Home Theatre Tips

Home Theatre Tips

I’d like to pass along a few home theater tips to help you create a great room for watching movies and television shows. These tips are the short version of the more detailed information we have in our home theater design pages here at www.DesigningYourPerfectHouse.com. I recommend you read through those articles to get a full understanding of home theater design issues and opportunities. But for now, let’s look at a quick overview of the basic things you need to do and mistakes you need to avoid when creating your home theater.

Things You Should Do:

  • Do match the home theater screen size with the room size. A screen that is too large can be just as uncomfortable to watch as one that is too small. There are optimum distances from the screen where you should sit. Too close can be worse than too far away.
  • Do place the screen at a height with the center of the screen at, or slightly above, the eye level of the viewers for comfort and good ergonomics.
  • Do arrange the seating so that every viewer has a comfortable, unobstructed view of the screen. Raised platforms for rear seats help with this.
  • Do add dimmers to the home theater room lights to allow careful control of lighting levels and “scene setting.”
  • Do choose “soft” surfaces for the floor and possibly the walls that don’t reflect too much sound to improve the home theater acoustics within the room.
  • Do think through your automation system to make operating your home theater as easy and convenient as possible.
  • Do install as high quality an audio system as your budget will allow. High quality sound is half of the audio-video experience in any home theater.
  • Do install sound insulation in the walls and ceiling to block outside noise from entering the room and keep theater sounds from disturbing others in the house. consider installing sound-deadening drywall, as well. Sound seal the doors.
  • Do manage the heating and air conditioning system to prevent noise when the system turns on and off. Make sure the room will maintain a comfortable temperature. Eliminate the sounds of moving air.
  • Do sound insulate any plumbing pipes near the home theater to prevent the sound of rushing water, that can ruin a good desert scene.

Things You Should Not Do:

  • Don’t place the seating too close to the screen. The closest seats should be no closer than 1.6 times the diagonal size of the screen. For example, if you are using a 60 inch screen, the closest seat should be no closer than 96” (eight feet) from the screen.
  • Don’t install the screen too high. This may be the most important home theater tip of them all. Placing the screen too high will be uncomfortable for the viewers’ eyes and necks.
  • Don’t install a hardwood or tile floor in your home theater. Hard floors reflect sound and will make your home theater reverberate too much. It will make your good audio system sound like a bad audio system.
  • Don’t forget to install good black-out window coverings with enclosed edges that can block outside light. Stray light will compromise your video clarity and screen brightness.
  • Don’t paint the walls a light color. Light colors will increase the overall ambient light levels in the room and that is not good. consider lightly padded fabric wall coverings instead. They can help the room acoustics while also controlling light reflection.
  • Don’t forget to install good sound insulation in the walls and ceiling to keep movie sounds in and outside sounds out.

Hopefully, these home theater tips will help you create a terrific room your whole family will enjoy. But don’t stop here. Please take a look at our other Home Theater Design pages that discuss home theater design in greater detail.

Bill Hirsch

Bill Hirsch

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