how to make a home theater

How to Make a Home Theater – Easy Step by Step Guide

Gone are the days when having a cinematic experience in home theaters was luxury, a thing for the wealthy. With the advancement in technology, a lot of things have become affordable.

how to make a home theater
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Nowadays, many families can enjoy watching videos on a big screen with surround sound effects.

However, a lot of people only set up their entertainment systems to bring the effects of the cinema to their homes. Not a lot goes the extra mile to get an actual theater in their homes.

If you’ve been contemplating that, it’s your lucky day! In this post, we’re going to teach you how to make a home theater. This will be a miniature version of what you go out and pay to experience.

We’ll take you from the planning phase to sitting comfortably and watching a nice movie.

If you’re ready for the ride, let’s get started.

Plan for the Home Theater

“If you fail to plan, you’ve planned to fail”. This statement is quite appropriate in this case. Before you start buying anything or pulling out the tools, you need to get some things right.

The planning process will guide you through the entire journey of creating your very own home movie theater. There are certain things you need to consider and decide on to know if it is a good idea in the first place and how well it will work.

Location

Unless you planned for a home theater while building your home, you have to figure out where to use.

Since it will be accommodating your family and maybe a few friends, you don’t need a huge place. Some 20 by 15 feet of space should be enough for a movie theater in a home . Your basement, an enclosed part of your living room, or a spare bedroom are ideal spaces for home theaters.

The following are some characteristics ideal to a home theater:

  • It is large enough for the ideal seating arrangement and appropriate distance to the screen.
  • Two doors to the room is safer, but one is the best.
  • It is easy to isolate external light and sound. If you’re remodeling, you can do that with soundproofing.
  • A high ceiling to mount the projector so that the heat and noise won’t disturb the viewers underneath. If you don’t have this, a short-throw projector is ideal.

Materials

Once you’re done selecting a place to locate your new home theater, you need to create a list of the materials you’ll need to build it.

If you’re going to carve out space from a bigger one, then you’ll need materials you will use to build a frame.

The wiring will have to be beneath the wall so, you’ll have to decide which direction the home theater will face. That way, you can plan what direction the wiring will go.

The sitting position will be such that everyone has a clear unobstructed view of the screen. A stadium seating arrangement is often best as those in front won’t block the viewers at the back.

Make sure the chairs are comfy too. Some sofas can recline and have cupholders. These are a great choice to fully create the cinema feel. As for the seating arrangement, you can install a platform that will raise the seats at the back.

Media

This is where you consider the media elements to put in place. Since it’s a home theater and not just a set up for daily viewing, if you ask us, we’ll say using a projector is better than getting a TV.

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You’ll need a big screen, and a projector is more flexible in that area. You can change the screen dimension according to your needs.

You can find out all you need to know to choose the best projector for your home theater.  We also suggest you consider multiple sources of video input such as a streaming device, a Blue-Ray player, gaming console, etc.

As for audio, you need dedicated home theater speakers. We recommend a 7.1 configuration with a similarly powerful AV receiver. To take things a notch higher, you can go for Dolby Atmos speakers of 7.1.2 configuration.

With that, you will get 360 degrees surround sound. You can find out about the best home theater speakers that’ll serve this purpose.

You’ll also have to decide if your speakers will be wall-mounted or in-wall. Whichever style you choose, you can learn how to install home theater speakers.

Heating, air conditioning, lighting, etc.

If the HVAC system in your home already reaches into the location you chose for your home theater, you might not need to do anything major. If not, you have to consider this.

Will you need to install AC or heating ducts? Your cinema room must be super comfy; temperature and humidity is a huge part of that.

You’ll also have to consider lighting. Your choice of light can’t be too bright or it’ll affect the picture quality on the screen. You should go for a lighting system you can control its brightness.

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Smart bulbs are a great option in this case. If you choose those, you can easily change the color or ambiance of the light in your home theater. Be sure the location is strategic so people can easily move around in the dimly lit room.

With the increasing popularity of smart homes, you might be able to control all the technologies that come together to make your home theater from one place.

If you decide to go the Internet of Things (IoT) way, you might be able to control the lights, thermostat, window blinds, etc. from your smartphone. You could also get a universal remote for the entire media unit. That way, you won’t have to juggle different remote controls to get things going.

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Now that we’ve gotten our plan mapped out and are clear to a large extent what we’ll need, let’s get to the execution part.

