How to Design a Home Theater: An Essential Guide

How to Design a Home Theater
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A few of us have a large room to spare in our house, and there are countless options to what you can do to it. For instance, you can make it a home gym, a library, or even a gaming space. One thing most of us would love to do to a spare room is to make it into a home theater. Having a cinema-like experience right in the comfort of your home is simply priceless. However, the main issue about it is where do you even begin? Fret no more because, throughout this piece, we will tell you exactly how to design a home theater.

How to Design a Home Theater?

It is important to note that there is a plethora of factors to consider when it comes to building your own home theater. These include the technical as well as the financial aspects. Let us also not forget the endless options of electronic devices to choose from that will leave you with your head spinning.

While the task may be daunting, we will try our best to ensure that we provide you with a guide on how to make a beautiful and successful home theater. There is a whole lot you can do to maximize your home theater experience.

Some Considerations

Below are some of the things to keep in mind once you decide to have your own home theater.

  • Room or Space

More often than not, you would have no choice but to work with a vacant room in your house. However, if you can interchange rooms, choose a space that is at least 20 by 13 feet and is isolated from the rest of your home. It would also be ideal to choose the one that has a rectangular shape. In this way, the screen and the main speakers can be placed on the shorter wall since this setup produces the best sound projection. The other factor to consider is windows; the lesser the windows, the better because windows cause audio distortion and can attract light which will produce reflections. It would even be better if you could cover them up.

The next factor is the walls of the room. It would be best to choose regular drywall since it is the most appropriate for home theaters. You must avoid frames with glass as it would reflect light and sound. For the flooring, select a carpet that goes wall-to-wall since this absorbs sound. Lastly, for the color of the room, stick to dark or plain black palettes as they don’t reflect.

  • The Sound System

The minimum requirement is a 5.1 surround sound speaker because this system has five full range speakers that have one woofer. To set up, place the three speakers and the woofer at the front while the other two speakers can be placed either on the side or a bit behind. You must ensure that there is a minimum distance of 20 inches between the walls and the speaker.

While a 5.1 surround sound is the bare minimum for a home theater, we suggest that you opt for a 7.1 surround sound system. These will include a subwoofer along with seven channel speakers. These will include one on the left, right and center, which would be right below the screen and two side surrounds, which would be placed on the side walls that is behind the main seating row, along with two rear surrounds that you can place on the back wall. Run 16-gauge wires wherever your speakers are placed.

Amongst all the speakers, the one in front or in the center will play the most important role as it has the responsibility to project the sound from the screen directly. This is crucial when there are dialogues.

  • Display

How you view the screen makes or breaks your viewing experience. Whether you choose a projector or a LED screen, you do not want a screen that is small wherein you need binoculars to watch. You also certainly don’t want a screen so large that you are just swinging your head from one side to the other while watching. With that said, the ideal angle to view a picture is between 30 and 40 degrees.

Additionally, the optimum distance is about 1.5 or 2.5 times the diagonal width of the screen. Lastly, the ideal viewing height for a picture should be at the center, which is at eye level. You wouldn’t want to be looking up throughout the whole movie. That would just cause you a neck ache after a while.

The Steps

Above are the top essentials for any good home theater, and now that you are aware of that, let us provide you with a brief step-by-step guide on how to build and design your home theater.

  • Step One

Break apart everything in the room as you will need to frame and insulate it. A basic rating of R30 is essential for insulating the walls, ceiling, and the floor.

  • Step Two

Install specialty drywall as that acts as an effective sound barrier. However, that does cost way more than standard drywall. If you opt for standard drywall, use sound-dampening materials like high-density vinyl.

  • Step Three

Once you have painted everything, set up the speakers as discussed earlier. After which, pre-wire your projector using an HDMI cable and a CAT5 control wire so that you can access your projector wirelessly with a radiofrequency remote. This is essential as you will be able to start, stop, pause and do more to the movie without the need of pointing the remote to the projector. Simultaneously, pre-wire your lighting. Connect the lights to the RF dimmer so that you can use the same remote to access the lights.

  • Step Four

Set up the video and sound systems and check that everything is functional. Be sure to connect your Blu-ray player, gaming console and even your cable feed. If you want to, you can customize the room further like adding theater-style seats.


Having a well-built home theater will truly elevate your movie viewing experience. Be sure to customize your home theater as per your needs and preference. Follow the considerations and guide above on how to design a home theater to truly give it a movie theater look.



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