With life as busy and overloaded as it can be these days, more and more often people are making their homes the center of entertainment. They are forsaking going out to places in favor of staying in. Media rooms are an important component in this decision. While frequently this is created in a windowless room in the basement, I have also had a client consider transforming a dining room, used virtually never, into this most sought after space. Whatever your vision consider these points before embarking on your own media place.
Family Style or Theatre Style? The trend seems somewhat split on this, and the choice is yours. There is a wealth of well designed theatre style seating for the home on the market. These can come complete with full reclining, tilt front concealed cup holders, leather or fabric upholstery, and even massage motion. Or you can create another great room with sofas and chairs instead. To gain a true theatre like experience and allow everyone their own space, the individual chairs are typically the best way to go. They can be independent or ganged (attached in rows). What mood do you want?
Drape it or Open? It isn’t often I come across a client wanting a traditional theatrical drapery covering the screen, but depending on the size of the screen and the drama desired it can be a really elegant effect. If the room is used at all for any other functions (seating must be flexible in this case), it does a good job of concealing the large black hole of a screen.
Storage Open or Concealed? When you are designing your home theatre (do get a professional involved early if possible), don’t forget storage. You are bound to have a growing collection of DVD’s and likely videos still and these need to be kept convenient and preferably concealed. Often in locating the screen it is a good idea to consider building a cabinet around it to house not only the electronic components but also your tapes and disks.
Electronic Componentry. This is usually the reason a media room is created to start with, it is a fascination with technology! Whether you install a top end custom system, a mid-range Bose, or a Best Buys consider all the options. Establish important critical dimensions such as how many feet is optimal viewing from the size screen you are considering. Know how many and the best placement of speakers (wall or ceiling). Determine if additional insulation will be needed to avoid the rooms upstairs shaking and rolling from an intense action sequence! Don’t necessarily get the latest and alleged greatest, get the most appropriate for your space and best for your investment.
Movie Theme? Have some fun in this room with posters from favorite films. Don’t frame in traditional glass; the glare will make them unviewable. Instead opt for board mount and sealed, akin to a plaque. These are readily available online in a wide variety. Let everyone in the house pick a favorite film or two and commemorate them.
Food or Not? Half the fun in going to the movies is getting popcorn, obscenely sized sodas, and ridiculously expensive candy. Are you going to allow eating and drinking in the theatre room? If so, what about adding a corner popcorn cart, or ensuring there is room in the built-in for a small refrigerator. Make it easy, make it convenient.
Lights! Lights! Lights! Yes, you do want complete darkness (that pitch black, inky kind for viewing), but you also need flexible and dramatic lighting for the room in general. Definitely use dimmers for everything and likely a remote to enable you to control it all from the comfort of your recliner. Consider sconces for the perimeter walls, a few recessed lights, and possibly cabinet lighting flanking the screen. Don’t forget for drama you may want to add a row in front of the screen particularly if you do a drapery with your family crest, logo, or name of your home theatre!
Have fun! Invite friends over for special viewings. Plan the kid’s parties around the latest DVD release they have been clamoring for. If you have a home office, consider using the room for a presentation to clients.