Design & Planning: Home Theater & Audio for Your New Home

When working with an architect to design your dream home, you will probably spend a lot of time planning the kitchen: picking out fixtures; selecting your ideal cabinets and countertops; selecting appliances; etc.

If you are a film or media enthusiast, though, why wouldn’t you give the same level of attention to detail to your home theater design plans? New home construction is the perfect opportunity to plan a home theater room that will blow your guests away and serve as a constant spot for gathering and shared experiences among your entire family. Adding a room along these lines after the fact isn’t easy and might involve costly conversion or addition work. When building a new home from scratch, you have the chance to incorporate home theater and audio designs from the get-go.

Understanding the Home Theater Design Basics

If you’re looking for home movie theater ideas, start by paying a visit to your factor local cinema. Think about the factors that make this place such a good spot to take in new movies. What resonates with you most? It could be the crisp, booming sound or the resonant acoustics. It could be the lighting—or lack thereof—that makes it easy to appreciate every visual detail on the screen. It could be the screen itself—so big and expansive that it truly does justice to a good cinematographer’s work. It could even be the comfortable seats.

In any case, take note of all the things you like best about the movie theater. These insights will come in handy as you start designing a home theater room, as they match the necessary components that any home media room needs to offer a good viewing experience. Specifically, the components listed below constitute the essential cornerstones of any home theater:

 home theater installation

  • A room with the right size and shape: Having the proper room is the foundational requirement for any home theater. One of the big challenges that homeowners face when they try to add a media room as part of a renovation is finding the right space for the room. Living rooms are too open; spare bedrooms are too small; basements are often too big or not laid out correctly. Home theater rooms can vary in size and shape, depending on the size of the screen. In general, though, these rooms need to be long enough to provide some distance between the screen and the seats. If you are using a projector and project screen, you will also need a room long enough to exceed the projector’s specified throw distance. The biggest home theaters will have 10-foot screens, which require at least 15 feet from the screen to the front row of seats for enjoyable viewing. Leaving space for multiple rows of seats, the projector, and space to get around, the room would likely need to be 40 feet long at least. Home theaters with smaller screens don’t need to be as big, but the gist is that you will always need a lengthy room for your best results.
  • Good light control: The most significant difference between a living room with a big-screen TV and a home theater might be the lighting. Living rooms have windows, which cast a glare on the screen—even with the blinds closed—and impact during-the-day viewing. Home media rooms are typically set up in the style of movie theaters: in rooms with no windows and complete light control. Ambient light is especially problematic for projectors and projector screens, so rendering it a non-factor with a dark, windowless media room is essential. Lights that can be adjusted and dimmed are a must, and you’ll want lighting that you can easily control without having to get out of your seat.
  • Terrific sound design: When you see an action movie in the theater, you can feel the room shake every time there’s an explosion. That’s thanks to the sound design and not just the speakers. While having an impressive sound system for your home media room is undoubtedly a must, you also need to think about sound control. Acoustics often go overlooked when designing a home theater room, but the acoustic performance of your room will impact the quality and clarity of your audio system installation. At the same time, paying attention to acoustic design will also factor in soundproofing, which is necessary to ensure that a loud movie playing in the home theater doesn’t interrupt everything else that might be going on in the house. Also, as with light control, you’ll want full control of volume without having to leave your seat.
  • A big screen: Whether you are choosing a big-screen TV or a projector and projector screen pairing, you want a screen big enough to justify setting aside an entire room of your house for films, television, or sports. Generally, you aren’t going to want to go smaller than an 80 or 90-inch screen for your home theater. As mentioned before, large media rooms can even support 10-foot (120-inch) screens.

  • Seating: There are two important factors to consider with seating. First, you want to invest in chairs or couches that are extremely comfortable spots to sit for 2-3 hours. Home theaters are typically intended for uninterrupted viewing experiences, just like commercial movie theaters. As such, you want spot where you and your guests can be comfortable sitting for long periods of time. Second, you want to make sure there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Every seat needs to offer an unencumbered view of the screen. If you have several rows of seats, that might mean planning a slight incline or slant into your home theater room. That way, the further-back seats are a little higher up, and therefore not blocked by the seats or viewers in front.

Sort out Your Home Theater Design Plans with Starpower

At Starpower, we can help you plan and orchestra every aspect of your home theater. From the screen to the sound to the seating, we will work with you to plan out a media room capable of turning your home into the neighborhood’s most popular movie theater. Our wireless audio capabilities make it possible to get premium sound without having to worry about unsightly wires or trip-hazard cables, and our knowledge of home automation means we can put control over lighting, sound, picture, channels, and more right into the palm of your hand. To start sketching out your home movie theater ideas, contact us today.

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