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Modern homes of elite and wealthy have not only remained homes but they are now mini resorts where basic amenities for fun and entertainment like swimming pool, gymnasium, sports room, library, large garden with gazebo, Patio are available. Home theater room is one of them. The advances in the electronics industry have made viewing movies and enjoying videos of sweet memories of life at home sitting with family and friends possible. Home theater room is the place in the home where you get together with your family and friends for entertainment.
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When you are planning a new house, first decide the location for your home theater setup. It can be a part of your living space, a separate room or a basement with complete dedicated space for popcorn machine. The basement is the best place for home theater room design. Each of these spaces has special characteristics in terms of comfort and sound quality and one need to review all.
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01. Home Theater Seating/Capacity:
First of all, you have to decide the capacity of home theater seating. How many people should it accommodate? Or alternatively if you have fixed size of home theater room, check how many people it can accommodate? If it cannot accommodate minimum home theater seating you need, you have to reconsider the whole idea of having a home theater room design.
02. Home Theater Room Shape & Size:
Shape & size i.e. dimensions of the room are very important. The size of home theater room will help you to establish the seating arrangement and will influence the optimum selection & placement of the audio/video equipments.
The size of the home theater room will help to determine:
- Optimum size of home theater screen (TV projector)
- Home theater seating arrangement and distance
- Speaker Configuration
As such there is no perfect size needed for a home theater room design, but a room that is at least 15′-0″ (4500 mm) wide and 20′-0″ (6000 mm) long with 8′-0″ (2400mm) ceiling is a good to start with. Ideally you want a home theater room design that is large enough to accommodate the display of your choice, location of speakers and of course comfortable sitting area.
The shape of the home theater room design is very important because it will affect the quality of sound within the room. The physical dimensions of the home theater furniture & room will have a effect on the basic acoustics of the room. Proper ratio of room dimension will make your home theater installation easy.
The worst shape for a room is a cube where all the dimensions are equal. While there is no one perfect shape for a home theater, a good rule of thumb is to keep the width of the room at least 1.6 times the ceiling height and the length of the room at least 2.3 times the ceiling height.
If you are thinking to make your wall textured and with cladding to muffle sound, relax. Regular drywall is appropriate as home theater room wall. However, don’t forget to break the large flat surfaces with furniture or drapes. Don’t hang art frames with glass, because it is too reflective of light and sound both.
Concrete block is not good for home theater in basement. If you are constructing basement with concrete walls, do not forget to install studs and dry wall. Other options are acoustic wall panels specifically design for home theater. These panels are called “sound absorption” panels. They help modulate low and high frequencies preventing echoes. Panels come as 1′-0″ x 1′-0″ or 2′-0″ x 2′-0″ in size.
The fewer the windows, the better. They are hard surfaces that reflect sound causing audio distortions or and they admit light that can produce reflections on your viewing surface. Heavy curtains and shades will help, but that means closing blinds or drapes every time you turn on your home theater system. Opt for the blackout style window treatments that track tight against window sill and jambs. Basements don’t have this problem.
Wall to wall carpet with a new cushy pad underneath absorbs sound and contributes to coziness. Your children will love to sprawl on the floor to watch stuff and you never know when some comedy will make you roll on the carpet with laughter.
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Paint your walls as dark as you can do. Bright colour reflects light and will distract you when there is bright-lit scene on the screen. Stay away from the semi-glossy or glossy sheens.
Working with neutral browns, tans and olive is good. Stronger colours such as red and blue will give an odd cast to any ambient light and may affect the colour on your screen.
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The cherry on top of the cake for any home theater setup is a high definition display screen. The required size of display with optimum distance and angle will give you all the pleasures of viewing.
Following points will help you to set good viewing in your home theater:
08. Optimum Angle:
The best viewing angle for your home theater furniture is 30 to 40 degrees. Means, if you would draw a triangle from the edges of the display to your nose, the angle of that points your head (apex) would be 30 to 40 degrees. This lets you take all the actions with minimal comforts of eye movement. Note that if you stay at the same distance from your display but move off to the side, the viewing angle will get narrower. If you plan to have multiple home theater seating, make sure each and every seat have an optimum angle.
09. Optimum Distance:
Ideal viewing angle can be expressed simply as distance, too, which is usually 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal width of your home theater screen. For example, you should not sit closer than 7.5 feet from a 60-inch wide TV, and no more than 12.5 feet away.
You can use this formula reverse too. If you know your viewing distance, say 8 feet then you can select an optimum display size. For example, divide 8″-0″ i.e. 96″ by 2 and you will get 48″. So a good high definition TV display for your viewing distance would be about 48″.
10. Viewing Height:
The ideal height for the home theater screen is to have the center of the display screen at eye level. If you elevate your display, tilt it so that it faces your home theater seating area.
11. Sound (Acoustics):
Most home theater installation of speaker systems are designed to provide specific sounds from specific areas of your listening environment. For example, when train goes thundering through a scene, you hear the sound moving from one side to the other. However, speakers labeled, as “bipole and dipole” are not compatible with this essential feature of home theater, so check it before you buy.
For designing good acoustics hire a good experienced acoustics consultant. Good acoustics is not as simple as you think. As on one side you need no echo, you also would prefer ideal modulation of both low and high frequency sound as well as its intensity. At the same time no inside noise should disturb the people outside and similarly the outside noise should not disturb the fun of movie or videos.
12. Speaker Placement:
The typical home theater features 5.1-surround sound, meaning there are five full range speakers and one low range specialist, the woofer. At the front you will place three speakers and the woofer, the two remaining speakers on either side and slightly behind your viewing position. Keep speakers at least 20 inches from walls.
Let’s not forget that each room is unique, and the best sound for you may come only after experimenting with different speaker placements.
13. Playing Center Field:
Among all speakers, your center front speaker is perhaps the most influential. It bears the responsibility of projecting sound directly from the home theater screen. This is especially for the dialogues. You don’t want to see the actors talking in front of you while the sound of their voice is coming from the side.
14. It’s All About Comfort:
This is your own theater and so why not have one of those large sofas for the ultimate comfort while viewing. When it comes to home theater seating, you could bring in some of those luxurious seats with plenty of leg space and soft cushions.
Hire a good HVAC or MEP consultant for designing good air conditioning system. Comfortable temperature and humidity are basic for comfort.
16. Interior Design:
To make interior attractive hire a good interior designer who has the experience of home theater room & setup as anything without understanding its working may disturb its acoustic system or light. You may need his help in selecting sofas or right type of chairs, too. Good illumination also needs expertise. Appropriate false ceiling will not only help beauty and lighting but can also help acoustics.
17. Buying Electronic Equipment:
Visit good stores or showrooms for the purchase of projector, screen and sound system. This is the heart of it. So spend time, study all literature and if possible take the advise of friends.