is not necessary for you to paint the whole room in one color. You can experiment with mixing and matching colors to balance the room. If you don’t want the room to be too dark, you can instead choose the darkest shades for the areas closest to the field of view of the audience – i.e. the wall behind the screen and the ceiling right above it. This will give you the added contrast near the screen, but still allow the room to feel more open. I employ this technique in my own room.

If you are into high-end home theatre, check out our Display and Audio Calibration Guides to maximise your experience.

If you would like help designing your theater we also offer one-on-one consulting. Please see more about it here or by clicking below.

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