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Creating the perfect family home theatre in an existing room of your house

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There is nothing quite like sitting back in a comfortable chair and getting lost in the latest blockbuster hit or your favourite classic film. And thanks to technology, you can now recreate the big screen movie watching experience right at home.

Going to the movies is one of those simple yet wonderful pleasures of life, and every generation continues to be mesmerised the cinematic experience. The advances in technology now make it possible to enjoy the cinema experience without needing to leave the comfort of your home. With high definition, flat screen screens that come in whopping sizes, high quality sound systems, as well as a slew of seating options, creating the perfect home theatre in your house is doable. It can be a relatively simple DIY exercise or a more elaborately designed one based on your budget, size of the room, planned usage and personal taste.

There are quite a few little details to keep track of, so let’s take a look at the important stuff you have to keep in mind when designing and equipping your home theatre.

Your budget will be an overarching factor, though there really is something for every price range and you can create a cosy space without breaking the bank, or if the sky’s the limit then you can add every sort of extra, not to mention the latest, most hi-tech sound system and screen.

Don’t forget to add your newly created recreation space onto your home insurance – this is one room where you are going to have a lot of valuable and likely expensive equipment that you definitely want to have covered.

Consider the room from every angle

The size, shape and acoustics of the space you are planning to turn into your home theatre are the most important consideration when you are evaluating the potential equipment to invest in, the furnishings to choose, and the work involved. These are questions you need to be able to answer as you begin the project:

  • Is it a room that will have to serve a multi-purpose function, like your living room, or will be a spare space that is going to serve as exclusively as an entertainment centre? If it is the former, you have to make sure you can switch between home theatre mode and regular living space mode without too much hassle.
  • How big is the room? The bigger the room, the more options you have in terms of seating– you can get the lazy boy with cup holders or that comfy plush couch or even a proper cinema hall style row of seats.
  • What shape is it? If you have a choice, go for a rectangular room, not a square one, to get the least sound distortions.
  • How many windows are there, and what kind of light comes in? The fewer number of windows the better. If it is a garage with no windows and minimal natural light, this makes your conversion of the space to a home theatre easier. Windows let light in and can distort sound too. You can get blackout blinds or shades at affordable prices that will create the near-dark experience you need, and are definitely better than just heavy curtains or regular blinds where light can seep in from the sides and reflect on your screen.
  • How thin or porous are the walls? Will you need to repaint the walls of the room? Depending on the walls, you may need to insulate them to keep sound from leaching out – or in. And the colour of your home theatre room’s walls are important because too brightly coloured or light walls will offer a reflective surface, spoiling the experience. Best stay with neutral, dark shades that will absorb the light and colours emanating from the big screen.

Pick the right high-definition screen

While it may seem that the biggest possible screen you can fit into your home theatre room is the right choice, this is not necessarily the case. You should be thinking of viewing angle (experts suggest between 30 – 40 degrees) and optimum distance from/to screen (1.5 to 2.5 times the screen width is the perfect distance to be stationed at, according to experts), and once you know these figures, you will have an idea of what size range of screen you should be investing in. The screen should be the right size and at the right height for everyone watching to be able to view all the goings-on on the screen in one shot, without having to move their heads sideways or crane necks up or down.

Narrow down sound system options

There is a slew of possibilities when it comes to sound systems today, and you need to take the time and do the research to ensure you pick the right combination of speakers for your home theatre. The good news is that they are all advanced and offer fantastic sound, making it easier to create that theatrical experience in your home. Woofer, sub-woofer, central speaker. The majority of sound systems are 5.1 surround sound, coming with five speakers plus the woofer. Ideal placement is to have two speakers on the sides, towards the back of the room, and the other three front and centre. The woofer should be placed towards the front of the room but preferably in a corner to maximize its effect. While these are general guidelines for getting the best sound quality, the room’s acoustics may require some changes, so play around before fixing the speaker settings and positions.

The possibilities are endless

There are so many options on the market, but remember the basics. Get the room set up correctly to minimise interference from outside. Don’t necessarily choose the biggest screen—choose one that fits the room. And pick a sound system that is high quality, so you can hear every spaceship whooshing past your ear or every gun shot being fired.

Enjoy the space, because you are now officially the coolest house on the block.

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