There are a number of ways to maximize your home for comfort, style and entertainment. Installing a home theater is close to the top of that list, but if you have home theater design on your mind, you may be unsure of where or how to start.
If you plan to build a home theater, here are some tips to get the best results:
1. Have a Vision and a Budget
Picture how you’d like your home theater to look and function — then build a budget based on that.
Be realistic with your vision and budget because it has to be feasible. But don’t be stingy either, especially if you want a truly enjoyable and immersive audio and video experience.
2. Find the Perfect Spot
Identify the perfect room in your house to set up your home theater. The basement is a good idea because there’s less risk of natural light slipping in. It also provides some sound insulation.
If your basement is out of the question, find a spare room with the least amount of windows and enough space for your screen, seats and speakers.
The room should be dedicated just to the home theater, and noises from other rooms should not interfere with your cinematic experience.
This means your living room will not be a good idea, as it’s a central portion of the house that anyone can trample through at any time.
Also, living room windows will make it difficult to effectively control lighting and sound.
3. Make Sound a Priority
Sound is the heart of every ultimate home theater. You might as well stick with the TV in the living room if you are not going to prioritize sound for your home theater setup.
To that end, the room for your home theater should have solid acoustics. Wall-to-wall carpeting and draperies on the walls will help minimize the bouncing of sound.
The style of speakers you choose should be a good fit for the room you are setting up. If the room is big and the speakers are too small, you will end up with poor audio.
For a large room, consider on-wall or in-wall speakers; choose more affordable satellite speakers for a small room.
Once the matter of acoustics is settled, the next thing you have to figure out is what kind of sound system to install.
These days, you can get high-end audio systems at a fair price. Just don’t be cheap because you’ll get what you pay for. Your best bet is to check online reviews for affordable sound systems that don’t compromise on quality.
4. Consider the Room’s Size
For the ultimate home theater, a projector is always the best option. Use a short-throw projector — with 0 to 4 feet between it and the screen — for a smaller room. Use a large-throw projector — with 7 feet or more between the projector and screen — for a large room.
Also, for an optimal experience, your ultimate home theater should have a Blu-ray player, cable/satellite feed, streaming services, game console, a screen, and home theater PC.
Remember that the larger the screen, the better, but it shouldn’t be larger than the available wall space. And if you can afford it, you might as well opt for 3D technology.
You’ll also need controls for all your components. A universal remote — which controls multiple devices — will prevent you from having to juggle several remotes just to enjoy a movie.
5. Find the Perfect Lighting
Light control gives you the power to dim lights as needed, or simply turn them on and off. Lighting is key to having an immersive home theater experience, so keep out natural light, or light from other rooms, and paint the theater room the darkest color possible.
6. Choose Seating Arrangements
Finally, make sure the seats are not installed too close or too far from the screen. If you can afford it, splurge on theater-style seats, but the truth is, any forward-facing seat that is comfortable — particularly recliners — will serve just fine.
Follow these tips and you may never have to step foot in another movie theater!