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Home Design Trends: The Home Theater

Posted: Friday, September 27th, 2013 | Filed under: drapery systems, Home Improvement, window shading
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As movie tickets soar ($20 per person in NYC!), movie theaters like AMC have come up with gimmicks like dine-in theater to entice people into a night out at the movies.  But when all is said and done, a visit to the movie theater still means you are dining on movie theater food, and surrounded by strangers, who may or may not talk, sneeze, kick your seat, etc.  With these prices and headaches, it soon becomes apparent to anyone with a spare room and access to premium cable that an in-home theater is definitely worth the investment.

What are the things that you need for an in-home theater?

A home movie room does not have to break the bank.  Atmosphere is the most important aspect of an in-home theater.  You want your guests (and yourself!) to be comfortable, quiet, and to feel transported to whatever faraway land is being shown on the screen.  According to the experts the “perfect” home theater space measures 20 feet by 13 feet (or at least 12 feet by 12 feet).  But, you can also adjust things like sound system and television if a space is smaller (However, it is tough to go much larger due to the constraints of screen sizes).

Television Set

There are lots of resources for finding out what television set will best suit your purposes.  Many indicators can help guide you (ie. Size of the room, preference for clarity, etc), but guides like CNET are often a good jumping off point.  In addition, major brands such, will often try and guide you to the perfect set within their own range with guides.  For example, Dolby suggests a screen between 37 and 60 inches for home theater viewing, and also has a handy dandy viewing distance guide that you can refer to www.dolby.com

Sound Systems

The most important thing in deciding on a sound systems is to determine what type you need.  Most home theaters utilize 7.1 surround sound.  This means that you need to have speakers placed:

  • Center – just above or below the viewing screen
  • Left/Right – on either side of the screen at ear height
  • Side Surrounds – on the side walls just behind the main row of seating
  • Rear Surrounds – on the back wall (how far apart depends on the system)

Built in systems will increase the value of your home, but if you are creating a home theater on a budget, cleverly placed shelving or wall mounting kits, and a color scheme that matches your walls (all white or all black) will do just fine.

If you do want to go “all out” on a sound system, there is also 9.1 Surround Sound, which adds another set of speaker to the front of the room, so that in a movie, if there is a helicopter flying overhead onscreen, it will sound as though it is over the head of the audience as well!

Movie Theater Seating

The biggest decision in seating choices for your in home theater is whether or not seats will be separate or joined.  If your home theater room will be used for any other gathering purposes, it may be best to opt for a couch that has push back seating all the way across, or a sectional (although that increases the chances of some less than optimal viewing seats in your theater).

However, if you want to be true to the “theater” experience, you may opt for separated seating.  Separate lounge chairs can be found anywhere on the price spectrum from very inexpensive, to something that rivals seating on a private lear jet.  Keep in mind what you want your seating to accomplish.  Do you want people to be relaxed?  Do you want them to be able to keep a drink or snack close at hand?  Do you want them to be able to talk comfortably to each other?  Or would you rather your home theater experience be something more solitary?  Either way that is up to you – but that information is something to keep in mind when you are picking out the seating arrangement and furniture for your home theater.


When most people watch a movie, they want to be completely immersed in the made up world that is happening on the screen in front of them.  Whether you are enjoying a spaghetti western from the sixties, a spy movie from the seventies, or a romantic comedy from any era, the last thing you want is to remember that you are sitting in a theater watching a make believe story.  Total immersion is the goal for a home theater.  The best Home Movie Theater Ambiance happens when the entire room is dark, and your focus can be completely on the characters on screen.

When choosing the window shading to use in your home theater remember that blackout window shading is an easy option to ensure that your home theater experience is top notch.  You can even go a step further and install electronic shading, so that the theater becomes “a theater” with the simple click of the button, rather than you jumping up from your chair, clicking a light switch, and feeling your way back to your seat in the darkness.

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