All of us have had the experience of going to the theater and seeing a movie that just blows us away. A few months later, when the movie comes out on Blu-ray, we buy it, bring it home, and watch it. But, for some reason, the movie seems underwhelming. What changed? It wasn’t the movie. Instead, it was the environment where you watched the movie. Same movie with a different experience. Wouldn’t it be great if you could replicate the theater experience in your home? Let’s take a look at some suggestions from experts on how you can build a great home theater experience.
- Get to the Proper Equipment
What do you need to have the theater experience at home? You need stunning visuals and sound that absorbs you. Here is a list of the basics.
Projector or Television
There is an ongoing debate about whether a projector or a television in your home theater is better. Steve Scott of Outdoor Movie HQ leans toward a projector “for the same reason that when you go to the movies, the image is projected as opposed to transmitted on a large TV. With a projector, you get a larger size screen, truer colors, and an immersive experience. This just doesn’t happen with a television, no matter how large it is.”
It’s great to be able to throw down a ton of cash and purchase a nice home theater speaker system. Add on an amp and you have a beautiful sound system. But getting the different apparatuses is just the beginning. In order to get the most out of your sound system, it needs to be wired correctly.
Resistance is an important factor to consider when wiring your sound system. This defines the amount energy that is lost as a transmitted signal travels through it. The longer the cable is or the thinner it is, the more signal loss there will be. Twelve gauge wire is usually what we recommend for most home theater speaker setups. Thankfully, most speaker wire manufacturers have the details and statistics of their products laid out so that you can read them. And most home theater systems are close enough to each other that short variances are not going to make a noticeable difference in audible signal or strength.
When it comes to speakers, larger is not necessarily better. First determine the size of the room you have.
- A small room is anything under 1500 ft.²
- A medium-size room is between 1500 ft.² and 3000 ft.²
- A large room is anything in excess of 3000 ft.²
Second, you need to look at where the listeners are going to sit in relation to the speaker location. When you have surround sound speakers, the listener needs to be a certain distance away before the speaker sounds are able to converge and form a cohesive audio experience.
- Lighting for a Home Theater
Home theater lighting is an important part of any home theater room. The right lighting will completely change the way a room looks and the way a room feels. There are a number of types of lighting that can improve the atmosphere of your viewing experience. You want to light that is dimmable because you don’t want the light to be too bright.
Every home theater should have some overhead lighting. These are used when everybody comes in to sit down, when you’re cleaning the room, or when you are doing other things. Basically, these are the lights you are going to have on when no one is watching anything.
This can include:
- Recessed lighting fixtures
- Mounted lighting fixtures
- Hanging lighting fixtures
You will likely want to include wall sconces. With a wall sconce, the light is directed up or down, but it is not directed outward. These are not designed to completely light a room. They are complementary lighting. These can even be left on a low level and should not wash out a projector’s image.
Other options will include:
- LED light strips
- Fiber optic lighting
- Side seat lamps
- Theater Seating Options
Comfort and design are key to creating the home theater experience. You want your theater seating to support your back. You want to be so comfortable while you’re watching a movie that you could fall asleep. Here are a couple of great ideas for home theater seating.
Look at the size of your home theater. Determine where and how you want the seats to be positioned. Think about the maximum number of people and the minimum number of people you want at any particular time.
Also, think about the features. Do you want to be able to fully recline? Do you want lit cup holders? Should there be storage compartments? If you’re looking to splurge, you might find seats with massagers, advanced lighting, USB ports, etc.
- Decorating Your Home Theater
To get the real theater experience, you need to customize your room. Throw down the red carpet for a more authentic look. Find movie memorabilia from your favorite movies and put them on the wall along with movie posters. Purchase and popcorn machine or a pool table and put these just outside of the room.
When you go to a movie theater, the room feels larger than what it really is. This is because of color control. The colors that they use control the way light reflects off of the screen, giving the room a larger feel. Why not paint the ceiling black, paint the walls blue, and then use an off-white carpet. In addition to making the space feel larger, it is going to have an impact on your viewing experience.
Building a home theater may set you back $3,000 in upfront costs. However, if you are a movie fan, you will likely enjoy watching movies at home as opposed to going out and seeing them in the theater. Over the long-term, the price is going to balance itself out. And the added bonus is that you have a theater in your home.
We hope that these suggestions have helped you. As always, we would love to hear from you. Have you built a home theater? What components did you go with? Let us know in the comments section below.