Did you know you could replicate a movie theater experience from the comfort of your living room? Homeowners everywhere have been creating these spaces known as home theaters for a while now, with some using basic devices and materials such as projectors and screens for a more DIY aesthetic. Meanwhile, others have only gotten more creative in pursuing an immersive home cinema experience. If you’re interested in creating one of these spaces in your own residence, but feel you have no idea where to start, don’t fret: here are 6 tips on how to make your home theater the best of the best.
1. Locate the right space in your home
When selecting which room to place your home theater, there are a few aspects to consider. First, you need to select an area that is isolated from other spaces to avoid any recurring distractions that could take away from your cinematic experience. For instance, you’ll want to avoid establishing your home cinema next to an area like the kitchen, as the smells and sounds of cooking can prevent you from being immersed in the movie you’re watching.
Apart from that, you should also select a room that offers enough space for a home theater to occupy. Ideally, your home theater should be 20 feet long by 13 feet wide, although if you feel such dimensions might not be the right fit for your vision, you can always adjust accordingly. If your space isn’t big enough, you may have trouble fitting in the right equipment and seating, reducing the enjoyability of using the space as intended.
2. Rig up a competent AV system
Tap into the electrician in you and put together the right AV system to support your home cinema dreams. In terms of sound, most home theater owners utilize a 7.1 surround sound system, which uses 1 subwoofer and 7 speakers to immerse the viewer in the film’s sound design. However, if you feel that’s not enough for the experience you’re attempting to build, consider a 9.1 surround sound system instead, which adds 2 more speakers in the front.
Once your audio is rigged up, you’ll also want to rig up your visual system. For faithfulness to the cinematic experience, using a projector rather than an electronic television or PC screen is advised; you’ll want to rig the projector overhead to maximize the similarity to the familiar theater feel. Also, don’t forget to attach the HDMI cable to the projector, so you have a source for your films and other viewable material in the form of your HP laptop.
3. Aim to establish the right ambience
An important part of getting that authentic cinema feel is getting the ambiance right in terms of light and sound. You’ll want to eliminate all ambient light outside of your control: for this reason, consider blocking any windows in the space by using thick curtains to avoid any light seeping in. As for ambient light you want in your space, install lights you can fine-tune through your phone or some other device to replicate the way cinema lights brighten and dim during screenings.
As for sound, you’ll want to eliminate ambient noise not coming from your Bose speakers that could interfere with your movie-watching experience. To do this, you might want to soundproof your walls using specific materials such as QuietRock Soundproof Drywall. Additionally, sealing any cracks with caulk can go a long way in ensuring sound doesn’t leak in or out of your home theater space.
4. Install authentic theater seating
One can’t accurately capture the movie theater experience without getting the proper seating. The market for home theater seating is surprisingly wide, and multiple options are afforded to homeowners looking to spice up their home theater, with some offering comfortable armrests and even cup holders. The more comfortable and authentic your seating of choice, the cozier your overall home theater will be – so choose carefully.
When installing this seating, you should make sure the location of each seat is strategic and doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s viewer experience. To truly simulate a movie theater environment and ensure everybody gets a good view of the show from the LCD projector, you should elevate the rear seats at least 6 inches above the front seats. Additionally, maintain space between the seats and the screen, so every audience member gets a clear view of what’s being shown.
5. Choose the right wall decor
A somewhat-overlooked aspect of the theater experience that some homeowners skip over entirely is the decoration of the walls. Adding wall-to-wall carpeting can add a touch of familiarity for those aiming to simulate the cinema feel and can also help with noise reduction. Apart from that, you can also install your ambient lights here, further imitating the look and feel of a movie theater.
If you’re not planning to add carpeting or lights, you can instead opt for dark paint for your walls. Creating a dark atmosphere like this can aid in controlling your lighting situation, as it helps to minimize the reflection of light and, therefore, the creation of unwanted ambient light. You can also paint your ceiling darker to achieve and/or amplify this effect.
6. Consider purchasing theater miscellanea
Now that all the other aspects of your home cinema have been finalized, consider furnishing the space with movie theater staples to immerse yourself in the experience better. For instance, you could purchase a popcorn machine for your audience to refill their tubs. The smell and sound of corn popping can help establish a real theater’s mood.
You can also find many soda dispensers online that you can install relatively easily. The sound of a soda stream falling into a cup is familiar to many moviegoers and also eliminates the need to go all the way to the kitchen and back for a beverage.
Establishing a home cinema is relatively easy and can provide a fun little project for any interested homeowner to invest in. While you may find the rigging of electronics and installment of seating, for instance, you’ll find it flies by surprisingly easily with the help of friends who are just as excited as you about building a home cinema. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting back in a comfortable chair, watching the opening credits to your favorite movie with your friends and family by your side.