These are some notes on a reddit comment by M∴I∴ Companion Jason Mitchell, on the subject of how the Room of Preparation should be set up. All I’ve done is format it for ease of reading.
The Prep Room is ritual space. It is not a closet. It is not storage. It is not a utility room. It is just as “sacred” as the Lodge room proper, the altar, and the VSL itself. Clean out your prep room, and make it “sacred” ritual space.
The Prep Room experience is part of the ritual. It should be one candidate at a time (never exceed one candidate). It is not a locker room. The Candidate should feel mildly unwelcome, and the Officers present need to be coldly professional and oppressively silent. There are no smiles in the prep room. There is no joviality in the prep room. Before the Candidate knocks on the door, he needs at least one heartbeat of hesitation and fear. He needs to look at the exit and make the choice to stay.
The prep room should be dark or dimly light. One light bulbs roughly 20W with a color temperature 2700-3000K (or LED or florescent equivalent) is enough. Bright bulbs, white bulbs, or colors are to be avoided. Candles are another matter, but most temples won’t cover the insurance for open flame.
Paint the town red. The prep room walls should be neither white nor black, but a neutral earth tone. With the proper illumination, the proper effect is achieved. Black and white walls ruin the effect. Neutral colors. Always use neutral colors in ritual environments. They just work better with illumination and colors, especially in low-light conditions.
Symbols. Only ever include symbols directly reference in your Grand Lodge’s Work, lectures, or monitors. The idea is to foreshadow things to come.
Know your work. It should go without saying that the prep room is the first ritual experience of the candidate. If you have to read the Work, you’ve already lost him.