If you absolutely love movies, or hate even going to the movie theater, adding a home theater might be a perfect addition to your home. You’ll have a great space to be able kick to back with family and friends to watch the next big blockbuster or an old classic.
Home theaters can be top of the line, budget friendly,and everything in-between. Whether you spend a little or a lot, a home theater can still be amazing. No matter what, there are certain guidelines you should follow to make your theater perfect.
Before you get down to the home theater transformation, you’ll need to make sure that you deal with any possible issues. Check out our basement finishing blog to get some tips about how to better prepare for your new media haven. In this other blog, it mentions carpet possibly being a poor choice, for your home theater room, you’ll still want to get carpet for acoustic reasons.
When you have a movie playing at a high volume, room acoustics are important to take into account. For a home theater you will need to properly absorb sounds to help (along with your speakers) to create better sound quality. When going about creating the best acoustics, you’ll already want to have any insulation put in and all speaker, projector, and lighting wires run. The good news is that concrete is a good base for your room as it won’t be affected by the vibrations.
If you already have a drop ceiling in your basement then you are well on your way to your home theater. In order to help keep the audio in and the outside out, you’ll want to pack the ceiling with insulation. To add to the ambiance, paint the ceiling and track black. If you don’t have a crop ceiling or don’t want one, either way you’ll want to also add insulation into this space. If you plan to then use drywall, you’ll want to add acoustic absorbing coverings, just like the walls.
Drywall and plaster reflect and bounce acoustics rather than absorb them. This is the last thing you want while playing your movies. To fix this you need some kind of wall covering, there are several kinds to choose from. You can simply hang some curtains on the wall, this will give you that classic theater look. You can also get some type of acoustic board/foam tiles to attach to the walls. These are specifically made to dampen noise and they come in different styles that will fit with the look you are trying to go for. You can also use a combination of these options.
Flooring for your home theater will be one of the easiest parts of your new home theater. After painting, insulating, adding acoustic elements, etc. you are ready to finally add carpeting. You’ll want to do this last because this ensures that none of your carpeting will get damaged or painted during all these other steps.
When choosing a carpet, the plusher the better. But it is still fine to get a mid range carpet, just try to stay away from super thin carpet/carpet tiles as they won’t do much for absorbing sound. Any other types of flooring will bounce the sounds around the room, taking away from the quality of your movie night experience.
There are several factors that go into having the perfect theater lighting. You’ll want to consider the balance, direction, and control of your lighting fixtures.
Since you’ll already be making your room dark, having dimmable recessed lighting give you proper lighting balance. You can leave the lights on the dimmest setting during movies so that you can see better if you get up to go to the bathroom, or to grab another bag of popcorn.
Light direction is also important since you don’t want lights that will take away from the picture quality. Get recessed lighting, directional lights, or string/rope lights that you can keep from shining directly onto your screen.
Maybe even think about getting lighting that can be controlled through a remote so that it’s easier to turn on/off during movie times.
If you have a window, you’ll want to invest in either room-darkening shades or blackout curtains. If you are having movie time when it’s still light out, or there is a lot of ambient light outside because of where you live, that last thing you want is that light from the window interrupting the picture quality.
Think about what kind of seating you want. If you have a higher budget, think about getting theater seats of specially designed seating for home theaters. If that’s not in the budget, or just not what you want, there are plenty of other options. You can get some nice recliners, love seats, bean bag chairs, or even an old couch you already have.
When setting up your seats, think about making sure everyone can see the screen. If you have a large enough space, you can even make a platform to put a second row of seating. Otherwise, you’ll want to stagger your seating and put smaller seats or the beanbag chairs up front and keep the larger couch/loveseat towards the back. Recliners are a great option to have forward as well, because once they are reclined, they won’t be in the way of whoever is seated in the back.
Furnishing isn’t just about the seating. Think about how you want to decorate your home theater. This can be anything from your lighting fixtures to movie posters. If you decided to put curtains up on your walls for acoustics, then you may already be satisfied with how your room looks. If you want, you can install curtain hooks and keep them draped back and then put your movie posters and wall fixtures in between.
Some other great options are to get usable movie decorations, like a popcorn maker. Or you can even build a food and drink station where you can keep drinks, a microwave, and have a cabinet or shelves to keep popcorn, candy, or any other snacks you may want.
If your home theater has the space, you can even add a home bar. Read our home bar blog to see if a wet or dry bar would be the best option for you.
The video system is one of the most important parts of your home theater. You can choose from a television or a projector and screen. Usually, you see projectors and screens in a home theater. You don’t have to break the bank to get a nice quality projector with HD quality imaging. A 720p quality will do just fine. People usually can’t see the difference between 720p and 1080p, so you can save a little bit of money by going with a little bit of a lower resolution. Or if you are going for the highest quality available, there are 4k projectors. Just remember to set aside a couple thousand dollars. Plus a projector will have a softer glow rather than a very bright screen as with a television.
For the projector screen, you can buy an actual screen, make you own, or just have white painted drywall. Also, take into account the size of your room when choosing a screen size as too big means your movies will look out of proportion.
Usually if you are making a movie theater, you will be using some sort of DVD or blu-ray player, and they don’t cost much. You can also connect streaming devices from other media devices in your home. To get this image to your projector, you need the right cables. The best kinds are either HDMI or DVI. Just make sure the formats are the same as your projector.
There are many audio systems out there that range from hundreds of dollars to thousands. You don’t need a top of the line surround sounds system to still get amazing audio quality. For most cases you only need a 5.1 system, meaning two speakers on either side of the screen, center, and two rear and one sub at the back corner of the room. Entry level surround systems will do just fine, but by all means you can get a better system too.
The next thing you need is a receiver, this allows you to play audio from all of your sources and to adjust the sound as you see fit. The last thing is to get speaker wires. You don’t necessarily need to buy “speaker cable”, you can buy electrical cords for much cheaper. You’ll want to install the wires after you do installation, but before you put up the ceilings and walls. That way the wires are tucked away.
If you are thinking about remodeling your basement, even if you aren’t adding a home theater, Shakespeare Home Improvement is here to help. We are a full service home improvement contractor here in beautiful Lancaster, PA. Contact us today for a free estimate!