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So, you have an extra small room in your home and you have ideas of using it as a home theater or media room. You’re ready to design and enjoy the full movie experience, but where do you begin?
For most homeowners, these home theater ideas are better executed with a little research. Without careful planning you could end up spending more than they should or end up with poor quality equipment.
Although spacious home theaters are a great spectacle for your guests, not every homeowner has the luxury of owning a 800 square foot room dedicated to watching movies. In reality, creating the ultimate cinematic experience in your home can be a challenge.
To begin, you should take your time to review all available options before selecting the most appropriate components. You’ll want to consider various aspects such as the seating preference and size, your sound requirements, picture size and quality.
Fortunately, we have compiled a detailed guide so you can set up the perfect home theater system in your own home without any hassle. In this article, we’ll discuss the best small room home theater ideas for any budget.
Proper seating is one of the most important factors behind an enjoyable cinematic experience. This is why you should first determine how many people you’d plan to host at a time.
You can vary the size, shape, and color of the seats in the home theater room depending on the audience and even consider adding custom seats for your kids. Each home theater seat may have different seat accessories such as power controls, inbuilt USB chargers, swivel trays, and cup holders.
Such accessories add to your cinematic experience and take it to the next level. That being said, on a budget there are some more basic options that will suit you just fine.
The seating arrangement, size of the room and the size of the screen all go hand-in-hand. Ask yourself the following:
- What’s the size of the room?
- What size screen will be ideal for the space provided?
- How far back from the screen should my seating be (see below)?
- How many seats will I be trying to install?
TV Distance Viewing Formula
Proper seating distance will play a significant role in your design process One simple way to find out the maximum and minimum distance between the seats and your home theater screen is to multiply the horizontal length of the screen by 2. To calculate the maximum suggested distance, you’ll simply multiply it by 5.
If you’re planning on having more than one row of seating, it’s best to plan for approximately 18 inches to 24 inches between them. Keep in mind that you’ll have to factor in reclining seats if applicable.
For further information about the ideal seating distance for a small home theater system, you check out this guide on calculating the screen size and seating distance for your home theater.
If you’re curious about finding the right seating arrangement for your home theater, there are plenty of options in the market. For an affordable option, I’d go with the Vitesse Gaming Recliner (Current Amazon Pricing found here). The only thing I’d say is that the armrests aren’t the best and there aren’t any cupholders.
If you budgeted for luxury and comfort, I’d probably take a look at the Octane Seating Home Theater Recliners (check them out here on Amazon). The reclining function and headrests are powered, which is awesome to have. Thankfully, there are cupholders which is probably a must for most people. The only thing I’d say is that when seated straight up the armrests seem a little short (in an effort to accommodate the cup holders probably).
The list doesn’t stop there though. Here is list of Amazon’s seating options specifically for home theaters.
Sound is another crucial aspect of a proper home theater system. Without a proper sound system, there is little point in designing a home theater. There are many types of sound systems available that are suited for a small home theater system.
Understand going into this that you get what you pay for when it comes to sound quality and, for most people, you’re going to want to spend a little more to achieve a quality home theater sound. That being said, it doesn’t take a lot of sound to fill a small room.
Generally, if you’re going to go through the effort of building a home theater you’ll want to use either a 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround system.
A 5.1 surround sound system leverages 6 different speakers to create an atmosphere of surround sound. This is composed of a front left, front right, rear left, rear right, front center channel speaker and subwoofer.
Similarly, 7.1 surround sound systems leverage 8 channels in total with two extra speakers improving the audio quality of the home theater system. For a better understanding of both these surround sound systems, you can refer to this link.
Some homeowners are running on a budget while making a home theater and may choose a 3.1 soundbar setup. Although a 3.1 system is not surround sound, it can deliver the desired results for many users without straining your pocket too much. Again, this is a small room so it should still fill your theater decently. Let me be clear in saying that many people will be plenty happy with a quality 3.1 sound setup.
