TIP# 36:

Ideally, a Home Theatre is best when situated in its own room, and most people have thought about how to do it right. We have designed and installed quite a few in our time, and enjoy listening to our customers’ ideas on what they feel would be their “ideal”. Needless to say, we end up adding a few of the ideas we have gathered over the years, as there is a pretty extensive list of things to consider when planning a Home Theatre Room. It is well worth the time to investigate some of the design concepts incorporated into the

First decision, where to build the Theatre. Of course a well isolated area is best, located away from the normal entertaining areas, kitchen, dining room and bedrooms. This not only keeps the sound from filtering into rooms where it will not be appreciated, but it also makes the experience special, since the Theatre is dedicated to being an escape from the everyday.

Isolation also relates to the construction of the Theatre itself. The better the Theatre is at retaining sound, the more enjoyable the experience will be. In basements, constructing the ceiling with; (from the top down), an air space, R20 insulation between the joists, a covering of donnaconda board, sound bar and finally two layers of 1/2″ drywall does a great ‘job. Same treatment for the walls.

We must also be aware of sound entering the Theatre through the furnace ductwork. Ridged cloroplast, wrapped into a tube (insulation side in) in the last 36″ of the hot air duct just before entering the Theatre will do the job. Other forms of insulation such as Soundtex (on the hot air vents) will stop the sound of rushing air, created by the ace, from competing with the rush of air in the eye of a twister! A well constructed Theatre can make all the difference between an acceptable and an outstanding Home Theatre experience.

Using the proper wiring is essential (see tips 34[ multi-room] and 35[ home theatre]). Here are a few interesting thoughts on execution though. Equipment racks should be accessible from the rear. Good lighting and lots of power outlets are a Godsend, not only at the installation stage but also for neatness and ease of servicing later. It is so much easier to wrap and route cables when you aren’t flat on your back with a flashlight in your mouth. False walls with integrated equipment and accessory shelves are a great way to do it, if your room doesn’t back on to a utility room. The pull out or lazy Susan style of equipment racks work well when space is at a premium.

Don’t forget lighting. Many quality lighting systems are remote control and can be integrated to give a total experience, like having the lights dim when the movie starts, thus avoiding having to decide with your better half on who will stand by the light switch this time. The convenience of being able to bring up the house lights at the end of the show, without tripping in the dark, should not be underestimated either.

The best performance from any TV is only attainable with complete control over lighting. All windows must be able to be covered (if there are any in the Theatre at all), when was the last time you saw any windows in a Movie Theatre? When wiring the Theatre’s lights, run separate circuits to the lights that will reflect off the screen, the accent lights, sconces and the pathway lights. This allows scene and mood lighting that can add real drama to the room, along with enhanced picture quality. If there are windows in the Theatre, remote automated blinds and curtains can also be integrated with the lighting and A/V system for a more dramatic theatrical effect. Picture this: the movie’s musical score starts, the curtains and blinds close, the lights dim the popcorn flies!

It is the details that define the great Home Theatre gems. Dark, rich colours in the paint, carpet and furniture give just the right ambiance. Columns and rope tracer lights are not expensive and really add to the overall effect. A marquee over the door, movie posters, velvet railings, popcorn machines, ticket wickets with mannequins, pop machines behind concession stands – all add that something special that can help to whisk you away.

Keep in mind that you are not only a patron, but you are the projectionist too. In order to make your job as simple as possible, consider a custom coffee or end table to house your secondary remote controls and keep the primary ones easily accessible. A subtle, low power reading light, for quick glances at non backlit remotes is a great addition. The fully backlit learning remote is still the preferred option though, although there will still be times that a little focused light may be needed. If not for the remotes, for the spilled popcorn…or looking for that slimy alien under the couch!

Running hidden audio/video and power cables to the custom table for hookup to video games and camcorders, without unsightly wires stretched across the floor is a nice touch. Even baby pictures, your last vacation or Super Mario will be enhanced. And, while you are designing the perfect table, consider incorporating drink, garbage and napkin holders in the table or armrests of the seats, all mighty useful extras.

We hope you had fun with our thoughts on some of the details for the ultimate Home Theatre, and that we helped to stimulate your creative juices. Just be imaginative and have fun, after all, that’s the idea. If you have any thoughts we have not mentioned, please let us know, we also have others we would like to share with you. You are always the one with the great ideas though! So pass the popcorn and lets enjoy!