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Design ideas for planning the perfect home theatre room


The whirlwind of last year meant that many of us wound up tuning into our televisions a lot more than normal. If that was you, there’s a fair chance you started evaluating your home set up while bingeing the latest hit TV shows and films on streaming services like Netflix and Stan. Just because you’re watching at home doesn’t mean you have to be glued to a small screen.

Instead, it’s as good as time as any to consider building a home theatre for your next dream home, says Metricon Homes’ senior interior designer Tracey Noonan. “Finding a space in your home for a designated theatre zone is becoming increasingly sought after,” she says. “With busy lifestyles, it’s a great space for families to unwind and spend time together, especially after 2020 hit us with lots of home time.”

While most people set up their home entertainment system in their living room, you won't achieve a high-quality audio-visual cinema experience until you create a room specifically for a big screen, amplifier and subwoofer.

Why opt for a theatre room?

Tracey says that adding a theatre room is a no-brainer for movie lovers, bringing a bit of that gold class luxury to your home. “That in-home cinema experience makes staying in feel like a treat,” she says. “The technology you can get these days is amazing, and it’s perfect for homebodies that prefer to catch up on the latest movies from their sofa.”

Your home theatre ensures that you never have to queue up for tickets again, plus popcorn and choc-tops are a whole lot cheaper when you get them from the supermarket. It’s also much easier to tell your own family to pipe down if they’re talking over all the good bits than it is with total strangers. You can still have the cinematic experience but from a more comfortable and relaxed environment.

I think it’s great to have a space in the home that can give you an escape of some kind,” Tracey says. “It also creates an experience the whole family can enjoy and share together.”

If you're a gamer, having a media room is a huge advantage. You'll never want to play video games on a small screen again once you play on a projector. It's a much more immersive experience, plus, if you own a Sony PlayStation 5, it'll double as a Blu-ray player

What do I need to think about when setting up a home cinema?

If you’re going to incorporate a theatre room into your home, it makes sense to invest in the right equipment. Tracey suggests, “All ultimate theatre rooms have amazing speakers, so fitting a great surround sound system will take your movie experience to the next level.”

If you're on a budget you can achieve optimum sound quality using a sound bar, which can be more affordable than surround sound systems, and easier to install.

It’s worth upsizing your screen too, to make the most of the home theatre experience. “When it comes to choosing the right TV screen, the bigger, the better,” Tracey says. “Obviously, you need to look at the size of your space and select a TV that suits the room. Projectors are also very popular, especially if you want that classic cinema experience.”

You’ll have to make a call between a projector or a large high-definition TV. It’s worth noting that TVs are backlit, which helps minimise interference from any other light sources. They’re straightforward to install too, compared to projectors which will require a little DIY. Where projectors might have the edge for you is in the size department. The only limit is your wall space. They tend to be more affordable, but you will have to replace lamps from time-to-time.

We think it's worth getting the best resolution screen available - 4K UHD with HDR, if it's within your budget.

What are the main considerations for the theatre room itself?

The actual theatre room set-up is just as important as getting the technology component right. And just like when building a new home, location is everything. “Ensuring you select a large enough sofa to accommodate the whole family is essential,” Tracey says of the seating arrangements in your own home cinema.

One of Tracey’s top tips is to consider soundproofing the walls. “That’s especially important if any of the walls adjoin bedrooms or other living areas,” she says. Because there’s only so much Marvel movie mayhem you can cope with if someone’s trying to sleep, or take time out to read.

She recommends installing acoustic batts. They are a lot like insulation batts but have a much higher density. So instead of conserving heat and keeping your home cooler, they are specifically designed to provide a high level of soundproofing. Your acoustics will be much better, and you'll be able to more closely replicate the cinema experience.

Windows also need to be considered. “A dark room is preferable for a home theatre, so installing block out blinds or drapes would be beneficial,” Tracey says. “It’s also a good idea to paint the walls of a theatre room in a dark colour.” That’s because there can be a lot of glare during bright scenes if your walls are too light, and that can be very distracting.

You should also take a look at your lighting choices. “Ensure that you have the option to dim your lights,” Tracey says. That way you can get into the mood, just like when the lights go down at a real cinema. But she also notes that it’s worth having some low-level lights on at all times. “You don’t want to be losing that popcorn on the sofa.”

Alternatively, if you have cabinetry in your cinema room, you can create ambient light using LED strip lighting, ensuring you can easily find the disc you're looking for, even in the dark.

And speaking of sofas, Tracey says seating is also a big deal if you want to achieve the dream home theatre. You need to be comfy if you’re settling in to watch a long movie or binge a new TV series, after all. “Choosing the right sofa, or going all out and opting for cinema-style recliners will be something to consider,” Tracey says.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a five-star home theatre for all your family to enjoy.