early start for a home theater
May 2, 2011 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Building a house and want a home theater. Need input on dimensions, furniture, etc. from those who have done it

Currently we are in the planning stages of the house. The contractor has given us a room that's 13.5' x 21'. It has box frame windows so we can shut out all the light.

I plan on a projector, around 110". So I think the length of the room is ok. I'm wondering about the width. We don't want to go with the standard theater seating of individual chairs only; thinking of putting in a sofa. Our current sectional is 11.5' so it wouldn't fit in a 13.5' room...

Looking for suggestions on seating, and any other tips we can get.


But what things should I keep
posted by arniec to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Spend some quality time in the AVS Forums and you will be enlightened. Here are their Home Theater Construction subforums.
posted by troyer at 11:09 AM on May 2, 2011

So I think the length of the room is ok.

Only way to know is to run your projector through a lens calculator. You don't want to spend thousands and find out the picture is too big or small for the screen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on May 2, 2011

That AVS forum linked by troyer is what I wish I had read before we built our house. It'll take some patience to read through, but it's good stuff.

Some advice based on what I messed up:

If you want your projector on a UPS, you either need a place to put it up there on the ceiling or you need to run cable down to where the UPS is. I didn't even consider the UPS and just had them put an outlet in the ceiling (along with a conduit for running the other cabling to the equipment area).

Sound insulation is not easy. Two layers of drywall with a channel thing in between is standard. Your contractor may not really be prepared to work with this sort of thing or his normal sub may not do it. Doors/vents/can lights and anything else cut through may end up being the weakest link in your sound insulation scheme.

If you know where you are hanging things before they drywall, have your contractor put some bracing in so it is easier to hang things where you want them without having to find studs. Take ample pictures before the drywall goes up so you know where things go.

If you're having someone run cable/conduit for your system, make sure they know what they are supposed to do and what they aren't. The sub who was running low voltage wiring for us was a twit and he cut holes for in wall speakers in our expensive sound insulated fancy pants drywall. Needless to say I wasn't very happy.

I'm not expert, but 110" screen seems big for that room unless you're sitting on the back wall.

Our room is only 12' wide and just has double doors in the back wall. It makes it really hard to put a full size sofa anywhere but on a side wall where it isn't comfortable to watch things. I wish I had another 4'-6' feet or had the door in a better place.
posted by cmm at 11:33 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's an incredibly detailed spreadsheet on room length, width, seating, etc. based on the size of your screen. This is from one of the room guides from the AVSForum. The guide assumes individual seating, but you can take off sectionals based on what it gives you.
posted by geoff. at 12:32 PM on May 2, 2011

Also, if you have money in your budget, I think hiring one of the people in the "Pro Theater Layout Service" to do drawings for you would be a huge boon.
posted by geoff. at 12:37 PM on May 2, 2011

Agreed w/ the AVS forums comment. You'll get more help on anything technical than you would anywhere else. Just make sure you do a search of the forums before you start a new post :)

Get all you cables from monoprice.com!! Also make sure you get them long enough.

Make sure the projector you get has a useful zoom function and keystone correction. As cheap as many are now I'd make sure it was 1080p and 3D ready. I love the Optoma HD20.

In our projector room we built stadium seating. Quite easy and cheap w/ some 2x4's and some plywood. Cover it with carpet or fabric if you want to class it up some. Best suggestion is to keep it modest, don't build it up too high. You we realized it didn't have to be much more than a 18" to see over the people in front of you. Of course this also depends on the height of the screen.

110" is doable but dependent on many factors: darkness of the room, reflective screen vs just a white wall or cloth, how many lumens the projector has. I've learned that people on AVS forums are much more picky than the average user when it comes to quality and that it usually doesn't have to be as dark as they say in order to ensure a decent picture.
posted by no bueno at 1:57 PM on May 2, 2011

Don't put your lights on dimmers! Just get lower-wattage lighting and avoid the noise that dimmers generate.
posted by bink at 9:36 PM on May 2, 2011

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