How to Create the Right Home Theater Environment

For anyone who loves the movies, a home theater can be a perfect place to immerse in a private cinematic experience. After all, watching movies at home offers a more convenient and much better viewing experience compared to public movie houses.


Through home theater installation, a homeowner can enjoy larger-than-life graphics and amazing sound quality right in the comfort of his or her own home.

For those planning to create a personal movie room, here are vital factors to consider for a successful home theater setup:

1. Budget

A realistic budget must be predetermined first to avoid splurging on things that are not even necessary, or ending up with a bloated budget.

Once the budget is set, the next thing to do is to decide on allocation. The homeowner should also prioritise his or her budget according to his or her home theater requirements.

If sound is more important for the home theater owner, more should be invested in speakers and sound control products. But if having the best and biggest screen is more vital, investing heavily in a projector and TV makes sense.

During budget setting, the owner should already have a good idea of how much he or she would spend on chairs, equipment, decor, and acoustic panels.

2. Room size and shape

How big should a home theater be?

There’s more size freedom if the designated room is yet to be built or home construction is still ongoing. Consulting a home theater professional about the right dimensions is advised since they would know how to maximise the available space while taking into consideration the technical requirements of a home theater.

Ideally, however, a rectangular shape is the best shape to have for a home theater.

As much as possible, avoid having a square-shaped room as it has a greater tendency to create standing audio waves. The removal of these standing waves is what sound-reduction applications are trying to achieve, and should be a main consideration in home theater construction.

3. Equipment

After the budget allocation and room dimension are set, the next thing to consider is the equipment for the home theater.

Home theater owners need to take note of the following when buying A/V equipment:

  • Visual - An optimal viewing distance is at 1.5 times the screen’s diagonal length. A large room will need a wider screen for better viewing. If the room isn’t long enough, don’t invest in a wide screen as there’s a higher chance that the seating will end up too close to the screen.
  • Audio - For surround sound, the owner should consider buying in-wall or ceiling speakers. Usually, a home theater features a 5.1 surround sound which means there are five full-range speakers and one low-range specialist. The speakers should ideally be placed in columns or hidden behind acoustic panels to avoid interfering with the theater design concept.

4. Design or theme

To be truly personalised, a home theater should have some sort of theme and a colour scheme. There are thousands of theater images available on the Internet for inspiration.

It may be designed to look like a mini replica of an actual movie house, or have a specific theme like Star Wars or Flintstones, or something reminiscent of a 50’s diner, or a saloon typical of the American Wild West.


Most home theaters use soft fabrics and other materials to absorb sound. Windows need to be avoided as they can contribute to extraneous noise. Glass also has an acoustically reflective surface, so the lesser glass in a home theater, the better.

Other design considerations include:

  • Wall coverings – Acoustic wall materials create the perfect sound environment as well as improve the auditory experience for viewers. Wall coverings should come in darker tones as anything detailed and bright can reflect on the screen and warp colours.
  • Furnishings – Specialised home theater sets that can be joined and include space for food and drinks work best. Reclining suites are comfortable choices, and there should be enough space behind each row of seats for minimum interruption especially when some members of the audience need to move or go out.
  • Floor Coverings – Standing sound waves are produced between parallel hard surfaces so a thick, luxurious carpet is a great choice for a home theater as it best absorbs sound. The floor and ceiling are huge culprits for distortion, so adding floor coverings to eliminate this occurrence is a must.
  • Walls – Walls must be painted as dark as possible since bright colours reflect light which can be distracting on the screen. Semi-gloss or gloss sheens are not recommended; flat-paint or reflection-fighting eggshell are better options. Tans, olive, and neutral browns are optimal shades to choose as stronger colours like red and blue may affect the colours on the screen.

Creating the perfect home theater doesn’t have to break the bank.

If existing A/V equipment is still functional, it can be reused and integrated into the home theater plan. Cost savings on such equipment can then be budgeted for other home theater requirements.

For homeowners planning on building their home theater, speaking to a professional home theater installer early on will work to maximise the space and budget available in the best way possible.