Home Cinemas are becoming increasingly popular, but if you decide to install one you must think carefully about home cinema design. What system you buy, what seating you decide on and how you arrange your speakers depends on many factors, such as the viewer capacity you plan on having and the size of the room that will be the home to your home theatre.
The optimum setup for a home cinema design is to give it its own dedicated room. This allows you to position seating, speakers, the display and equipment in the best possible positions. Budget, however, will be your next consideration. You’ll need at least a DVD or VHS player, a widescreen television set, an amplifier (preferably surround sound) and speakers. Make certain to leave room in your budget for cables and wiring as well.
You will also want to budget for interior design necessities such as seating, lighting, and acoustics. You will want the best seating you can get for the most comfort. Remember, you will be spending hours upon hours in the seating watching movies, so they should be ergonomically correct and comfortable, but not to the point where it would be easy to fall asleep in them. You will also want the seating to be acoustically correct – they should have some sort of upholstery, without lots of exposed wood or metal parts. The seating also shouldn’t have high backs, as this will affect the viewer’s experience of the sound by blurring it.
Lighting is also important. Too much light and you will be dealing with glare off of a screen or a washed out projection. Hang thick, heavy curtains of black or a drab colour over any windows, and install a folding door over any doorways. Make sure any lighting in your home theatre design is controllable so it can be turned off and on when needed.
You must also consider the acoustics of your home cinema design. Having thick carpeting on the floor, hangings on the wall and thick upholstery on the chairs will help. Using these things can help the acoustics immensely and may also remove the need for an acoustical diffuser. However, if they do now, you may want to think about applying acoustical foam where looks are not a concern, or purchasing diffusers to use around surround sound speakers to create a more natural sound.
Finally, the positioning of your seating and equipment will have a large impact on your home theatre design. Seating should be placed in the rear centre of your home theatre, facing the centre of the screen – exact arrangement will depend on the size and shape of the room. Front speakers should be placed in a straight line in front of the seating and centred on it. Surround speakers should be placed alongside and to the rear of the seating on the walls, a few feet up above where the viewer’s heads will be.
With proper planning and careful thought, you can achieve great home theatre design, and get the best movie viewing experience for your money.