home theater design ideas

Studio Ashby

The only thing better than going to the movies is enjoying one from the comfort of your very own home theater. If you’re ready to commit or just starting to research the process, these ten home theater design ideas, renovation tips, and decorating examples will help you create the cinematic viewing space of your dreams. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the feature presentation of home theaters that rival the real thing below.

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Free Up Your Basement

A basement is the perfect location to design a home theater since it’s isolated and dark. This will make sound performance and lighting easier to control.

The Design Tip: Try painting your walls a dark color and install an extra-large flat screen, as seen in this home theater designed by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design. Then bring in seating reminiscent of classic plush movie theater seats but with a modern spin and the ability to work in a variety of environments.


Scout Out Alternate Locations

If you don’t have a basement or large enough space, there are plenty of other ways to make a home theater work. Transform a spare bedroom or a walk-in closet, where the enclosed nature minimizes natural light. Other options include converting a garden shed, pool house, and even an unused garage.

The Design Tip: If you can’t design an entire room to feel like a blackbox theater, opt for built-in seating for a bite-sized version of the experience, as seen in this nook designed by Studio DB.


Consider Insulating Your Space

Once you’ve selected the room you want to use for a home theater, you’ll want to map out your renovation needs. Do you just want to decorate a media room that draws inspiration from a movie theater, or do you want to go all out? If it’s the latter, you may want to insulate your walls with drywall to create a sound barrier.

The Design Tip: Make it ultra-push. Big suede love seats are perfect for romantic nights and those lacquered tables between them are the perfect resting spot for your bowl of popcorn.


Optimize Your Wiring

Another important step is getting your wiring in check. You’ll need the right wiring for lighting, sound, and your projector and/or screen. This is also a good time to mention that you’ll want to keep equipment out of sight and hide your wires with discreet tubing.

The Design Tip: If your home theater doesn’t have room for cinema-style stadium seating, try a conversation pit. Designed by Elizabeth Roberts, this space feels like a private haven fit for big viewing parties thanks to the full carpeting and depressed flooring.


Review Sound Options

There’s a lot to think about when designing your sound system, from how many speakers you’ll need and whether or not to install surround sound. Some design choices will also impact the sound quality. For example, a carpet helps contain the noise and prevent echo.

The Design Tip: Plush carpet, low to the ground seating, and sophisticated marble coffee tables make this home theater perfect for both viewing and entertaining. A large sectional can fit more family and friends and the moody color story makes it feel like a subterranean lounge.


Choose Your Screen

There are a ton of options and things to consider when picking your screen. Most importantly, the room’s dimensions. If it’s shallow, you won’t want to choose a screen that’s too large. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s equipped with a Blu-ray player, satellite feed, and game console.

The Design Tip: You can still create a media room that feels like a home theater even if you don’t have the perfect basement space to do so (blackout curtains to the rescue). Take note from this cozy media room decorated by Studio Lifestyle.


Set Up Control Systems

Consider setting up a control system like a universal remote, iPad, iPhone, or a whole-home automation system. This will help you control lighting, sound, and everything else you need in one place.

The Design Tip: This media room from Catherine Kwong is perfect for cozy family movie nights, but its also the perfect backdrop for entertaining, afternoon naps, and casual get-togethers.


Think About Bells and Whistles

Do you want 3D capability? Professional-level audio performance and high resolution picture? A hidden projector that drops down from the ceiling? There are plenty of little add-ons that will make your home theater a truly immersive experience.

The Design Tip: If you have plain white walls, a projector is going to be your best friend. You’ll be able to watch your favorite movies on a big “screen” without actually having to install one on your living room walls, as seen in this apartment designed by Paula Guzman of Homepolish.


Think About Layout

And now for the fun part…once you’ve worked out all the technical elements, you can think about layout. Go for cinema-style stadium seating with reclining loungers or love seats, or keep things one level with a sectional.

The Design Tip: The layout of this home theater designed by Studio Ashby is a nod to the real cinematic experience, but with a sophisticated spin. The Art Deco sconces tiered seating evoke the Hollywood golden age while the olive green seats and ottomans are fresh and contemporary.


Have Fun With Design

And last but not least, you can start decorating your home theater. Choose a theme and run with it, whether you want to channel the setting of your favorite film, make it sophisticated, or feature a repeating motif.

The Design Tip: If your media room is also a play room, choose a dark wallpaper that will absorb light during viewing parties but also speak to the space’s other uses with a whimsical print. Adding floor cushions is also a good call, as seen in this media room by Regan Baker Design.

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