Create the Perfect Home Theater Room with this Essential Checklist

There’s a lot that goes into undertaking a project like building a media room dedicated to movie-watching. You can’t just pick out audiovisual equipment and home theater seating and call it a day. Well, you could, but your movie room won’t turn out nearly as cool as it could have been.  

Like any good DIY project where power tools and electrical work is involved, planning things out carefully is more than half the battle. We’ve got a comprehensive guide to creating a dedicated media room, which is a great idea to read next. But first, here are the bones of the whole operation, from stapes to femurs:

The Fundamentals of Constructing a Home Movie Theater

Shape and size of the room

Where your new home theater will be affects every part of the planning and construction process. A basement media room might need framed out before you can begin. A spare bedroom with a bay window might limit possible seating and audiovisual layouts in your movie room. 

The easiest way to start is from scratch; then you can design any shape and size of room you’d want for a home theater. But that also includes many extra costs, construction and time. You might even have to get permits for your home addition, depending on where you live.

Don’t worry; even really narrow rooms, wide and shallow rooms, rooms with low ceilings, and small rooms can be made into a great mini movie theater. You’ve just got to have the right seating layout ideas and a creative audiovisual and wiring setup.

Projector and screen setup

Plan your layout. Which wall will have the screen? How far away can you mount the projector? What’s the ceiling height? Where is the best portion of the viewing cone and what seating layout would get the most seats without crowding the room or placing seats at oblique angles? These are all questions you need to sketch out before you pick up a tool.

Helpful tip: When dealing with home theater geometry like this, it’s helpful to visualize the plan by placing painter’s tape on the floor to get a feel of the space.

Sound system arrangement

The way you set up your audio equipment will largely be defined by the shape and size of the room. You want enough speakers for the movies to be immersive, but not so much sound in the room that it gets muddied. You also want all the seats to experience the sound the same. 

There’s yet more math and measuring involved in this step, too, so get yourself another roll of painter’s tape; this is going to get complicated for a minute.

Insulation and wiring

There are types of insulation that dampen sound; a favorite that also regulates temperature effectively is spray foam. Easy to do yourself, starting with soundproofing inside the walls is going to reduce the number of visible things you’ll need to do to dampen sound outside the walls. You can also find reinforced drywall that eliminates sound transfer.

But first – install the wiring for everything – sound, projector, lights, and any other equipment. When you’re done, you can spray foam and drywall knowing that all you’ve got to do after is hook everything up and go. This is a step to really hone in on if your cinema room is small. One tip is outlets, outlets, outlets. That way cords can sit unnoticed. Another is to do the majority of your system in-wall, both wiring and speakers, to save on space.

Overhead lighting

Can lights are where it’s at in any home theater. It gives that real movie theater feel and takes up zero overhead space. Choose LED can lights that are bluetooth enabled and never leave that comfortable movie recliner to switch the lighting again. Don’t forget the dimmers!

Sound and light control

Where you build your media room matters. Are there windows or other doors that might let in light and sound? How much sound intrusion is coming from the rest of the house? This step is where you choose your paint, flooring, window treatments, and any additional sound dampeners you may need.

Choose a darker paint color in flat so it doesn’t reflect light. Choose a flooring that won’t bounce sound. Everyone loves a nice hardwood floor, but in a home theater room, all a hardwood floor will do it mess up your movie-watching by ricocheting light and sound all over the place. This is one time that carpet is the right flooring solution. Choose a dark color and thick, plush cushioning for underneath to maximize comfort and sound absorption.

And then you’ve got windows and additional sound control to do. Acoustic panels are a great way to absorb sound and add a modern architectural feature to your private little theater. Thick, heavy velvet curtains are also a great sound-dampening, blackout solution, and they lend that classic, authentic movie theater look.

This part of the process is half logistics, half design. When you start getting to the fun stuff like picking out paint and flooring, you know you’re close to the day you can plop down in one of your theater-style recliners and watch a movie in your new media room.

Seating design and layout

Time for furniture! You already determined the best zones for seating in the home theater; now you get to customize the design and layout of the furniture you want in the movie room. You can choose classic rows of elevated stadium-style seating, which is easier than you’d think to do yourself. Or maybe you want a couple luxurious couches with all the features of theater recliners. Do you want a curved row of 4 or 6 recliners? If you choose wall-hugging models of movie chairs, you might be able to get more seats in than you think. It’s all up to you. 

It’s probably time to get the painter’s tape out again; you know – since we covered it with carpet.

The seating you put in your home theater largely determines the design of the room. Choose a model of seating that suits you, whether it’s white leather on a seat model with simple, clean lines, or brown leather upholstery on a seat model that’s oversized and plush with diamond quilting. You could even choose fabric for your media room furniture instead of leather, or vegan leather for a sustainable choice that doesn’t include animal products but give the same luxury look as real leather. Like we said, design is the fun part, and it also means you’re almost done!

Installations and final touches

While you wait for the custom theater furniture you ordered to arrive, install all your audiovisual equipment and anything else you want in your room, like a little popcorn machine or a wine fridge. And when the pieces you chose for your private theater seating arrive at your door, you’ve just got a couple hours’ worth of work left to do by setting up the furniture. And that’s it. It’s a process, that’s for sure.

What does it Cost to Undertake a Project like Building a Home Theater Room?

Cost is a question everyone’s got to confront when considering a media room makeover. Whether you do all the legwork yourself or contract it out; it’s a significant cost. The average is around $30000, with a range of $10000 – $50000. We don’t think it necessarily has to be that expensive; for instance, basement home theater rooms often require less work. But the key is finding affordable home theater seating and audiovisual equipment that is just as high quality as the more expensive stuff. 

Choose a company that specializes in media room and home cinema furniture and offers budget-friendly home theater seating with top grain leather, powered reclining and luxury finishes. And you can rest easy that this new self-care and entertainment space was worth it, as home theater projects have a solid 65%+ return. More importantly, they give your household a space that’s just for fun and quality time; what’s better than that?

Now you’ve just got to decide on the first movie that will christen your new home theater!