Home theaters have become more commonplace in recent years, whether tucked away in the basement of a cozy bungalow or as an elaborate wing of a palatial estate. These custom entertainment spaces can add to a home's enjoyment factor, not to mention its resale value. If you're considering adding one to your home, you'll want to browse some home theater design ideas for inspiration.
Before you decide on the type of home theater design that's right for your family, you'll want to think about location. Two important things to consider for any home theater are light and sound—you'll want to choose a location where you'll have as much control as possible over these key elements. For this reason, many homeowners considering a home theater installation naturally gravitate toward the basement—often the home's most self-contained space, as well as its quietest and darkest. There's no reason not to consider a living room or spare bedroom for a home theater installation, but it's possible these spaces will require more customization to ensure proper lighting and sound control.
Once you've chosen the appropriate location in the home, it's time to start thinking about your home theater's technical, audio-visual and design requirements. The first thing to investigate in your location is the ability to wire the room for lighting, video, audio and internet access. Lighting, audio and video wiring are essential, while internet access is somewhat optional but recommended and a feature of most modern home theaters. Homeowners increasingly want to stream video from the internet or via set-top boxes, or connect for multiplayer gaming or web surfing on the big screen. In terms of wiring, you'll also want to confirm that you can hide the wiring for lighting and electronics in the walls or in discreet tubing throughout the room—a wild nest of wires is probably not the design you're looking for, and it can be a potential electrical hazard, as well.
Once the wiring situation has checked out, you'll want to turn your attention to the audio-visual and electronic equipment you'll install for your home theater. Your choices here are just about infinite in terms of cost and complexity, but one guiding factor you can use initially is the size of your home theater room. The room's dimensions will go a long way toward determining things like the size of the TV or projection screen needed, the number or speakers required for your sound system, and the lighting system. Other considerations for AV, lighting and electronics include whether you want to be able to control the entire home theater system via one universal remote, wirelessly via smartphone or tablet, or via an existing whole-home automation system.
When the inventory list for your home theater is complete, it's time to begin thinking about interior design. Again, the scope and configuration of the space will be a factor when it comes to the amount and type of furniture and decorations you'll choose. For example, larger home theaters sometimes feature cinema-style stadium seating, with large armchairs provided for each guest. Conversely, homeowners with smaller home theater spaces may opt for simpler seating arrangements of couches and chairs.
The last design consideration for any home theater is thematic—as you browse existing spaces for inspiration, you may notice that many homeowners with the space and resources to do so opt for a design that features a nod to the modern cinema experience, with curtains, carpets and even popcorn machines. Other homeowners opt for a more understated design that reflects the home's prevailing style. Ultimately, the choice is yours as the opening credits roll on your home theater project.
See Also: Planning Your Own Home Theater
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