The Process of Building a Home Theater

With all the necessary information in place and you’ve got the tools and materials you’ll need. Let’s get on to work. When you’re done, you’ll have a stylish part of your home dedicated to entertainment.

Step 1: Frame and Insulate

If the location you chose is not a room but a section of a larger one, this is the first thing to do. You have to carve out an enclosed area for your home theater.

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The metal frame will demarcate the space and the insulation will serve as the wall. Use insulation with a rating of R30 for the wall and ceiling. If the space is upstairs, you’d want to insulate the floor too.

Pay serious attention to the insulation as you don’t want the sound from the movies disturbing people in other parts of the house. If you don’t contain the sound well enough, rest assured the cops will be knocking on your door soon.

Step 2: Lay out the wiring for the sound

Before you do this, you must have decided what direction the screen will be. This will help you know where to run the cables towards. The receiver and other input devices will be somewhere in the theater which is where the cable should be run towards.

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As we mentioned earlier, a 7.1 surround system is what you need for this kind of setup. So, mark the position for each of the speakers.

The central speaker will be above or below the screen. The front speakers will be on either side of the screen at ear height.

The side surround will be on the left and right wall of the theater about 2 feet above the viewer. As for the rear surround, they’ll be on the back wall in a similar position as the front speakers. The subwoofer can be on the floor below the screen too.  

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For the cables, be sure to use 14-gauge cables for the rear and side speakers and 16 gauge for the front and central speakers.

Step 3: Lay out the wiring for the video projector

If you’ll be hanging the projector on the ceiling, you’ll need a wire in the roof with one end where the projector will be.

One HDMI cable that will bring HD feed to the projector and a CAT5 that’ll let you access the projector with a radio frequency (RF) remote. With this, you won’t need to point the remote at the projector to operate it.

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The other end of the cables will extend to where the electronics hub will be. Make sure you set up wiring for other necessary video input as well as the internet for streaming.

Step 4: Pre-wire for lighting

A home theater system is best in low light. That doesn’t mean it has to be pitch black. You still need some ambient light. Not only for vision, but you can also use lights to add aesthetic value to the room too.

Highlight the positions you’d want lights and run electrical wiring to those spots. You can connect the lights to an RF dimmer so you can lower the brightness with the same remote you’ll use for the projector.

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If you’re going with the stadium seating style, you’d want to have lights on the steps to help people see better in dim lights. We suggest you use low-voltage lights for these so you can always leave them on.

If you want to go the smart home way, you can do the wiring for a smart bulb that you can control with voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You could also use your phone if you don’t want a smart speaker.

Step 5: Install the drywall

Hang drywall on the frame and soundproofing. Be sure to make passage holes for the electrical, audio, and video wiring to stick out from.

You can use specialty drywall which is great for keeping sound from going out or coming in. However, it can cost a bit.

Alternatively, you can use regular drywall accompanied with sound-dampening materials such as high-density vinyl. Paint the drywall as desired to get the theme you want.

Step 6: Set up your video and sound system

You can now hang the speakers, install the projector, and fix the screen. For a room 20 by 13 feet, a screen size of 120 inches is great for a cinematic effect.

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You can hide the surround speakers with acoustic panels that double as wall art. This will make things look even appealing. Take things a notch higher by using custom panels that you can print family pictures on or maybe your favorite poster.

All the input media, including the projector, can connect to the receiver. That way, the sound from them will output through the speakers. So, whatever is playing will have a surround sound effect.

Step 7: Install the seating

You can go with any seating type you want such as loveseats. However, if you want to complete the cinema feel, you can install cinema-style seats. Those that recline and have cup holders.

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For those who are remodeling a space for a home theater, you might need to install a platform to raise the seats at the back. The size of the room and how many seats you intend to install will determine the elevation you’ll create.

That’s it! At this point, you’re ready to launch your new home theater with your favorite movie or immersive gameplay. Whichever it is, you’re set to have an awesome time.

Conclusion

A home theater can be an incredible experience whether it’s family time or watching the Super Bowl with friends. Setting this up can cost a bit but you can rest assured it’s going to be worth it. There’s no limit to how much it can cost. It all depends on what you want the home theater to include and how you design it. With this step by step method, you’ll be able to create yours with an affordable budget.

We hope that you got what you came here for. If so, kindly share and let others benefit. They’ll love you for it. If you want more info like this, feel free to explore our site. See you in the next post. Thank you for your time.

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