We’ve all drooled the multi-million-dollar dedicated home theater setups, but is that kind of style reserved for the 1%? We say, “NO!” There are tons of ways to create your ideal home theater on a budget, and we’re here to tell you how. As a part of our new “How To Home Theater” initiative, we’ll provide some DIY ideas to make your themed home theater dreams come true. Today’s theme is Space – one of my personal favorites.
This is going to be one of the most impressive parts of your Space Themed Home Theater. There are several ways to create a “starry night” effect on your ceiling, ranging from painstakingly tedious to the more fun and wild. The first thing you’ll want to do is remove furniture from the room and cover everything with plastic. You don’t want to get paint on the walls or the floor, so take care to really perform this step well.
Next, you’ll want to paint your ceiling a nice dark blue. A navy color will make your stars pop in a more realistic manner, so we suggest the blue rather than black paint. You can also do this with varying shades of blue, ranging from light at the edges to a deep indigo in the middle.
Now, if you’re the type who likes to control your aesthetic, you may want to opt for the “painstakingly tedious” method I just mentioned. That entails using silver and/or gold paint pens to dot the stars onto your ceiling. You’ll need plenty of paint pens and a sturdy, high ladder. This method is cool for making specific constellations, which, if you’re into astrology, may be the way you want to go. Note that this will take more than several hours to complete, depending on the size of your canvas, but can be a fun project for the family.
The next method is the more fun and wild, using a splattering technique, and can be done one of two ways. The first is for a “daytime” star look – that is, stars that can be seen during the day as well as at night. Using a toothbrush or small, stiff paint brush, splatter white or creamy light yellow luminescent paint onto the dried blue paint you applied earlier. For a more realistic effect, you can vary the color with light blues, oranges, and yellows. The second “fun and wild” way to star your ceiling is to splatter glow paint, which will glow at night for a really cool effect.
My favorite way to splatter is the messier technique, where you aim your brush at the ceiling (a foot or so away), then gently pull your index finger from the front of the brush to the back. This flicks the paint onto the ceiling. If you’re nervous, practice this technique on a canvas or a piece of wood until you gain confidence. No reason to get frustrated when creating your dream home theater! Another way to splatter is to flick the paint-filled brush at the ceiling, but I find that this makes larger paint splats that don’t always look like stars. Good news though! You can always paint over mistakes with the extra blue paint you have left over.
Futuristic Theater Seating
The chairs you choose for your home theater are of the upmost importance! This is where you’re going to park yourself for the duration of a film (or binge watching TV/movies), so we don’t need to tell you that comfort and style should be at the top of your list of qualities when looking for the right seating. There are a number of seating options – couches, theater chairs, recliners, etc. – but do they have their own built-in LED lights?
Seacraft has a Venetian Media Room Chair that has built-in LED lights in the cup holders as well as under the seats themselves. This provides the dual purpose of helping to guide you to your seat in the dark, as well as adding a futuristic flair. These seats are going for $479 a pop at the time this article was published. If you’ve already got seating, or the price point is too much, you can create your own futuristic lighting effect with some smart LED light strips!
Smart LED Strip Lighting
Lighting is one of the top ways you can make your theater come to life. You’ll probably want to keep the brightness low while watching your movies for the sake of black levels, but even the slightest pop of color can make a difference in ambiance. Now, you’re probably wondering where the optimal placement of such lights would be.
The best place to put your smart LED light strips is anywhere recessed or hidden. That can be behind the screen if you’ve got a fixed screen mounted on the wall, underneath a couch or seating arrangement, or on the ceiling itself. If you have a domed or recessed ceiling with ledges around the perimeter, this is a perfect place to install the strip lights. With an RGBW setup, you’ll be able to illuminate your starry night ceiling to give it even more pop. Get creative with it! This is, after all, your dream home theater.
Art Feierman reviewed the Lightify Flex RGBW LED Strip Lights on our sister site, SmarterHomeAutomation.com. He has the lights installed in his kitchen within the cabinets and for down lighting underneath. The best part of these lights is that they can be controlled via your smartphone, and they have the full color spectrum for you to play around in so that you can match your décor (or mood) perfectly. As an added bonus, the lights can be voice controlled via any Alexa-enabled device.
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Recessed Lighting/Sconce Lighting with Smart Bulbs
Okay, you caught us – we’re big fans of smart lighting. The ability to control the lights with voice commands or via a smart phone and choose colors down to the exact hue you want is truly a futuristic addition to any home theater (or room in your house). If you’ve got the recessed cans seen in many modern homes, then you’re in business. You’ll just need a smart flood bulb that will fit in those cans – Philips Hue and Sylvania are two of our top choices. These lights come in RGBW and white, so make sure you’re getting the kind you want.
If your home isn’t blessed with built-in recessed lighting cans, don’t fret. You can always install futuristic wall sconces that take regular A19 bulbs to get the smart lighting effect. Find affordable sconces at your local hardware store, or check online. These smart bulbs are typically in the $30-50 range, so take that into account when purchasing the fixtures. There’s no need to spend a fortune on lighting, as you’ll generally have the lights pretty dim or off for the majority of time you spend in your home theater.
The good people at NASA have public domain, high resolution images of space available to us online. A quick Google search for “NASA nebula” will turn up thousands of large, high res images that you can download and print. For large images, I always used Costco to print on high quality photo paper. Choose a couple of your favorite images, choose the size of photo, and get them printed! Pair with a futuristic frame to give the illusion of looking directly out into space.
There are also tons of space décor options online to choose from. Amazon or Etsy will have plenty, so I suggest checking around to see what suits your fancy. I personally really like these sketches of the Mars Rover, EVA Suit and rocket from PatentPrints on Etsy (last photo in slider). This is your home theater, so whatever décor you choose – you simply cannot get it wrong. Best of luck to you, and if you end up using any of these suggestions, send us photos of your project!