The Ultimate Guide to Building a Home Theater

Home Theater

Did you know that almost 3,000 movie titles will come out in 2021?

If you want to watch movies within the comforts of your house, a home movie theater can make the experience better. But building this room can become an annoying venture, especially when you have no prior experience.

Don’t panic yet.

With this guide, you’ll learn all about building a home theater. That way, you can have more family bonding time, whether it’s with your spouse or the entire family. Read on and find out more.

Pick the Ideal Location

A home theater’s ideal space is 20 feet long and 13 feet wide. If you enjoy watching movies, make sure that it’s in a relatively isolated area of your home. After all, it must be in a location where it won’t interrupt the rest of your household.

Doing this prevents you from disturbing anyone while watching the movie. That’s why it’s ideal to build a theater wing off your home’s family room. Alternatives include closing the formal living room’s open second-story space or converting a spare bedroom, as long as it’s 12 feet wide and long.

Frame and Insulate

The home theater’s shell has similarities to other home additions. The only difference is that you want your ceiling to have more insulation. An R30 rating is a standard for your ceilings, floors, and exterior walls.

What you must pay attention to is the interior walls. If you use loosely-packed R11, you can prevent the sounds of movie explosions from disturbing the rest of your house. Keep in mind that this won’t block the sound off completely.

Worry not, since you can add more sound barriers after pre-wiring your room.

Pre-Wire Surround Sound

A standard home theater will use a 7.1 surround sound system. This will include a subwoofer and seven-channel speakers. This covers various directions: left, right, center, two sides, and two rears.

A 7.1 system is easy to pre-wire since you need only mark the right location for each speaker. The center one goes either above or below the screen while the left and right must be on either screen side at ear height. As for the side surrounds, it must be on the side walls behind the main seating row while the rear sounds should be on the back wall.

Pick a hub spot to house your receiver, as well as other equipment related A/V. You can hide the hub in a cabinet inside the theater or a nearby closet. Regardless, get the audio cables running from the hub to each speaker.

The cables must be 16-gauge with four conductors for the side and rear speakers. The left, right, and center speakers need stronger cables. That means using either 12 or 14-gauge ones.

Also, some home theaters now use 9.1 surround sound. The primary difference is adding more speakers in front of the room. This makes the sound richer, allowing you to hear more overhead sounds.

Pre-Wire the Video Projector

A realistic theater experience means pre-wiring a projector system. This is simple enough since you need only work with two cables. It’s an HDMI cable and a CAT5 control wire, with the former for HD videos while the latter for projector access and radiofrequency remote.

An end of these cables must extend from the ceiling at the theater’s rear since it’s where the projector will be. The other end must connect to your designated equipment hub. Pre-wire the hub with either cable or satellite feed and high-speed internet if you plan to stream videos.

Pre-Wire Lighting

A good movie theater atmosphere is better with the appropriate lighting. This means using recessed lighting in the ceiling with sconces on the side walls. Make basic electrical wirings for each location.

Connect the lights to an RF dimmer since it lets you use the same remote to control the lights. Another alternative is to make the lights auto-dim when pressing the play button.

To make the most out of the movie theater atmosphere, get floor lighting if you opt for stadium seating. It applies to the steps since it’s the most appropriate area. You can also pre-wire lighting to be efficient in low-voltage settings.

Dry Wall and Sound Barrier Installation

Did you know that drywall costs $1 to $3 per square foot in the United States? Make sure to budget for this part of the installation.

When hanging it, make incisions for the pre-wired cables, both electrical and audio. You can opt for more soundproofing by using specialty drywall or use sound-dampeners over normal drywalls.

Set up Video and Sound Systems

After painting the drywall, hang your speakers, projector, and screen. In an average home theater, the ideal size for the screen is 110 inches. For a professional look, use proscenium to frame the screen.

Use acoustic panels to hide the remaining speakers, which can also double as artwork. You can get these panels with custom designs, like family images or movie posters. After that, connect the speakers and projector to your equipment hub’s receiver.

If you invest in a good Blu-ray player, you can do more than playing movie discs. You can also stream HD movies using the internet if you have a pay-per-view streaming service. These also work with your computer, meaning it’s easy to share audiovisual media in your theater.

Use Theater-Style Seating

The cost for a home theater might put a dent in your wallet, but it’s worth the price to get the most comfortable seats. You can finish the room by putting both comfortable sofas and loveseats, but the real deal is getting authentic theater-style seating.

For a 20 by 13 theater, you can fit two rows of four seats. Use a pre-built platform for the back row to improve the viewing experience.

Start Building a Home Theater Today

These are the steps if you’re building a home theater. Use this guide to build one and have the ultimate movie night experience with your friends and family.

Do you want additional home movie theater ideas? Check out our posts and guides to learn more today!

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