With rapid technological advances and the price of audio and video equipment dropping these days, more people are opting to have their own home theaters. Not everyone can design a $150,000 home theater that Shaquille O’Neal can afford, but you can build a great small home movie theater on a budget. As you plan, you will want to consider acoustics and room dimensions, audio and video equipment, seating, lighting and other aesthetic touches.
Steps to Have a Small Home Movie Theatre
Get Inspired – You may already have a clear picture of what you want in a home theater, but if not, a great way to start developing an idea is to look at what other people have done. There are lots of pictures of home theaters on the Internet. Browsing through will provide inspiration for your own project.
Set a Budget – You can spend anywhere from $1000 to $300,000 just for a surround sound system, so first determine your overall budget for your home theater room. It will be tempting to stray, once you see how elaborate a theater room can be, but the goal is to build a room on a budget you can afford that provides a great home theater experience. Work into your estimate the cost of seating, lighting, decor, audio and video systems and installation.
Acoustics – The acoustics of a room are often overlooked, but good sound is important and you can end up spending lots of money on high-quality speakers that won’t sound good if the space and its acoustics aren’t suitable. Avoid putting your home theater in a room that is square-shaped, for example, with dimensions like 10-by-10-by-10 or even ratios, like 10-by-20 or 7-by-21. This will produce what’s called “standing waves,” when sound bounces around a room, interacting in a way that reduces sound quality and the home-theater experience. Not everybody gets to choose their room; therefore, acoustic room treatments can make a big difference. Acoustic wall panels and cheap or homemade artwork mounted on foam material that absorbs sound and minimizes sound reflection may help counteract rooms that aren’t optimal for acoustics.
Speakers and Screens – The speakers you choose should be proportionate to the size of the room. You do not need large, powerful speakers for a small room. The same goes for the screen. How far away from the screen you sit determines the size of the screen you will want. You don’t need a 90-inch projection screen in a 10-by-12 foot room.
Video – How bright is your room? Do you have blinds that can black out light? LCD, plasma and projector are options for video equipment. A cheap projector in a bright room will be difficult to see, but bright projectors can be very expensive. LCDs typically range from $800 to $4,000, and plasmas are a little more, so it depends on your budget and your natural room lighting. LCDs are generally the best option for home theaters on a budget in a bright room.
Seating – The type of seating will also be dependent on your budget. An old couch can work really well on a strict budget, or two recliners, side by side. Stadium or tiered, theater-style seating, is a more elaborate option, but may not be affordable. Consider seating that position you upright facing the screen for optimal comfort.
Lighting – A few, simple dimming lights can be quite effective. If you have a bit more to spend, wall sconces that shine up and down, out of your eyes—like in a real theater—are a great touch. You can even light up floor aisles, steps or seating platforms.
Decor – To complete your home theater, you can add movie posters or artwork mounted on acoustic panels, lush velvet curtains, an old-fashioned popcorn machine or a 1920s cash register. You can also go with an overall theme, like art deco, Star Trek or sci-fi. Your imagination’s the limit.
Support – Unless you are very tech-savvy and willing to do hundreds of hours of research, it will help to spend a couple hundred dollars to get some input from a pro. If you have a big budget, you can spend thousands on a full acoustics assessment and installation. You can find a certified professional through the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA).
People have home theaters when they want to enjoy various kinds of media in one room or space. In many home theaters, it is common to find televisions, devices for playing movies, video game systems and audio equipment. A person who has a small home theater might feel that he or she has limited space or a limited budget. Although this person might want to enjoy the benefits of a home theater room, he or she might think that it would be unwarranted to invest in too much equipment. One of the most important tips for creating a small home movie theater is to know the kind of media in which you are interested and to do some research to learn about the systems and devices that provide the highest quality for the lowest prices.
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14 Picture Gallery: Small Home Movie Theatre Ideas
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