Compared to other budget-friendly options a 3.1 channel soundbar gives greater value for money. You will enjoy better sound clarity with dialogue, since the system delivers a dialogue from its center channel speaker, ending in a more crisp and clear result. Along with the central speaker, there are left and right speakers supported with an external subwoofer, taking its tally to four speakers in total.
For a budget home theater setup, you might want to consider the Polk Audio Signa S2:
Understandably, the picture quality is one of, if not the most, important aspect of any home theater system. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose the option that offers you the greatest value for money. You’ll need to decide whether you’re going to go flat screen or projection.
While it’s natural to go for the options giving us the best picture quality, there are also other factors at play here. Projector screens are much more cost-efficient than flat screens provide by TVs.
A large projection screen bought with a budget-friendly projector is significantly cheaper than a large screen TV, especially if you want large screen options. You would need to spend much more buying an 80 inch flat-screen TV, while a 100″ projection screen can cost much less.
However, there are also some restrictions on projection screens. Typically, the best place to set up a projected screen is a room where there are no windows to disrupt the lighting of the room – ideally a basement or inner room of your house.
That said, a flat-screen TV has a considerable edge over projection screens in terms of picture quality. To understand the topic further, you can check out the detailed comparison listed by Digitial Trends.
Flat Screen Televisions
4K vs. 1080P TVs
There are many reasons why 4K HD TVs are preferred over previously popular 1080P in terms of picture quality. 4K technology allows users to watch videos and TV in ultra-high-definition.
This technology can show contrasting patterns in finer detail rendering hair, feathers, shadows, or other natural in perfect clarity. Similarly, thanks to enhanced screen resolution, 4K allows users to position themselves closer to a large screen compared to 1080P TVs. This makes it possible for users to sit twice as close to the TV and still render an optimal experience.
If price is an issue, you can always scale the size of the television for better quality. Consider browsing this link to find the most optimal 4k ultra-UD TV for your home theater.
A projector is the best option if you’re creating a home theater with a large screen under a budget. While this is cheaper to start with, you can get a great quality picture with a better projector. Which ever projector you decide to go with, there are some things to think about.
As discussed before, lighting is crucial for installing a home theater system with a projection screen. It’s important to select a room that is not too bright.
While most projectors of the past had bad quality under a bright environment, modern projectors have more powerful projections to cope with this problem. You can also explore a number of window treatments to help combat daylight.
Regardless, you should always pick a room where lighting is minimum to enjoy the best cinema experience.
Wall Space for the Screen
Another important factor for projector screens is the size of the wall in our room. Your wall needs to be of the perfect size so the screen can be adjusted properly. You may choose to mount either a manual, motorized drop-down or a fixed screen .
Size of the Room
The size of the room can limit your ability to deploy the home theater screen of your choosing. Therefore, it’s necessary to select the home theater screens depending on the size of your room.
What is throw distance?
To select the right projector, you must choose the optimal throw distance. The throw distance is the space measured from the screen to the lens of the projector. The optimal distance should be listed on the product description. You might also find this throw distance calculator helpful for many models.
If you want to buy a budget-friendly option for your home, you might consider QKK MiniPortable LCD Projector (found here on Amazon). It also provides a free projection screen. The optimal projection distance for this screen ranges from 3 to 13 feet and it can project anywhere from 40″ to 170″.
If you’re looking for an option with better picture quality, then YABER Native 1080P Projector (found here on Amazon) is the best. It offers support for 4K UHD, making it ideal for high-definition movies. The recommended projection distance between 5 to 10 feet and the picture size can be adjusted from a 45″ to 300″ screen.
Making a home theater should be well thought out and carefully planned. There are options for any budget and the fruits of your labor can be well worth it.
Hopefully, this article provides you with the needed information to jump-start your search for the perfect home theater system and enjoy the cinematic experience you always wanted.