The notion that a home theater is only for the rich and famous is passé. With advancements in technology and innovative design strategies, transforming a room into a home theater has become an attainable goal for every budget. And with more people staying indoors for the foreseeable future, a home theater could be an important addition to your home. So, if you’re ready to design your own home theater, here are some tips to guide you:
Make sure it’s a dedicated space
Unless you want to lessen the cinematic experience, The Spruce suggests it’s best to put your home theater in a dedicated room to avoid distractions, like kids running through it. The best way to do this is to repurpose a room specifically for watching. Keep in mind the amount of space needed so that the seats won’t be too close to the screen.
Go easy on the walls and soft on the floor
Regular drywall is a good enough surface for a home theater, according to the Family Handyman, which means you don’t necessarily have to do anything special to your walls, like installing sound-proof implements. However, you need to break up large flat surfaces, which you can do by hanging drapes and bringing in furniture. You can even learn how to use old refurbished wood to create new furniture, if you read our post on ‘Home Renovation Advice for a New Generation’. This way, you add something unique to your home theater, and make it sustainable as well. Having said that, avoid hanging anything framed in glass, as it can reflect sound and light and distract from your viewing experience. As for the floor, you can never go wrong with carpet, as it is also the best for absorbing ambient sound (more on this later).
Get the right equipment and put it in the right places
At its core, a home theater needs to provide both high-quality video and immersive audio to ensure visual and aural nirvana. That’s only possible if you have the right audio visual equipment and have them placed strategically for the best viewing experience.
The display of choice for most home theaters has traditionally been the two-piece projector/screen combo, though big screen flat-panel HDTVs, OLEDs, and smart TVs are also popular. Whichever you choose, you’ll have to find considerable space for your video equipment on a side of the room not facing windows and as far away as possible from ambient light sources. Digital Trends stresses that you make sure that it’s neither too big nor too small in order to be relative to the room’s size, and is placed at just the right height (ideally, not more than 8 feet high) to ensure maximum comfort while watching.
Getting the right video equipment is just one half of the equation. The home electronics listed on Adorama shows how it is absolutely imperative to get the right audio, too, as is the placement of the speakers. Watching a film in a home theater should be an experience, so you should invest in 5.1-surround sound (5 full-range speakers with 1 woofer). DIY Network details that three of these speakers and the woofer must be placed towards the front of the room, with the center front speaker placed just beneath or on top of the screen (so that sound projects directly from the display). The woofer, on the other hand, must be placed on any of the front corners so it distributes low bass sounds more evenly. The other two speakers go behind the seats (thus ensuring surround sound).
Limit ambient light and sounds
We’ve mentioned both ambient light and sound, whose unwanted presence in your home theater can distract from a pleasurable viewing experience. Hence, controlling them is a must.
Everywhere else, the goal would be to let more natural light in to make your home more sustainable. The opposite is true for your home theater, where you need to eliminate ambient light as it kills images projected by a projector and causes a distracting glare when watching on a flat screen TV. Thus, choose a room with minimal natural light, or install light-blocking curtains or blinds.
Ambient sounds are the unwanted sounds from outside your home theater, which makes it challenging to get that full cinema experience. Consider replacing a hollow-core door with a solid one — a simply switch that can help soundproof the room. You can also opt for a thicker light-blocking curtain that would block out not only light, but also unwanted sounds.
With the design hacks above, you’ll be well on your way to having your own home theater. For more interior ideas do check out our blog on Little Blue Deer Design