Home Theater Design Ideas for the Ultimate Binge-Watching Experience
From location to furnishings to placement, here are 10 things to consider when creating the ultimate binge-watching home theater design.
What’s Your Budget?
The first thing you’ll need to do is set a budget. The company 3-D Squared, which focuses on home theater design, suggests determining how much you want to spend on the various parts of your home theater. “Break this down into the following three categories: audio and video, interior design/acoustic treatments and theater seating.” Setting a budget will help you focus on what areas of your home theater will be a priority. Learn how to create a first-class home theater setup in your home.
Location, Location, Location
“The ideal space for a home theater is 20 feet long by 13 feet wide and relatively isolated from the rest of the house,” according to S&J Properties, a building and remodeling company. The location of your home theater should not disrupt the rest of your home, as you don’t want the sound to disturb others. S&J Properties says good options include building a theater wing off the family room, converting a living room, closing in the open second-story space above a formal living room or converting a bedroom.
When it comes to windows and home theater design, the fewer the better. “Windows are a double bugaboo: They’re hard surfaces that reflect sound-causing audio distortion, and they admit light that can produce reflections on your viewing surface,” notes AIVICOM, a company that focuses on home theater design. If you’re converting a room that does have windows, heavy curtains and shades can help—just be sure to choose blackout-style window treatments.
“If you’re tempted to staple inverted egg cartons all over your walls to muffle sound, relax,” notes AIVICOM. “Regular drywall is a decent surface appropriate for home theater walls. However, break up large flat surfaces with furniture or drapes.Don’t add framed art with glass—it’s too reflective of sound and light.”
The company also says that if you’re setting up the theater in your basement and have concrete walls, consider installing studs and drywall. Other options include acoustic wall panels that are designed specially for home theaters, such as these from Amazon.
What Kind of Flooring?
When thinking about flooring for your home theater, carpet will be your best bet. “Carpet, aside from providing a warm, comforting and beautiful foundation for your space, is simply the best when it comes to sound absorption,” notes FlooringInc, which helps homeowners determine the best flooring options for unique projects. Think about when you go to the movies—nearly all theaters use carpet as it is the best flooring option for soaking up surround sound, rather than bouncing it back. You can lay high-quality carpet in less than a day.
Choose Your Audio and Video Equipment
Ask yourself: What will I primarily use my home theater for—movies, television, audio? Now it’s time to look for your audio and video equipment.
“Speakers are the best upgrade for any home theater system,” CNET’s Ty Pendlebury told Popular Mechanics. “While audio and video standards change all the time, a good pair of speakers will still work in 10 or 20 or 30 years. They also have the biggest effect on the overall sound of your system.” For the simplest setup, go for powered speakers with inputs that can directly connect to your audio devices. However, for a more advanced setup you’ll need speakers that utilize a receiver for power.
Screen size is important. 3-D Squared says the optimal viewing distance is about 1.5 x the diagonal length of the screen. “So a larger room will require a wider screen. If the room isn’t too long, don’t purchase the widest screen available because you will be seated too close to the screen.” What’s the best TV for your home? Here’s our ultimate buying guide.
Remember a Surge Protector
A home theater will likely require quite a bit of power to get all those high-tech devices to function properly, and you may need a high-quality surge protector. “Maybe you have already spent $3,000 on the television, speakers, an amplifier, and seating, but are considering cutting back on costs on the surge protector. However, if your $25 protector does not survive a power surge, anything and everything connected to it will be damaged, if not permanently out of commission,” notes FireFold, a company focusing on technology installation.
This-10 outlet surge protector is designed for your home theater, including TV, computers, satellite and A/V receivers and more. It has an 8-foot cord and $500,000 of lifetime insurance that covers any connected equipment damaged by a power surge. Learn how to hide low-voltage wiring.
When it comes to screen placement, you don’t want to cause neck or shoulder strain. FireFold suggests placing the screen so that viewers’ eyes fall on the top quarter of the screen, which is usually 3 to 5 feet above the floor. Try using EngineeringCalulator.net to determine optimal viewing distance for your home theater design. This is the ultimate buying guide for home theater, sound system and wireless speakers.
Don’t Forget Lighting
Not all lighting is created equal. Lighting is a great accent to your home theater design, so try sconces or rope lighting that you can dim or turn off when you’re ready to start the show. HT Market offers a variety of lighting options, from sconces and rope lighting to specialized pieces that can add the perfect touch to your home theater. Learn how to install elegant cove lighting.
Choose Your Seating Style
Do you want comfortable couches or movie theater-style seating? The right seating helps get you in the mood for a great binge watching experience and ensures everyone has a comfortable spot to relax. Home theater seating, like this unit from Amazon, features drink holders, tray tables, USB charging slots and reclining seats and more.
Add the Extras
Before you get settled in for the show, don’t forget the extras. Make sure your home theater has throw pillows and blankets for comfort. You may also want to add a small refrigerator for beverages and even a popcorn machine.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.