Finish a Basement: A DIY remodeling adventure!
Great home theater tips to help you design and setup your basement home theater!

Return to our Home page
Visit our project planning page to learn how to prepare to finish your basement whether you're remodeling your basement by yourself, or hiring a contractor to finish your basement
Visit our design page to see how we created our basement design, and for tips on how you can design the basement of your dreams
Check here for information on the tasks you'll need to complete to finish your basement. Complete with the lessons we learned as we remodeled our basement, and tips to help you avoid some of the mistakes we made.
Whether you're designing a dedicated home theater, or creating a multi-purpose media room, check here for tips on selecting home theater components, and calibrating, and setting up your AV equipment
Check here to follow along as we complete our DIY basement remodeling project!


>Home >Home theater >Lutron Spacer System

Lutron Spacer System: Custom programmable scenes in your home theater

See the previous topic in this sectionSee the next topic in this section

Lutron Spacer System

Lutron Spacer System dimmers in a 4-gang box. [Click to enlarge]The Lutron Spacer System is a multi-scene programmable remote control system that provides a relatively inexpensive option for people who want the convenience and "wow" factor of a zoned lighting system without spending thousands of dollars. The Spacer System can be purchased for at a fraction of the cost of more expensive home theater lighting options.

Lutron Spacer System dimmers & 3-way dimmer switches

In order to assemble your Lutron Spacer System, you'll need to purchase special dimmers made to work with the system. These cost about $10 more than Lutron's Maestro dimmers but are well worth it! Lutron 3-way dimmer switches will give you the flexibility to turn certain lights on/off, plus allow you to dim them- even if you're not near your master controller. These run about $30-$40 each and must be purchased in pairs.

Lutron Master Controller

The heart of the Lutron Spacer system is the Master Controller . This infrared switch provides an easily programmable way to set up to four lighting 'scenes', plus an "all on" option. Installed in a 4-gang box (four switches) the master controller will operate up to three other switches. By adding an infrared repeater, you can control any number of additional switches in a separate location in your basement. I have seven separate switches on my system (including two 3-way dimmers). My home office is in a completely separate room and thus not part of the spacer system.

Programming the Master Controller

Lutron Master Controller programmingProgramming the Lutron Master Controller is a piece of cake. The system works in much the same way as setting presets on your car stereo. Simply set each dimmer switch to the desired level of lighting, and then hold the preset button down for a few seconds until it flashes. That's it! Your scene is set! Next, re-set all the switches to a new level and hold down the 2nd preset button until it flashes, and so on.

Lighting scenes

Even with four scenes, chances are they'll be times you wish you had more. Another cool thing about the spacer system is when you set a scene, the lights dim (or brighten) slowly. When we switch from 'full on' to theater mode for example, the anticipation builds as the scene is slowly set.

Here's a look at how we setup our Spacer System, and how the various scenes look from different parts of our basement:
(Click to enlarge images)

All on: The top button on the Lutron Master Controller is the 'all on' button which does just what is says. We rarely use this scene when the projector is on:

Pub table & kitchen area- all lights on. [Click to enlarge]Sectional & theater are- all lights on. [Click to enlarge]

Scene 1: Theater mode This is the scene we use for 'family movie night'. The two rows of recessed cans are complete off, and the 3rd set at about 20% (there are little indicator lights on the switches). The wall sconces are set at 10% just to provide some ambiance. The lights over the pub table are completely off, and the under counter lights are set at about 30%. We've found this is just bright enough to mix a drink or make a snack without having the light spoil the mood.

Theater scene lighting- Day after Tommorrow [Click to enlarge]Theater scene lighting- 3:10 to Yuma [Click to enlarge]


Scene 2: TV mode This is what we use for general TV watching. We don't need the main seating area quite as dark. Also, we want other areas of the basement to be somewhat lit. We use this for when we have people over to watch a sporting event, or when we play Rock Band. Here's how it looks:

TV lighting scene keeps the screen somewhat dark with about 50% lighting in the rest of the basement. [Click to enlarge]The pub kitchen area is very usable with this lighting scene. [Click to enlarge]


Scene 3: Bright TV/reading mode I created this scene in the interest of 'family harmony' (aka- to keep the Mrs. happy) and it works well for the limited times that we need it. While watching TV, sometimes my wife likes to clip coupons, or once in a while the kids will want to read. (Evidently the show is not that great!) Anyway, this scene makes it bright enough to do those activities while keeping it dark enough on the screen to make viewing enjoyable. Here's a look at scene 3:

View of the screen from just behind the main seating area. [Click to enlarge]View of the 102" Carada screen from the pub table about 35' away. [Click to Enlarge]


Scene 4: Music mode We have a separate area of our basement that we call our 'music studio'. Not really a studio, just the only place we could fit our guitars, amps, & keyboard. Scene four lights that area only with the rest of the lights off. No sense burning 20 or so lights if we're only in one part of the basement! Here's scene 4:

Guitars, amps, & keyboard in the music area.More guitars, amps, & keyboard in the music area.

Controlling it all with a universal remote

Harmony 890 home theater remote. [Click for more] Another great thing about the Lutron Spacer System is that you can control it all with your universal remote! Not sure if which remotes will control the system, but Logitech Harmony home theater remotes handle it without a problem. You use the Harmony Web site to download the spacer system codes and assign the buttons however you want. I use numerical 1-4 for the scenes, and volume up/down to brighten or dim the entire basement. I also have the remote's events set to control the lights too. Pressing "Watch Blu-ray" or "Watch TV" sets the lighting scene for the big event!

Home Theater Topics

Setting your budget

Selecting components

A/V receivers

How big should the screen be?

Display technologies

Front projectors

HDTV shopping tips

Speakers and subwoofer

DVD players

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD

How to buy a Blu-ray player

Top Blu-ray players

Lutron dimmers: Custom home theater lighting

Lutron Spacer System: Custom programmable scene lighting

Cables and accessories

Buying home theater systems

Buying home theater speaker, Blu-ray players, and accessories

Home theater setup



Home |Project Planning | Design | Construction | Home Theater | Our Progress | About this site

©2009-2012 Wilk Web Works
All content is protected by copyright. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
All rights reserved.