Planning Home Theater Rooms

When setting up a home theater, buying the audiovisual equipment is the first thing on many people’s minds. But to make your lounge into something more than just a room with a TV in it, and truly enjoy home theater in style, you need to think about setting up a dedicated home theater room. Home theater rooms can be as simple or complex as you like, but there are several factors to at least consider when planning your room. These can be broadly broken down into design/aesthetics and physical features that improve sound quality.

The design of your home theater room will often include theater seating, whether this is just a pair of recliner chairs right through to a larger seating arrangement that can accommodate guests, or the whole family. Lighting is also important. Obviously you will want lights to be at a fairly low level, and dimmers can be a useful way to get lighting just right for each movie. Lighting – as well as windows – should also be controlled so that they don’t reflect onto your screen. Indirect lighting and heavy curtains are the order of the day here, and in fact you can use indirect lights to create some great atmosphere when designing a home theater room. Take a look at these great examples of lighting in some slightly over the top theater rooms. Before you get started planning it helps to brainstorm an overall theme for the room. Do you want a classic art deco style cinema at home, or something a bit more contemporary – or even an antique look with lots of polished wood and velvet? These choices will inform your choices with furniture, color of walls and drapes, and other ornamentation.

Before you get started with the construction, it is essential to think about the acoustic qualities of your theater room. Wall and ceiling dimensions and the materials used to construct or line the room all play a part in how sound from your speakers reflects and bounces around the room. For a really high end theater room you will probably want to engage an audio expert to advise the ideal construction. But for those of us with a few handyperson skills, there are still things we can do to improve sound quality.

If you have a choice of rooms to set up your home theater, go for the one with the fewest doors and windows. This will stop sound escaping the room and give you the best possible audio experience. When equipping our room, we want to achieve a balanced sound quality. A room with only hard, reflective surfaces will produce too many echoes and tinny sound. Anyone who has walked into a room under construction with just bare concrete will have experienced this. A room full of soft furniture, ornaments, carpet and drapes on the other hand may muffle sound reflection too much. The sweet spot for audio will be somewhere in the middle, for example a room with floorboards but a rug covering part, and some hangings or ornaments and soft furniture around the room but not to excess.

There are a few advanced steps you can take, like the use of acoustic wall panels positioned near the front speakers – if you do purchase these they will come with directions about ideal placement.

The final consideration will be isolating any outside noise from your theater room. While not such a consideration if you live in the country, anyone contending with city traffic, barking animals, or even banging pipes, will want to use some kind of soundproofing. Windows and doors are relatively easy to treat – a more advanced step is to add insulation to wall cavities, and you can use Acoustic Damping Foam to line noisy air vents or pipes.

Although there are many steps involved in setting up a home theater room, remember you don’t have to implement every one of them. Even a few of these ideas will improve your home theater experience but the more you can manage to implement the more impressive your setup will be!

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