A home theater is a great way for you and your family to enjoy the latest blockbuster movie or video game. The following home theater design tips will help you plan your home theater so that you will get hours of family entertainment and be able to impress your friends and neighbors with the sights and sounds of a first class home theater.
- Location: When thinking about home theater design, consider that an ideal location for a dedicated home theater room is a room that is isolated from the rest of the home, such as a basement. You do not want people walking in and out of the room when you are trying to enjoy your favorite movie. It is also important to keep in mind the surrounding rooms. If you share a wall with a neighbor, your new subwoofer that is the pride and joy of your home theater system may shake the pictures off their wall during intense action scenes. Of course if they have a dog that sneaks over into your yard to do his business this may be a good way to get even.
- Acoustics - Acoustics are what help determine the sound qualities of your home theater. The goal is to both absorb and reflect your sound. A room with too little reflection would resemble having your theater outside and would be dull and lacking bass. If your home theater design includes too much reflection the sound will echo, resembling an old stone cathedral. The goal is to include sound absorption between the screen and the seating area. This can be in the form of professional sound absorption materials or it could be in the form of drapes, carpet or bookshelves.
- Shape of Room - The shape of the room is important for a number of reasons. One reason is for sound quality. Bass and mid range sound can be distorted near the walls and corners. Avoid rooms that are cubic such as 8' x 8' x 8' as well as rooms where 2 of the 3 dimensions of the same. Another consideration is for the room to be as enclosed as possible and not have an open space shared with other rooms.
- Size of Room - The amount of available space and intended use of your room will dictate your home theater design. Some people prefer a small intimate setting for their families, while others want their home theaters to feel like the local movie theater and want to use it for entertaining friends. Neither choice is right or wrong. Just keep in mind that the room should be large enough to comfortably place several recliners or sofas. For those that want to imitate the local theater you will want to design the room big enough for several rows of dedicated home theater seating. The distance between the screen and your seating should be 1.5 to 2 times the width of your screen.
- Lighting - A home theater with a limited amount of natural lighting is best, especially if you plan on using a projector where it is best to keep the room as dark as possible. Lighting should be placed so that it does not cause a reflection on the screen. Lighting should be soft and comfortable. Keep in mind functional lighting that will allow guests to make it safely to the exits for a bathroom break without having to turn on all the lights.