Questions to Ask: Home Theatres Design

Dec 27, 2011

Be Your Own Movie Mogul— Home theatres are a big trend in interior design, for homes both big and small. The appeal is obvious: the freedom to watch the films you want when you want. Whether your home theatre plans involve a big-screen and speakers tucked in the corner of your living room or a full-fledged personal cinema in your basement, the right room design can make all of the difference.

Published: September 16, 2010

What kind of space works best?

For many people the natural location for a home theatre is the living or family room. Both of these spaces can be quickly transformed for movie marathons by adding a high-quality flat screen television, a surround sound system or rear wireless speakers. However, before you decide which room to make your new home theatre, you should consider how much ambient light is right for you and think about acoustics.

Depending on the amount of light you feel comfortable watching movies in, you can opt for total darkness with thick window coverings that block out daylight or you can install a dimmer switch, available at your local hardware store, to lower the lights without completely turning them off. And, carpeting can help with sound absorption. If your space doesn’t have carpeting you may want to consider an area rug which can help optimise sound.

What kind of seating works best in that space?

The size of your space and whether or not it’s a dedicated media room can help you decide on seating. If you’ll only be watching television and movies in the room consider going with rows of recliners or theatre seats which all face the screen.

If you use the room for other activities, such as a home office, occasional guest room, or living room, you’ll want the seating to be more versatile—such as a sofa, love-seat or armchair. Think about how many people will typically be joining you for TV or movie night, and be sure to have ample seating.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that every seat in the house is a good one: no one should crane to see the TV, and nothing should obstruct the screen (such as a support beam or a light fixture). Finally, it’s a good idea to test the viewing distance, based on the size of the screen, so that no one feels either too close or too removed.

What's the best way to optimise sound for space and seating layout?

Once you have the visuals sorted, it’s time to think about the sound because it’s another important aspect when transforming a TV room into a home theatre. Surround sound allows you to hear the movie the way the filmmaker intended.

It may be practical to look for a complete surround sound system that includes speakers and a receiver. Try a 7-speaker plus woofer configuration for achieving a fully immersive audio experience. But, to get the full benefit of surround sound you’ll need at least five speakers: a central speaker, two front speakers and two rear or side surround speakers. Rear-wireless speakers offer convenience and a clean look, and Samsung’s Audiobar options are perfect for small spaces because they condense the surround sound experience into a one unit plus woofer.

Whatever choices you make in creating your very own home theatre, you’ll be able to organise and enjoy your own movie fests when you want, with whom you want, right in your own home.