Basement home theaters are increasingly common nowadays—they provide tremendous entertainment value for families, and they may even increase a home's resale price. If you're lucky enough to live in a home with a finished basement and you're considering installing a home theater, you may just have the perfect location for your entertainment space ready and waiting.
Prior to deciding on the basement home theater style that's right for you and your family, you'll want to think about the location of this entertainment space in your finished basement. Light and sound are far and away the most important features of any home theater, and you'll want to make sure that your basement home theater's location affords you the most control possible over these two factors.
The choice to add a home theater to your home's basement will give you an automatic advantage here, as basements tend to be the quietest, darkest places in the home. If, however, your basement lets in a good deal of natural light, or, say, the furnace or HVAC system creates a cacophony every time it turns on, you'll want to take steps to control the light and sound in the space. First and foremost, think about locating the home theater in the area of the basement that's farthest from the source of any light and sound. Next up, cancel out external light and sound as much as possible: shades or black-out curtains for windows are common in all types of home theaters, and soundproofing can be achieved with in-wall materials, custom drywall or soundproofing curtains and carpets.
When you've picked a location for your basement home theater and thought about sound and light-proofing, it's time to consider the technical, audio-visual and design requirements for the space. Custom wiring is almost always a must for a home theater—you're likely to need it for lighting, video, audio and internet access (which is important for streaming videos or playing games online). Hiding wiring is also an important element in home theater design—you can place it behind the basement's drywall or in low-profile tubing throughout the room. A mess of wiring is an eyesore, and it can create a safety hazard, as well.
When the wiring for your basement home theater is sorted out, it's time to think about the audio-visual and electronic equipment for your entertainment space. The choices here are manifold in terms of complexity and cost, but you can use the size of your home theater as a guide. Things like the size of the TV or projection screen needed, the number or speakers required for your sound system, and the scope of the lighting system you'll need to create an ambient, cinematic experience will all be determined by the room's square footage.
When the AV and electronics scheme is in place, it's time to think about the interior design. Again, the scope and layout of the basement home theater will be a consideration when it comes to the amount and type of furniture and accessories you'll choose. Larger home theaters often emulate the design of real movie theaters, with stadium seating and large armchairs provided for each guest. Homeowners with smaller home theaters may choose a more low-profile configuration of couches and chairs.
See Also: Planning Your Own Home Theater
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