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Home Theater Design

With the trend toward cocooning taking hold in North America, many people are turning their homes into something more. The days of watching television the old fashioned way (sitting on a couch with a coffee table in front of you watching basic cable) are long gone. Today, what everyone wants is a satellite TV system, like the DISH Network, and a home theatre.

Novice or Pro
If you want to build a home theater, don't worry – you don't have to be an expert in electronics or home building to achieve the best home theater. One important detail, though, is whether or not you plan to use an already existing room or if you plan to add an addition to your home specifically for the home theater.

While building an entirely new room will allow you to design your theater exactly as you would like it, it is also by far the more expensive option. Using an already existing room can help you save money but it also means you have to work with what you've got. Depending on the room you choose, this may be a blessing or a curse.

Home Theater Design Now that you've got your room picked out (or have given yourself the freedom to build a new one), it's time to do a home theater room design.

Home Theater Guide
To get yourself started, sketch out what you want. Don't worry about measurements or your chicken-scratch style just yet. The main purpose of the sketch is to let you see the ideas in your head. If you're stuck for ideas, it's always a good idea to peruse some magazines and get some pictures of home theaters.

There are many different types of home theater interiors that you can draw inspiration from. Plus, if you've hired a professional to help with the home theater designs or setup, then using pictures can help give them a clear idea of what you want.

Once you have the general idea of what you'd like to do down on paper, then it's time to get to the nitty-gritty details. Doing more specific sketches of certain areas and features of the room will be necessary. These drawings will deal with things like your home theater seating, the home theater speakers (you can't just rely on the television speaker when you're building a home theater), the wiring, the home theater lighting, any cabinets you may be putting in and so on.

Home Theater Furniture
One of the first and most essential decisions you will need to make is about the seating in your home theater. What type of chair do you plan to install? A couch? A recliner? A high-backed seat? Where do you want the seats to go? Do you plan to have decked seating? These are important decisions as they will affect all the other areas of your home theater design.

The number of seats you plan to install will dictate how much available floor space you have. The location of the seats will determine just where all your home theater equipment has to go as well as the sightlines to the screen.

Home Theater Design Many home theater experts advise against the use of high-backed seating because the added height serves to absorb some of the sound. Additionally, recliners are also not the ideal type of home theater furniture because they allow a viewer's head position to change. Both of these factors can subtract from your listening pleasure. However, because of the exquisite comfort these seats provide, many home theater owners and builders are willing to overlook this detail.

Home Theater Tips
If you've hired a professional to design the room and/or do the home theater installation, then all you really need to worry about is figuring out what you want. But, if you've decided to go the DIY route, then here are some tips that are important to keep in mind when it comes to home theater setup.

1. The length of your walls can work with or against you when it comes to the acoustics in your room. Parallel walls can be a nightmare when it comes to sound. If you're building the room, then the easiest way to resolve this problem is by building a room with walls of different lengths. However, this may be a bit of an issue when it comes time to sell your home. The other option, for those of you who have or just like walls of even lengths, is to cover your walls and floor with material. Decorative curtains, nice carpeting, even foam can help keep the sound from bouncing all over your room.

2. Home theaters usually have a lot of electronics associated with them. And with electronics come wires and cords. The last thing you want in your home theater is unsightly wires running everywhere so take the time before hand to figure out just where you plan to place them. If you're building the room from scratch, then placing some of the wiring in the new walls or floor is definitely an option. Just make sure you hook everything up and test it out before you seal the wires up. It won't be so easy to get to them later. Using pipes or tubing is also a handy way to keep wires and cords neat while also camouflaging them. Running everything under your carpet is another option. But, to keep your rug from looking and feeling lumpy, cut out small sections of the padding to place the cords in.

Home Theater Design

3. Theaters are not known for being well-lit areas, so when it comes time to pick the lighting, refrain from anything too bright. Also, when you pick or design a room, go with one that has few, if any, windows. Basements are great for home theaters because they usually have small windows or even no windows at all.

4. Whatever room you choose, try to pick one that has a minimal amount of exterior noises.

5. Consider putting in cabinets or shelves that have space for each piece of equipment you plan to install. While many people do it, it is a bad idea to stack your home theater accessories on top of each other. The electronics can build up heat, which can hinder their performance.

The Final Design
Now that you know where the seats will go and what electronics you'll need (make sure you create a list), it's time to personalize your home theater. Most home theater stores offer the time-honored pieces to help give your room a real movie theater feel. As nice as this can be, it may not be you.

Home Theater Design Consider breaking away from the traditional art deco home theater design (think classic Hollywood) and do something that is more meaningful to you. If you're a big Star Wars or Star Trek fan, then why not design a room to resemble the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon or the Enterprise? Perhaps you're more of a Bollywood kind of person. Then turn your home theater room into a sultan's palace.

Now that your home theater is finally done and every last detail has been looked after, it's time to sit back and enjoy all your hard work. Just don't be surprised if everyone in the neighborhood wants to watch the latest movies and the big game at your place.


Hammer Looking for some help with your home theater? Then visit our home builder's forum for some great tips!