With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your home before entertaining friends and family. Whether your guests are coming just to watch the big game or for an extended stay, your media room will no doubt be a popular gathering place. The American Lighting Association (ALA) suggests a few ways to enhance everyone’s viewing experience.
No matter what kind of space you have, be it a dedicated media room, a simple TV nook or something in between, the fundamental components are comfort and the appropriate amount of lighting. For the majority of homeowners, most media-related activity takes place in a multi-use space, which means the lighting must have the flexibility to go from everyday activities to TV viewing.
“One of the primary design objectives in a media space is to create the ability to achieve multiple and varied types of experiences, and lighting provides the key element to achieve that goal,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, ALA, IES education consultant for ALA and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.
Three necessary elements for the ultimate media viewing experience are the source of light, the types and placement of light fixtures, and the use of smart dimmers.
Keep in mind that natural light from outside is as important as light from indoor fixtures. Multipurpose spaces generally have windows, which create the need to control that light during the daytime, as well as at night when even minor reflections can be distracting.
Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics Co., says that when it comes to lighting, “the sun is light bulb number one.” He suggests using motorized shades, which can be retrofitted to an existing window as a convenient and effective way to manipulate ambient light. It is important to consider where your light is coming from as well as the time of day and season, which affect not only the amount of incoming light, but also the angle and intensity of the light.
Fixture Type and Placement
The types of fixtures used in a dedicated media room are different from those typically used in a family room. Selecting fixtures for any type of media space can be confusing. To get it right, your best bet is to consult with a professionally trained lighting consultant at an ALA-member showroom.
Using dimmers may seem like a no-brainer, especially considering that they are easy to install and highly impactful. New wireless smart dimmers simply attach to a wall or sit on a tabletop. Anderson explains that Lutron’s Caseta Wireless dimmers are designed for simple, do-it-yourself installation. The inexpensive devices can be synced with a phone to control the lights, window shades and room temperature from a remote location.
“It can be inconvenient to turn each thing on and off every time you enter or leave a room,” says Anderson. “With Lutron’s Caseta Wireless, you can preset it to adjust everything at once, so that it all comes to life with one press of a button.”
For more ideas and advice for improving your media viewing experience while maintaining functionality in your multi-use space, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom or visit AmericanLightingAssoc.com.