Entertainment looks much different than it did a year ago. But with streaming services offering the latest movie premieres, coupled with the approach of some of the year’s biggest televised events, let’s turn some of those lemons into lemonade and look at key tips for building the perfect home theatre.
While incorporating a home theatre environment into your family room is fantastic, if your goal is to create a space solely for theatrical enjoyment, a dedicated space is best. Whether you just finished your basement or plan to, this is the perfect opportunity for this project.
The primary reasons for a dedicated room are layout and treatment. You’ll get more out of the space by optimizing the placement of furniture, speakers, lighting, and sound baffles.
The goal for seating is comfort and screen visibility. Place plush armchairs or couches a suitable distance from the screen, but not too far away. Installing castors on couches, armchairs or love seats are a convenient way to shift or add seating on demand. For a genuine theatre feel, consider tiered seating if your space allows. While you can buy chairs with built-in cup and snack holders, side tables or a coffee table are handy options as well.
The Big Screen
When planning for your screen, you’ll need to decide whether to go with a smart TV or a mounted screen and projector. Projectors used to be prohibitively expensive, but modern advancements have brought their costs way down.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to mount the screen high enough so that everyone can see clearly—especially with row seating—and low enough so viewers aren’t straining their necks.
Unless you use a smart TV, you’ll need a streaming device, a Blu-Ray or DVD player, plus a receiver and surround sound system. If you wish to avoid surround sound components, a decent sound bar will do nicely and negate the need for a receiver.
Keep your main components together on a TV stand or rack close to an outlet and wired internet access. If you’re planning to use a surround sound system, then it’s strongly recommended to research thoroughly to decide what’s best for your budget and space.
Note: While Wi-Fi has come a long way in strength and speed, if you’re streaming in HD (1080p) or Ultra HD (4k), nothing will beat a wired network connection.
Reduce outside noise pollution by installing an additional layer of drywall or sound-reducing wallboard, plus replacing the hollow door with a solid one.
Sound (or room) treatment is more commonly associated with recording studios, but applies in this case because it’s best to reduce reverberation (reverb) as much as possible for a crisp, clean sound. Acoustic foam and baffles can be bought for a reasonable price and applied to walls, the ceiling and corners to cut the reverb.
The other key element of sound treatment is speaker placement, especially in relation to your seating so do some research.
Set The Tone
To create that perfect theatre atmosphere, start with as little natural light possible. Basements and inner rooms are prime spaces to work with. If your room has windows, the aim is to block our natural light completely and with as little effort as possible.
As far as artificial lighting goes, pot (recessed) lights or wall sconces, coupled with a good dimmer switch give precise control over light levels while reducing the risk of eye strain. An economical substitution is to run LED string lights along the sides of your room.
Many people have a bar in their dens, so why not take your home theatre environment to the next level with a snack bar? This could include a mini fridge for your favourite beverages, storage for chips, nuts and candy, or even a popcorn maker to give your theatre that authentic buttered popcorn smell.
Things To Avoid
Like most projects there are common traps to be mindful of, such as:
• Overspending: Technology changes quickly, so don’t budget for the most expensive setup available when you may have to update in a few years.
• Overly Bright Décor: Bright flooring, furniture and décor can have a negative impact on your room’s ambiance. Darker tones work best.
• Hard Flooring: Smooth flooring contributes to sound reverb so it’s best to use carpeting if possible (the thicker the better!)
• Lighting Behind Seating: This is a surefire way to add unwanted glare to your viewing experience, keep lighting to the sides as much as possible.
Now that you have a better understanding of the key elements for building your home theatre, you’re ready to hit the ground running. As long as you have a well-researched plan for your space, you’re sure to create your perfect home theatre.