What you’ll need for your perfect home theater
Whether you’re a huge movie buff, or you’re desperate to add some more “fun” into your home while social-distancing guidelines remain in place, adding a home theater could be just what your family needs. And while it sounds like something you’d only find in the most extravagant of homes, affordable technology has made home theaters more accessible to families around the country.
While for some, the addition of a home theater requires an actual addition to the home—building out over a garage, adding a floor, etc.—many people opt to add a theater because they have the space to begin with. Whether you’re an empty nester, your children have outgrown their playroom or you’re looking to build, here’s how to make your home theater feel like you’re out at the movies.
The perfect space
You’ll want a somewhat secluded space, tucked away from the kitchen and the hustle and bustle of everyday happenings in your home. Experts recommend a room that is at least 12 by 12 feet, preferably, 20 feet long by 13 feet wide. Adding the right insulation can also help to keep those loud cinematic noises from projecting through your entire home.
Your AV selections
While you can choose to use a big-screen HDTV, movie enthusiasts suggest springing for a projector for a real theater experience. Projectors not only tend to be slightly easier on your eyes, they can also produce the same resolution that most high-end TVs have but on an even larger screen. Just make sure to take into account the life of the lamp when making your selection. Options tend to range from about $500 all the way up to approximately $5,000.
As for screen choices, it will depend on how dark you’ll typically want your theater. The most popular options are typically white, which works best for dark settings, while those who prefer some background lighting often opt for a slightly grey option. There are both retractable and fixed screen options, and some choose to use projector paint on either a canvas or a wall for a budget-friendly option.
For your media player, you’ll want to opt for a Blu-Ray player with capability to support 3D and 4K technology. And for your sound system selections, it will depend on the size of your room. Most home theaters have a 7.1 surround system, which includes a subwoofer and seven channel speakers, but if your room is smaller you might be able to get away with a 5.1 system.
Get the sound and light right
You’ll want to ensure that you’re keeping both ambient sound and light out of your theater. Try to choose a space with little light to begin with and block any extra light out with curtains or shades. You can also choose darker paint colors for the walls and ceilings.
To keep noise out, consider adding a second layer of drywall or even a sound-reducing wallboard. Another idea is to install a solid, rather than a hollow, door. And to perfect the sound inside your theater, the softer your room is the better. Think carpeting, curtains, cushiony seats—all of which help to better absorb the sound, reducing audio-bounce.
Besides opting for something cushiony to help absorb the sound, the choice is yours on whether you go all out—choosing fancy reclining seats equipped with cupholders and all—or whether you decide to go for something simpler. You can choose between single-seating or bench-seating—just make sure no one has a blocked view or has to be situated too close or too far away from the screen.
If you choose to go with more traditional theater-style seating, you can typically fit two rows of four seats within a 20 by 13-foot theater. Consider elevating your back row with a pre-built platform to ensure no one in the back row has an obstructed view.
Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show.