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:

Even with a limited budget, you can save, little by little, to pay for your ultimate home theater experience.

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.

Designing the home theater of your dreams is like piecing a puzzle together — you need all the right elements for the most enjoyable experience. (DepositPhotos)

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.

sound system
Sound is a major part of a home theater system — this setup may work for a small room, but large spaces require more advanced equipment.

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.

The components you add to your home theater depend on the room’s size.

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.

C by GE smart switch
The C by GE smart switch can control any vintage light bulb with smart technology.

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.

comfortable chairs
Leather seating is timeless and fits in with both modern and vintage decor.

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!

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More