More and more people are considering building a home theater. You can’t blame them. Watching movies is one of the most pleasurable things to do. If you don’t want to burn any more cash on movie tickets to see the latest films on the big screen, why not save up and set up a home theater instead?
With all the high-tech home theater systems available on the market today, you can easily recreate a media room right inside your own home. But where do you start?
In this article, we take you through the basic steps of designing and building a home theater in your home:
Draw a Budget for Your Theater Room
To begin with, you need to create a realistic budget. You should get a comfortable range to work with. Then, you need to break your budget down into 3 categories:
- Audio-Visual equipment
- Interior design/Acoustic treatments
- Theater room seating
Afterward, you should prioritize your budget. You may consider sound, for instance, as the most important component of your theater. In that case, you should consider investing more money in your speakers and Sound Control equipment.
Conversely, you could be more interested in having the largest screen possible. Hence, you’ll have to invest more in a projector or screen. If you are more into creating an exceptionally elegant home theater design, then you will prioritize that element in your budget.
In the end, you should have a clear idea of what you want to spend on the various elements of your theater, including acoustic panels, media room décor, and seating.
Home Theater Dimensions and Location
A good home theater space should be 20 feet long by 13 feet. It should be somewhat isolated from the rest of the house. You need to have your movie theater in a place that doesn’t interrupt other activities in your home. The sound should not disturb anyone.
Here are some good options for a theater space:
- Constructing a theater wing off the family room
- Transforming a spare bedroom that is at least 12 by 12 feet
- Closing in the open second-story space above your living room.
Once you have an ideal space, it is time to think about A/V equipment for your theater.
Choosing the Audio-Visual Equipment
Where do you want to prioritize your A/V budget? To begin with, something like a blue-ray player, a game console, or cable box is essential. This is what you’re going to actually hook up to your theater system.
The screen size is also integral to your overall theater experience. The ideal viewing distance is roughly 1.5 x the diagonal length of the screen. What does this mean?
A larger home theater space will require a wider screen. If your theater room is not too long, avoid purchasing the widest screen available. You don’t want to sit too close to the screen.
How about you also purchase ceiling or in-wall speakers for your surround sound? You can easily hide these behind acoustic panels or place them in columns. You don’t want to mount speakers on the walls as they don’t look pleasing to the eye and may interfere with your home theater design concept.
In summary, here are the basic A/V equipment you should consider acquiring for your home theater:
HDTV or Projector – It is advisable to go for the latest TVs. They are quite portable and come with smart features such as built-in internet streaming and Wi-Fi connectivity to your other devices. If you are working with a limited budget, however, you can opt for a projector. In fact, you can get an amazing image of at least 100 inches from an inexpensive HD projector.
Projector Screen – If you opt to use a projector instead of an HDTV, you will need a projector screen. If your budget allows, you can invest in a dedicated screen. Otherwise, you can use the existing drywall or build a simple DIY screen using off-the-shelf materials.
Receiver – Your receiver will be the center for handling all of the audio and video for your home theater system. Your streaming set-top boxes, consoles, and most of other inputs will be plugged into the receiver. The receiver will then transmit video to your screen and the audio to your speakers. This presents a more organized theater system, with a single device to connect all of your equipment and manage it.
Speakers – When it comes to choosing speakers for your home theater, it is advisable to go for a surround sound system as opposed to a pair of stereo speakers. The most common format is known as 5.1. It is made up of five small speakers – two on either side of the screen, the two rear corners, and the center, plus one larger sub-woofer mounted in the corner to generate the lower frequency sounds.
You can also opt for the newer format known as 7.1. This includes two additional rear speakers. However, there’s normally no significant difference between a 5.1 and 7.1 speaker system.
Soundbar – If you are dealing with a tight space or have a limited budget, a sound bar can be a great choice for you. With a modern soundbar, you won’t need a receiver, as the soundbars are powered and amplified.
All you need to do is connect all of your devices to the TV, then output the sound from the TV to your soundbar. Depending on the soundbar you choose, you can get good quality sound in a package that is a fraction of the cost and size of surround systems.
Home Theater Installation
Once you have acquired all the pieces of your home theater system, you will then have to set it up. While it doesn’t take expert skill, some aspects will need professional help. You will need to wire the speakers and the lighting before you get to work on the ceiling. Then, you can hire a professional to install the wall carpeting and various wall coverings.
Lastly, you can connect the video and audio components yourself. If your theater room design includes wall-to-wall acoustic panels, be sure your installers really understand how to make on-site modifications to the acoustic panels, moldings, and other theater room décor items being installed.
Install Theater-Style Seating
You can furnish your theater with cozy sofas and loveseats. If you want the real theater experience, however, you should consider installing genuine theater-style seating. A 20 by 13-feet theater can comfortably accommodate two rows of four seats. Consider elevating the back row with a pre-built platform, for a more comfortable viewing.
It is worth noting that home theater seating comes in a wide range of options. This means that you can get a color that matches your theater’s interior design. You can even get genuine leather seats with cup-holders in the armrests.
Having a home theater can be a gratifying experience to your home life. Conversely, it can also result in some anxiety if you don’t plan well. Nonetheless, setting up a good theater doesn’t have to complicated or awfully expensive. You just need to understand what you are doing, and this article presents valuable insights to that end.