How to improve room darkness?


Standard Member

Happy Girlfriend, happy life... I can eliminate all light sources from my living room when I switch on my HT but the walls and ceiling are completely and absolutely white and I'm not allowed to tamper with the aesthetics of the room! Any improvement must be something that disappears once I finish watching my HT (non reflecting white paints, side curtains, etc...???) which will keep girlfriend/wife happy?

A new, grey, screen would a possibility but I need custom size (16:9 with 175cm height) screen to keep the room perfectly dark (window behind screen) and replacing it would mean having one made to measure: a rather expensive solution...

Any advice?

Rich H

Well-known Member
The two best things you can use in your scenario are:

1. Specialty screen - i.e. some sort of gray screen with gain designed to maintain contrast in challenging rooms like yours. Cheap examples are the
graywolf screen. More expensive are the Stewart Firehawk and Screen Innovations Black Diamond screens. The Black Diamond screens in particular could be a life-saver for you, and may be worth the money if you have no alternative.

2. Curtains.

Curtains can look very nice, actually adding to the decor of the room. When retracted they can be very small and discrete; when pulled open they can span large parts of your wall to cut light, and a velvet material especially will kill reflections better than the darkest paint you can buy.

I was in a similar situation, wanting great projected images but not being able to have a full bat cave by day. Here are my curtain-based solutions from my build thread:

Rich H's Variable Image Size Home Theater - Build Thread - Completed!


Rich H


Standard Member
@ Rich,

First of all, WOW! :eek: dude you've got a really cool living room which turns into the perfect movie lover lair!

Second, thanks for your advice on my thread, much appreciated. :) A few questions, if I may:
1. Is that as far back as your curtains will draw? I want to show it to my boss (girlfriend) the low aesthetic impact of your solution, hoping in a green light.
2. I would also welcome buying advice for the velvet. I live in Tokyo and the cheapest sound/light specific velvet which I found here was 2,800Yen/m2 (30$/m2!!!!!!). It might be cheaper for me to import it from the US!
3. Did you sound/light test any cheaper material?
4. Be honest, what gift did you buy to your wife to avoid divorce? :p My girlfriend would never be as understanding as your wife! :eek:

Rich, really nice work! Well made!
Last edited:


Distinguished Member


Standard Member
Thanks. I checked the website and asked for a sample. Any advice for something cheaper than this excellent Whaleys velvet? I do not need sound transparent curtains, actually I even prefer the contrary - I am looking for an acoustically flat ambient and I will cut holes for the speakers or leave them in the corners as I use very small JBL (size of those small Bose cubes).

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