Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

The lengthy drive, expensive snacks, and noisy crowds can dampen the movie theater experience. So, what if we told you that you can enjoy the ultimate cinema experience in the comfort of your own home?

With countless streaming services to choose from, like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, you’ll appreciate having a comfortable and private home theater to watch all your favorite TV shows and movies in. We’re here to help you make it happen!

Learn How to Make a Movie Theater at Home

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about building the home theater of your dreams. From choosing the perfect location to decorating the space, we've got you covered.

Choose the Proper Location

Choosing the right location is crucial for creating the ultimate home theater experience. The space should be comfortable, inviting, and conducive to optimal sound and visual quality.

Think about a large space, such as a finished basement, a flex room, or a media room that is separated from the living spaces in your home.

Consider factors such as the size and shape of the room, the amount of natural light, and the proximity to other noisy areas of the home. Don't forget to think about the overall aesthetic of the room and how it will complement your home theater setup.

[empty media room]

Use Luxurious Wall Colors

Painting the walls in your home theater can elevate your viewing experience to the next level.

The right color can enhance the contrast of your screen and reduce glare, while also creating a sense of intimacy and luxury. Try to opt for darker shades that won’t bounce the reflection off the screen too much.

[painted home theater]

Soundproof the Space

Soundproofing your home theater is the key to achieving the ultimate cinematic experience. You can start by installing sound-absorbing materials such as acoustic panels, curtains, and carpets.

pro tip

Don't forget to seal any gaps or cracks in the walls, doors, and windows to prevent sound from leaking in or out.

Choose Between Projectors and TVs for Optimal Viewing

Whether you opt for a projector or a large screen TV, there are a few key factors to consider for your screen.

  1. Consider your room's size and the distance between the screen and seating area. You want to ensure that everyone has a clear view without straining their eyes.
  2. Determine the resolution and picture quality. A high-definition screen will provide a more immersive experience.
  3. Think about your budget and any additional features you may want, such as smart capabilities or 3D technology.

[screen in a home theater]

Set Up Surround Sound

An obvious advantage of the movie-going experience is the booming sound that emanates from the surround sound speakers—fully immersing you into new worlds and atmospheres that movies place you in.

However, you can recreate that exact experience at home with the installation of your own surround sound speakers!

You’ll want to choose the right speakers for your space and budget, then determine the optimal placement for each speaker, including the center channel, the front left and right speakers, the rear left and right speakers, and the subwoofer.

Make sure to measure and mark the placement before drilling holes for the speakers. Connect the speakers to a receiver or amplifier, and then connect the receiver to your TV or media player.

Finally, calibrate the system using a sound meter to ensure the perfect balance of sound so that you feel like you're right in the middle of the action!

[surround sound speakers]

Control the Lighting

When it comes to creating the perfect home theater experience, lighting is a crucial element that can make or break the ambiance.

Nothing will ruin a home theater experience more than a large glare coming in and covering half the screen. Light-bleed is the enemy of clear, vibrant images. Even flat screens, which are already brighter, can benefit from a dimmer room setting.

To combat this pesky problem, you'll want to invest in a projector with a high lumens rating if you can't control the ambient light in your space.

You can also manage the brightness by hanging some light-blocking curtains or shades. This way, you can keep your eyes and your audience comfortable and focused.

[lighting in a home theater]

Consider installing dimmer switches to adjust the brightness levels and create a cozy atmosphere. Avoid harsh overhead lighting and opt for soft, indirect lighting instead.

Wall sconces or floor lamps can provide just the right amount of illumination without distracting from the screen. 

Find the Perfect Seating

Creating the perfect home theater experience is all about the details, and one of the most important details is proper seating.

Whether you're watching the latest blockbuster or binge-watching your favorite TV show, you want to be comfortable and fully immersed.

That's why it's essential to choose seating that not only looks great but also provides the right level of support and comfort. From plush recliners to sleek leather sofas, there are plenty of options to choose from.

[seating in a home theater]

Elevate the Space With a Snack Bar or Wet Bar

No more overpaying for expensive popcorn and snacks from the theater. Transform your home theater into a luxurious entertainment space by adding a snack bar or wet bar!

Imagine sipping on a cold drink or shaking up a cocktail while enjoying your favorite movie or TV show. With a snack bar, you can indulge in your favorite treats without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.

A wet bar takes it up a notch, allowing you to impress your guests with your mixology skills. Whether you prefer a sweet snack, a savory snack, a classic martini, or a trendy craft beer, having a conveniently located snack bar or wet bar is the perfect way to elevate your home theater experience.

[seating in a home theater]

Decorate With Your Personal Style

Transform your home theater by decorating it with your favorite movies! Whether you're a die-hard Star Wars fan or prefer the classic charm of an old-time theater experience, there are endless possibilities to make your space truly unique.

Hang vintage movie posters on the walls, add themed throw pillows and blankets, and even incorporate movie-inspired lighting fixtures. For a classic theater vibe, add velvet curtains and a popcorn machine.

[decorations in a home theater]

With all the essentials in place, it's time to sit back, relax, and let the good times roll! Grab a big bowl of buttery popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready for an unforgettable evening in the comfort of your very own home theater.


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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