Home Theater Design: The Basics
A home theater can be an amazing space to relax with friends and family and take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters, foreign art films or even a Thursday night reality show. What you watch is up to you.
However, choosing what to watch is nothing like designing a home theater, as it requires careful planning and consideration. If you really want your home theater to function properly, there are some basic choices you need to make even before you start buying electronics and finding somebody to wire it all up for you.
Choose Your Room Wisely
Almost any room in your home can be used as a home theater space in a pinch; however, if you have the option of using a few different rooms or rearranging your space, choosing your room wisely can make a big difference.
If you have the option, choose a room that’s rectangular, not square. Square rooms tend to amplify reflections.
You’ll also want to use a room with as few windows as possible. You’ll likely want to block the light when you’re in the room anyway, so why invest in curtains and deal with distorted sound from the glass if you don’t have to?
Treat Your Walls
In most cases, sound treatment is one of the most neglected parts of home theater design. Most people simply don’t realise how big of a difference it makes, especially in a square room, a room with low ceilings or a fairly empty room.
If you’re going to treat your walls, packaged deals from acoustics companies can actually work well for home theaters since they don’t require you to understand standing waves, bass traps and harmonic distortion to make them work.
If you prefer a DIY approach, Owens-Corning 703 can be wrapped in material and hung on the walls. Ideally, you’ll want to cover about 30 to 40-percent of your walls with this.
What’s On the Floor?
A home theater design with a comfortable, cushy carpet is ideal; however, if your space has hardwood floors and you don’t want to cover them up, using heavy rugs can really make a big difference in limiting sound reflections.
Even if you did treat your walls properly, rugs are essential for improving your overall home theater experience. You can use one large rug for your seating area or scatter a few smaller rugs around your space.
Try for about 50-percent coverage with rugs to minimise audio problems.
Seating is a major factor when it comes to how comfortable your home theater setup is. Most homeowners choose between two options: theater seats or a more eclectic mixed seating style.
Theater seats can be pricey, but they’ll give your home theater a genuine look that many people tend to love. On the other hand, mixing sofas, comfortable lounge chairs and even cost-effective solutions, like bean bag chairs, can be more comfortable and cosy.
Consider your budget and whether or not you really want a formal screening room type atmosphere.
Chances are the room you choose for your home theater will have light-coloured walls; however, for a home theater, you will likely want to paint the walls with darker shades to minimise light reflections.
If you don’t want to paint your walls black, dark red, deep purple and even navy blue can all work well.
Once you’ve built the perfect home theater, you may find the room to be just a bit dry. To remedy this, a few pieces of decor and accessories can make a big difference.
Adding a few small items, like sculptures, paintings or flowers on a pedestal or small table can make a big difference. Soothing accessories, like wall fountains, can also make the space more comfortable without altering your entire theater experience.
Building the perfect home theater isnít something you can do overnight. Some people usually dedicate months to getting their space just right, and when that time comes, youíll be able to enjoy it for years, likely without any changes at all.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, business owner and mother whose writing offers numerous DIY tips for the home and for families. She has a home theater of her own and loves to incorporate wall fountains into her design for a perfect home theater experience.