What You Need to Know About Building a Home Theater

Remodeling, Advice

Most people associate building a home theater with the fabulously rich, representing something out of reach for the average person. While this may have been the case just a few decades ago, modern advances in technology have made beautiful home theaters just as attainable as any other home renovation or addition—all it takes is proper planning.

For many people, bringing the movie theater experience into there home is a dream come true that ushers in years of entertainment with family and friends. Some crucial things to consider include whether you want to transform an existing room or your basement into the theater room, or add a whole new addition to your home, which will be more costly. Home theaters can vary greatly in terms of price depending on how high-end you want to go (ranging from $15,000 on the low end to $90,000 on the opposite end of the spectrum!), so being very thoughtful about how you budget for all the various elements of your theater room (projection and audio equipment, soundproofing, seating, etc.) is essential.

Should it be an addition or a renovation?

Perhaps the biggest thing you need to consider when creating a home theater room is whether you want to renovate an existing space or build a whole new addition. Ideally, your home theater room will be isolated from the rest of the house, both in order to eliminate as much outside noise as possible, and also because you don’t want your glorious sound system to shake the house every time you watch a movie! A room of approximately 20 by 15 feet is highly recommended for the best setup. A space commonly converted to a home theater is the basement. You could potentially transform the entire basement, or depending on the size, put up a wall and create a separate room within your basement. Of course, this all depends on the amount of space available to you and the scope of the project. Other options include a spare bedroom, a large office that never really gets used, etc. Wherever you put it, the upside of utilizing a pre-existing part of your home is that it will naturally cost less than adding square footage to the house. However, you may find an addition to be within your budget and necessary to accomplish your vision.  

What else you need to consider when building a home theater

To get the legitimate movie theater experience in your home, you are going to need the proper equipment, which includes a projector and screen, audio equipment, acoustic treatment of the room, and seating. Price ranges can vary greatly with this type of equipment, so it is important to be realistic with your budget. 

Projector and Screen

A projector is the perfect example of something that can widely vary in price. A lower-end projector can be around $1,500, whereas a super high-end projector can be anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000! Don’t worry, unless you are the most extreme of projector aficionados, there really is not a need for you to get near that price range. 

As far as the screen is concerned, size will depend on the capabilities of the projector and the proportions of the room. The further the projector is from the screen, the bigger the picture will be, necessitating a bigger screen. You want to make sure the screen isn’t in a position where it will be affected by ambient light. Screens are commonly made of canvas, plastic, or even rubber, and will want to consider whether you want the screen to be acoustically transparent, meaning sound can travel through it. If you want to put your speakers behind the screen, or plan on having sound panels behind the screen, an acoustically transparent screen is the way to go.

Audio Equipment:

You will need to consider the quality of the speakers, how many you want, how many subwoofers you want, and where you want them. Do you want surround sound for a more immersive experience, or are you okay with simply keeping the speakers up front? It is all up to your own preference. 

Acoustic Treatment: 

Acoustically treating a room is its own science. When it is done right, it will take care of unwanted frequencies that negatively impact the audio. This can include installing panels, curtains, or other objects to absorb sound waves. You can also soundproof the room to minimize unwanted sounds from getting in or out of your theater by adding an extra layer of drywall or utilizing a sound-reducing wallboard.

Seating:

With all this nice new equipment, you’re going to want to enjoy it in comfort and style! When it comes to seating, you can go with basic theater seats, big cushy recliners, and anything in between. If you want multiple rows of seats, you should consider risers to prop up the back rows.

The average cost for converting a room into a home theater, including all the equipment, is around $20,000 to $50,000. If you opt for more of a basic setup, using minimal soundproofing, basic audio and projector equipment, and excluding things like risers for seating, you could potentially get away with spending around $10,000 to $15,000.

Examples of modern home theater designs

Adding a bar/kitchenette

What is a movie theater without snacks? By adding a small bar area or kitchenette to the back of your theater room, you can make sure snacks and drinks are always within reach! Popcorn, anyone?

Utilize lighting to set the mood

Lighting used the right way can completely transform the vibe of a room. Imagine your guests walking into your home theater and being greeted with twinkling stars on the ceiling, or colorful LED lights leading up to their seats, just like a real theater. Being creative with lighting is an extremely effective way to bring a sense of wonder to the space.

Keep it simple!

If you are running on a tight budget, a limited amount of space, or just aren’t interested in doing anything too grandiose, you can choose to go the super simple and cozy route. At the end of the day, all that really makes a theater room is a projector, screen, seating, and darkness! A good example of this would be doing some straightforward renovations to an attic space, installing some basic projection and audio equipment, and opting for beanbag chairs instead of theater seats. Simple and fun!

Make your dream theater room a reality

With the right planning and budgetary considerations, you can bring the magic of the movies right into your very own home. A movie theater room is a luxurious addition to any home that you will enjoy with friends and family for years to come. Get started on bringing your fantasy theater room to life by contacting Remington Builders Group today!

Can I use a T.V. instead of a projector?

Because the ultimate goal of a theater room is to create an exciting, immersive movie viewing experience, projectors are recommended because of the size and quality of their display. A projector is also easier on the eyes for prolonged viewing.

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