Home Theater Design Planning
Layout planning and interior design
Good home theater design is all about careful planning. You need to think about the space you have available, the equipment you want to fit in it, your budget, the mood you want to create and what you’re planning to do in the room. Ideally, home theater design should start before you buy your equipment. As our setup page explains, certain sizes of screen require you to sit a certain distance away. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the individual lines or pixels on the display. If you buy a 60-inch monster, you’ll need to sit about fifteen feet away to watch it, and that’s no good if your home theater room is ten feet by ten.
You can sit slightly nearer a high-definition television (HDTV) without compromising your experience of the picture quality, but you’ll still need to be at least twelve feet away from that 60-incher. So always take a note of your room’s dimensions before you start shopping for equipment.
Of course, before you can get measuring, you’ll need to make a decision about which room of your house will become the home theater zone. The basement, the garage or a spare bedroom? Our page on home theater rooms weighs up the pros and cons of different choices.
The planning for your home theater design should also take into account the nitty-gritty of installation. This means thinking about where all the wires are going to go. Wireless equipment cuts down on the number of wires to trip over, but there will still be plenty of cables and connections in your home theater. You’ll need to make a decision about whether to get the room re-wired by an electrician or simply go with the sockets you already have. If you really want to integrate your home theater, rewiring is the way to go, but this isn’t always possible on a limited budget.
Home theater design is a difficult – if rewarding – task, because of all the different skills involved.
You need to think aesthetically and practically at the same time, and have a gift for seeing potential problems as well as visualizing how to make the room look great. Not surprisingly, many people find that they could use a little outside help. You may not have the money to use a professional interior design service, but you might be able to afford interior design software, such as SmartDraw (www.smartdraw.com). Of course, a computer tool can’t do the thinking for you, but it will help you visualize the room and crystallize your thoughts.