Having a clear plan for your home theater helps you avoid mistakes and create the best system possible.
Home theaters deliver an immersive TV and movie experience, provide a comfortable and centralized place for your family to commune, and add value to your home. The process of building a home theater can be stressful though, especially if you’ve never done it before.
There are so many important factors to consider when designing a home theater system, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexities. In order to make sure your home theater comes out perfect, here are some tips to help guide you through the process.
Start with a Clear Budget in Mind
With home theater, the sky is the limit. Because the cost of home theater systems can vary so much, start by determining how much you want to invest. That’ll help you organize all the following steps. Factors to consider when budgeting include:
- AV receiver and speaker quality
- Types of display (e.g. HDTV, Projectors, Video Walls)
- Comfortable seating
- Sound-proofing and acoustic treatments
Once you have an estimated budget, next comes the planning phase where you allocate those funds to each component, based on your preferences and priorities.
How to Upgrade an Existing Room for Home Theater
The first thing you’ll want to do is to determine which room to use. Generally, pick a room that is longer than it is wide. To create an immersive experience, you’ll want a room that’s at least 20 feet long by 15 feet wide, though this will likely depend on the type of display that you choose.
Try to avoid square rooms, they are known for reducing sound quality. No matter the shape, there are steps you’ll want to take to improve the acoustics, such as replacing hollow-core doors with solid ones, installing wall-to-wall carpeting, and minimizing hard surfaces.
Don’t Forget to Turn Out the Lights
Another factor to consider is lighting. While in most parts of your home you want to maximize ambient light, the opposite is true for home theater rooms. That means that you should try to pick a room with the fewest windows possible. If you do have windows in your home theater room, then use thick, sound dampening curtains to block external light and ensure that you get a clear, high-contrast picture.
Designing a New Theater Room – Freedom to Create Something Extraordinary
For people who are lucky enough to be building a home theater room from the ground up, there are many more options to explore. Here are some “golden ratios” you can use to ensure your home theater rooms is the perfect size. These calculations use height as a starting point.
Height of room: 10 feet
Ideal width is between 1.6 to 1.7 times the height, or 16 to 17 feet.
Ideal length is between 2.3 to 2.6 times the height, in this case 23 or 26 feet.
A major benefit of building a dedicated home theater is that you can install acoustic treatments during the construction process. Treatments, such as sound dampening panels, baffles, and tiling, provide a higher level of insulation, while also preventing standing waves, flutter echoes, and other distortions.
Choosing Between a TV and Home Theater Projector
You’ll also need to determine what kind of display you want to use, 4K TV or home projector. High-end home theater projectors have improved dramatically in recent years. No longer plagued by long warm-up times or a washed-out picture quality, the latest generation of projector is a compelling alternative to TV.
But there are still areas where TVs outperform projectors. Despite improvements, laser projectors can’t produce the same level of color variation and brightness that a TV can. And, although many projectors say they produce true 4K images, some still use a technology called “pixel shifting” to simulate 4K, something you should be aware of when shopping.
Ultimately the choice comes down to finding an option that works for your room, budget, and personal taste
Every Home Theater Needs Comfortable Seating
Home theaters must be comfortable or else it undermines the entire purpose of having a theater in the first place — enjoyment! There are a wide variety of options available, so you’re certain to find something that matches your style.
In general, a room that’s 14 x 20 can comfortably accommodate two rows of four chairs. If you want to add more rows, plan on using 6 to 7 feet for each additional row. Adding a bar at the back of the room for drinks and snacks will also use that amount of space.
Remember, while it’s good to think of maximum capacity seating, most of the time it’ll just be you and your family using the theater. You may want to create “primary” and “secondary” seating tiers, putting bigger or more comfortable chairs upfront for the people who’ll use the theater most often.
INCTech — A Trusted Expert in Home Theater Design
When it’s time to plan a home theater, you can always rely on the experts at INCTech. For over 20 years, we’ve been providing reliable world-class technology service to residential and commercial clients in both the greater Los Angeles area and Traverse City, Michigan.
From the earliest planning phases to finding the right home theater equipment to meet your budget and need, we make building a home theater the fun and painless process you want it to be. Do you have a home theater question for our experts? Feel free to reach out! Our friendly staff is available by phone or email at 800.333.2989 or INFO@INCTECH.NET.