Simple Ways to Convert Any Room into a Home Theater

Many people wish they had room to create a home theater but feel their living space isn’t big enough. The good news it we have found some simple ways to convert any room into a home theater while still maintaining the original purpose of the room. Electronic House contributing writer Lisa Montgomery shares her favorite ideas for transforming a family room or living room or even a guest room into a fantastic home theater. 

Not everyone has the luxury of dedicating a room solely for big-screen movie viewing. More often, that space is shared with a family room, a den or a guest bedroom.

And that’s OK. Your family room is already finished and furnished. Plus, it probably already has a good-size TV and modest surround-sound system.

If your family room is like most, it may not look or feel much like a theater. What it’s likely lacking is ambiance – something in the arrangement and design of the room that gives off a theater vibe.

You can go as simple or as complicated as you want to produce the desired cinematic effect. Here are 10 ideas to consider.

1. Re-paint: Dark, rich colors like burgundy and navy blue scream theater. Plus, because light doesn’t reflect off dark colors like it does off light colors, the video on your TV will look better.

2. Rearrange the Furniture: The screen at your local cinema sits directly in front of the seats; your TV should, too, which may require a slight adjustment of your family room furniture.

3. Add Architectural Details: Decorative moldings, pillars and other theater-inspired details are widely available at home improvement stores.

4. Incorporate New Lighting: Most of the pre-show lighting in a commercial theater is produced by sconces on the wall. Put a few on the walls of your family room for additional lighting that looks like the real thing. Rope lighting is also very theater-esque.

5. Install Dimmers: If you don’t want to run new electrical wiring for the sconces, at least swap your existing light switch for a dimmer. You’ll be able to fade out the lights before the movie starts. like the real thing. Rope lighting is also very theater-esque.

6. Hang Drapes: Nice, thick drapes like the ones that cover the screen at the movie theater evoke the look and feel you’re after. As a bonus, they can block out incoming light and improve room acoustics.

Here is a great video that shows how simple it is to build your own fabric sound panels for a lot less than it costs to buy them ready made, and it looks like a great project…

7. Hide the Components: Remove all the audio and video components from the room and place them somewhere else in the house, like a closet or utility room. Trade in your existing infrared remote control for a radio frequency-based remote. It’ll be able to transmit commands to the equipment through walls, floors and doors. 

8. Build a Riser: You can enjoy the same stadium-style seating of your neighborhood cinema in your own family room by having a riser built. Marc Huebner of Enhanced Home Systems in Eden Prairie, Minn., recommends constructing two steps that are each six inches high. The top step should include a platform at least six feet deep so that chairs can fit comfortably on it.

9. Pick New Seats: Invest in theater-style seating, especially if you’ve built risers. These seats can be ordered in a color to complement the new wall paint. They can include features like reclining action and built-in cup holders.

10. Attach Fabric Wall Panels: The walls in most theaters are covered in fabric. You can do the same in your family room, although you don’t have to do the entire space.

At $100 to $200 a panel, it’s an inexpensive way to improve the acoustics,” says Ryan Herd of One Sound Choice, Pompton Plains, N.J.

These are really great ideas for creating a home theater design in an already existing space in your house. Some of the ideas will cost more than others but certainly changing the paint color and adding some fabric wall panels are not budget busters. In fact the fabric panels can be made from simple pine wood or other inexpensive material and covered with foam and fabric using a sturdy staple gun and wood glue. Try these other simple ways to convert any room into a home theater and start popping the popcorn!

If you have questions or comments please leave them below and we’ll get right back to you.

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