Projector Screen vs Projector Paint

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated December 9, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best projector, you need a smooth surface to maximize your image quality. That said, you may wonder about projector screens vs projector paint for your dedicated home theater room. Or, maybe you’re unsure of what paint to use for a projector screen. Luckily, you can apply projector screen paint to your entire wall to cover multiple aspect ratios and help with ambient light. That said, is it as good as an actual projector screen? Read on, and we’ll help you choose between reflective paint and a projection screen.


  • A projector screen is usually the best way to watch movies or television in your dedicated media room.
  • Projector paint is a fantastic option to maximize your screen size for a lower price.
  • Either option ensures your viewing environment is free from as much ambient light as possible.

Comparing a Dedicated Projector Screen and Projector Screen Paint

The most significant differences between projector paint and an actual screen are the installation and maintenance. In addition, like comparing glossy and matte projector screens, there are definite implications for your projector’s bright colors and deep blacks.

Insider Tip

Choosing the correct location for your painted screen is a critical aspect of maximizing your painted screen. Ensure the wall you select gets the least amount of direct light possible.

For example, you cannot use regular paint to rival an expensive screen. For a painted screen, you’ll need special paint and a perfectly smooth wall surface. Most experts recommend using a power sander to get a flat surface before painting the accent wall.

In contrast, projector screens are specifically created to recreate the theater experience at home. In addition, you need to hang them on the wall or use a freestanding base. Lastly, you need to regularly dust and maintain your dedicated screen to maximize the investment.

Consider reading our guide comparing grey and white screens if you choose to go with a projector screen. Plus, if you do choose a projector screen, you’ll want to learn how to hide a projector screen so it’s tucked away and safe from damage.

Image Quality

While painted screens are a great alternative to a traditional fabric screen, they will not have the same quality. Even though you could achieve a 100-inch screen with paint, the typical wall will not have the consistent surface necessary to achieve the ultimate viewing experience. In addition, screen innovations allow for wider viewing angles and a more accurate color than reflective paint.

Bright Image

A white screen will create a much brighter image in the correct environment than any screen paint. That said, if you use darker colors, like grey or black screen paint, you can achieve similar results to a cheaper screen.

Cheapest Option

Your price range depends on the scope of whichever route you choose. If you choose the expensive screen or projection paint option, you will get solid results. That said, using a couple of coats of premium projector paint will usually cost less than purchasing a premium projector screen.

On the other hand, if you decide to go for a retractable screen, you’ll want to learn how to fix a retractable projector screen.


Always let the coats of paint dry before touching your projection wall. Fingerprints, dust, or dirt will degrade your image if they settle in the paint before it dries.


Can You Use a White Wall for a Projector?

While you can use a white wall for a projector, it is not ideal. For example, a plain white wall will not reflect the light necessary for HD images or dark scenes.

What is the perfect color to paint a wall as a projector screen?

If you can afford it, black projector paint is the best option for a painted projector wall. That said, grey paint will provide a dark enough surface for deep blacks and high contrast.

Do different surfaces matter? What is the ideal space?

If you want a painted projector wall, you need to sand it for the smoothest possible surface. Bumps, dust, and dirt will show up under the light of your projector, degrading your viewing experience.

STAT: According to The Numbers market analysis, the average movie ticket price rose 110% between 1995 and 2021. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image