Now that technology has made having an in-home entertainment system a reality, how do you go about incorporating one into your own home? Creating a home theater involves more than just choosing a system, you’ve got to design a space that will provide the best viewing experience.
First decision: location. To create a true “theater” experience, you’ll want to have as little interruption from outside light as possible. For that reason, many people use a basement or an attic room for their home theater. If you don’t have an attic or basement, choose a room with the fewest or smallest windows. Covering the windows with both pull-down shades and heavy, dark-colored curtains will best darken the room for optimal viewing during the daytime. Check with home-improvement stores and window showrooms for special “black-out” curtains and shades.
You might think that wall color isn’t a big issue in your home theater-since the lights will usually be off. However, you should give wall and floor treatments some consideration so that they don’t distract during show time. For example, you’ll want to use dark, deep colors such as brown, deep red or charcoal gray to keep the walls in the background while a movie is playing. Textured wall covering or matte finish paint will keep walls from “shining” with screen light reflection.
Although the lights will usually be off in your home entertainment room, you’ll need a good lighting source for entering and leaving the room. It’s best to avoid overhead lights as they can be too glaring. Sconces that produce soft light on walls and recessed lighting are the best choices for this room. Use dimmers to control the lighting so that you can adjust the brightness to keep viewers’ eyes comfortable.
The kind of seating you choose for your home entertainment theater depends on the kind of crowd you expect to entertain. Will your young children and their friends be the heaviest users? If so, a couple of large sofas will work well. Kids tend to fight over individual seats, but they can all pile on a sturdy sofa. An added benefit to a comfy couch is the opportunity for one or two people to simply sprawl over it for more private viewing. Recliners and loveseats offer a comfortable seat for teens and adults. In fact, why not put a number of recliners in the room, so everyone can have the most comfortable seat in the house? If multiple recliners are not in your budget, easy chair/ottoman sets work just as well, if not better. In a pinch, the ottoman serves as extra seating.
The finishing touches in decorating your home entertainment theater are the most practical ones. A solid level surface, such as a wooden table or T.V. tray, within reach of each seating area makes it easy for viewers to set down snacks or drinks. To avoid having to leave the room to replenish snacks, keep a mini refrigerator in the room, and use cupboards or existing closet shelves for dry snacks. A small microwave oven will let you make popcorn and heat up nachos without ever leaving your home entertainment haven.