Setting up your in-home theater takes time, patience and planning. There are many things to think about before you’ll recline back in your comfy theater-style chair with a big bowl of buttery popcorn, dim the lights and enjoy your first flick. Designing the spatial aspects of your theater room is just as important as the actual components you choose. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips and things to think about so you can create a theater room for an optimal viewing experience, every time you press “play.”
- Size of your TV — Screen size is personal and ultimately up to you, but there are some guidelines as to what size will fit into your space. Don’t buy a new TV just because it’s on sale. Be sure that it will fit. Too big can be as problematic as too small.
- Angle of your TV — Your professional installer can help you determine what is best in terms of positioning your TV. Remember that the right viewing angle is just as important as the clarity of the picture.
- Lighting — Dimmers are almost a must in a home theater. Remote lighting can really take the viewing experience to a premium level.
- Décor of your space — Comfort and design go hand in hand. Be sure you’re budgeting for seating, shelving and any entertainment features you want such as a refrigerator for drinks, cabinets for snacks, a popcorn machine, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how you’ll decorate your theater room.
- Seating — If there are places to splurge in your home theater, seating is one of them. Seek out chairs that are cushy, comfy and that recline, if possible. Cup holders and built-in tables for snacks and dim lighting are a plus!
- Audio — Not only is the actual equipment important, but how and where you position your speakers is equally significant. Be sure when designing your room that you don’t obstruct or block and speakers with chairs, plants or other items in the room. Consult a professional if you’re planning on installing surround sound, subwoofers or rear speakers, as there is optimal positioning you should take into consideration. If space allows, putting a subwoofer in the middle of the room can make big-theater-sound a real possibility.
- Sound buffers — You may want to think about adding curtains, carpet or more furniture to your space to absorb some of the sound. Acoustics can make or break a viewing experience. A good way to tell if this will be a concern is if there’s an echo in the room. An echo when you talk is a sign that your audio during viewing will not be evenly distributed throughout the room.
- Quiet — Try to use a room in your home that is quiet. Newer equipment and components should run fairly quietly, which is what you want for the best viewing experience.
- Flooring — Carpet is a safe bet when designing your theater room. If you can, avoid tile and glass in the space as they can give off sound with a hollow effect.
- Temperature — Video and audio components can run hot; be sure to have a thermostat-controlled option in your room so you and your guests are at a comfortable temperature.
- Outlets — If you’re building your room, designing it first will allow you to have an electrician install outlets and power in all the appropriate places and eliminate the need for messy extension cords and inconvenient manual switches to control your components. Will you be installing seating with tabletop space for lighting? If so, be sure to plan for outlets in the flooring so you don’t have hazardous cords running along the ground.
- Electrical — if you need more electric sources, you should install a surge protector. Consult an electrician if you’re considering installing a whole-house surge protector, which may be a good decision, considering the financial investment you’re making.
- Ceilings — If you can, avoid drop ceilings, which can rattle. Think about hanging a sound absorbing material along your ceiling for ultimate sound during viewing.
A lot goes into making your home theater dream a reality. But with these tips and things to think about, you’ll be fully prepared to install a home theater room that will make you the talk of the neighborhood!