Key Aspects of Home Theater Design

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By Mitchell Foster

6 Key Factors When Designing a Home Theater

Westchester County, NY- A home theater today can offer so much more than the local movie theater. Convenience, increased viewing options (streaming), and cheaper snacks are only some of the reasons why a home theater is more ideal than going out to see a movie. With advancements in residential projector video quality there is virtually no difference in viewing quality at a movie theater vs a home theater.

So, if you are interested in a home theater what are the key factors for design?

1 - Room Selection

It all starts with the room. The room is going to determine your seating capabilities, screen size, lighting, and audio needs. Ideally, you’re going to want to pick a room without any windows and with a higher ceiling if possible. Higher ceilings will allow the sound to travel further without it being reflected off the ceiling. 

2 - Screen Size

Screen size is going to be dependent on two factors. How big is the room and how close is the first row of seating  going to be? We want you to get the biggest screen possible to enjoy your theater, but we don’t want to install a screen so large that it’s not enjoyable because your front row is too close to the screen. Everyone knows the feeling of being late to the movies, having to sit in front row seats and waking up the next day with neck pains.

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3 - Projector

When it comes to projectors there’s a vast range in cost anywhere from roughly $1000 to $80,000 based on the quality of projector you’re looking at.  The biggest difference in price depends on the lumen output which essentially is the brightness of the picture.  If you have a room that can get close to pitch black, then a good quality projector for roughly $10,000 is going to provide an excellent picture. For a dark room you want a lumen output to be around 2000 lumens. 

Projector selection is a key decision but there’s one more thing to consider with the design of the home theater. Would you like to see the projector or not? If you do not, then the projector can be installed onto a lift that can have the projector drop from the ceiling so that when it is not in use it is hidden.

4 - Audio Needs

While the screen may be the focus of a home theater, the audio is where you really notice the difference between your regular viewing room and a theater. Any living room can have a big screen. The audio in a theater needs to blow you away. You want to not just see the movie; you want to feel it. If you’re watching an action movie with a helicopter in the scene then you want to be able to hear the chopper like you’re right there in the movie. To satisfy these audio needs you need carefully placed powerful speakers and amplifiers.

The size of the room is going to largely determine the number of speakers and amplifiers and where they’re going to be set up. Dynaudio provides great quality audio equipment that we love working with to provide you with that breathtaking sound you expect. 

5 - Lighting

Your home theater is going to need to have light control. If you decide to go with a room with windows, then motorized blackout shades would be wise, to limit natural light in the space. Controlling natural light is going to help with the picture quality, but you’re also going to want to implement a lighting system that is going to create the right ambiance for your viewing.

Dimmable LED lights are going to be essential, as you can set them to slowly dim down as the movie starts and then raise as the movie ends. Utilizing an automated control system will allow these lights to be programmed so they’re just a touch of your smart phone.

6 - Seating

Customized home theater seating from Salamander Designs is the perfect option to furnish your home theater. Salamander Designs has multiple different layouts and fabric options, you can even submit your own fabric for a truly custom theater seating option to fit your style and decor. 

As always you can email us @ or give us a call at (203) 838-5887 if you’re interested in learning more about your home theater options!