According to Matt Davies Stockton, designing a good home theater would allow you to replicate the feeling of being in a movie hall in your home. However, it needs careful planning and many important considerations if you want to make the most use of the space and your budget.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a home theater:
- Consider the room layout and dimensions – When it comes to building a home theater, you should choose a room that is at least 15 ft wide and 20 ft long since a smaller room can introduce many challenges when installing the screen and projector and make the space feel cramped.
The ceiling should be at least 7 ft high for an optimal viewing experience. Generally, it is recommended that you keep the room width at least 1.6 times the ceiling height and the room length at least 2.3 times the ceiling height if you are building a new movie room.
- Selecting the home theater projector and screen – The first step to choosing a projector screen is to determine the aspect ratio you prefer such as 16:9 or cinemascope. If you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, you can choose a multi-format screen.
- The viewing angles – Generally, it is a good idea to mount the screen so that the top of the lower third of the screen remains at eye level. This will ensure that you don’t have to look up more than 15 degrees when watching a movie and will make for a more comfortable viewing experience.
- The projector mounting and throw distance – It is important to mount the projector on the ceiling so that nobody can interfere with the image that is being projected on the screen. However, before installing the projector you have to calculate the proper throw distance.
Generally, regular or long-distance throw projectors have a throw distance of 1.5:1. You can also choose short throw projectors or ultra-short throw projectors depending on your needs. Also, ensure that the projector offers at least 1,500 lumens and 2,500 lumens if you want to watch movies with lights on.
- Setting up the sound system – A home theater sound system setup includes 4 types of speakers that include center channel speakers, side speakers, subwoofers, and overhead speakers. The most common home theater sound system setup includes a 5.1 surround sound system.
However, you can choose to install a 7.1 or even a 9.1 surround sound system if you want a richer surround sound listening experience.
- The acoustics, soundproofing, and seating – It is crucial to cover the walls and ceilings with excellent soundproofing materials that absorb both direct and reflected sound. Generally, a home theater should include 1-3 rows with four people per row. The type of home theater seating can include loungers, love seats, recliners, stadium seating, sectionals, and more.
Matt Davies Stockton suggests you also pay attention to the color, lighting, and flooring of the home theater room. For instance, it is better to paint the walls with darker colors since they tend to reflect less light. Also, carpeted floorings are the most popular in-home theaters.