It’s all very well to put lots of thought into the equipment you want to install in your Home Theatre, but have you really thought about the room itself. Some rooms lend themselves better than others as Home Theatres. If you are converting an existing space, then you really have to just work with what you have, whereas if you are building or extending, then you might take some of these ideas into consideration in the planning stage.
Most people know which space they will be able to use for their set-up. It might be the main family area, a spare room or a converted garage complete with popcorn machine. Each of these areas will present their own unique attributes in terms of sound quality and comfort.
Rectangular rooms are preferable, as square rooms are prone to producing harmonic distortion. Mount your display screen (TV or Projector Screen) and main speakers along a short wall for better sound projection. This also allows you more distance between you and your screen for more comfortable viewing.
Ideally you would not have any windows in a dedicated Home Theatre, but that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation if you’re converting a space, or would like to use the room as dual purpose. The best alternative to living in a sun-less box is to adopt window treatments.
Windows are hard surfaces that reflect and create audio distortion and they also allow light into your room which will create reflections on your screen.
Adopting heavy drapes or block-out blinds gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to create a very dark Home Theatre in a few moments. It is important however to make sure that your window treatments will block out the distracting shards of light that can sneak in through the sides.
Depending on the surface of your room, you may choose to do nothing here, or lots. If you have a regular plaster wall, this is quite acceptable for a Home Theatre. It can be effective to break up large flat surfaces with furniture or curtains. Avoid adding framed art with glass because it tends to reflect sound and light which can impact the quality of the audio in your space.
If you have concrete or brick walls, you may choose to adopt some acoustic sound panels (Check out our blog on Sound Panels and our blog on Bass Traps) which are designed specifically for sound absorption and preventing echoes. The placement of acoustic treatment panels is different for each space, so you will need to experiment a bit to find the combination that works best for your situation. Keep in mind that you do not want to cover all your walls in panels, unless you are trying to achieve a “dead” recording studio effect.
Ideally carpet would be the flooring of choice if you are not sure which way to go. Carpet absorbs ambient sound and helps to reduce echo which hard wood, tile, concrete or lino floors will produce. As well as being good acoustically, it is a really comfortable environment when you want to relax watching your favourite movies.
This can be a contentious point for some, and it depends on the dedication you want to place on the function of your Home Theatre. To get the best effect, you should paint your walls as dark as you can handle. Bright colours reflect light as do gloss or semi-gloss finishes. Aim for a neutral tone such as something like a brown or grey in a flat finish. If you go with bolder colours such as red or blue, you will find they will interfere with the colours and how they appear on your screen. Of course if you cannot bear to have darker walls, then you know where you line is drawn.
Selecting the furniture to suit your space is the fun part. Whether you adopt bean bags, a club lounge or individual recliner chairs, this is where you can put your own stamp on your room. Some enthusiasts choose to adopt a theme for their room which can vary from classic to crazy.
Whichever way you decide to go, remember that this space is going to be an area where you can relax with friends and family. Whether you go extravagant or simple, the result should be the same. Remember that if you are uncertain about any aspect of your set-up, there are plenty of local Home Theatre installers who can help you achieve the best result. Enjoy!
Read our blog on Surround Sound Speakers to help you get the most of your set up.