The best way to enjoy a feature film is in a cinema environment, but more and more people are coming to realise that that doesn’t mean they have to leave the house. Having a dedicated cinema room, also referred to as a media room, is the ideal scenario for many movie fans, and it’s also an increasingly popular option with gamers.
Home cinema room designs
How you go about achieving the perfect room for watching films and gaming depends on the space you have available, and how much you are willing to invest in your new home cinema. It may simply be a question of getting a large screen, adding some ambient lighting and a few comfy seats. However, there are other options considerably more advanced than that, and if you are really serious about getting a home cinema, it can be a good idea to seek professional advice. Acoustics, surround sound systems, matching the screen’s size to the size of the room, home cinema seating and lighting are all areas that need specific attention. Here is our guide to building your own home cinema.
Ideally you want your home cinema installation to be in a room that is isolated from the rest of the activity in the house. It’s no good having home cinema speakers to die for if you are constantly being interrupted. Soundproofing is important of course, and it can also help to choose a room that does not need to be used for any other purpose, and is not a through-way to somewhere else. For these reasons a house extension or even a loft or garage conversion can be the perfect home cinema choice.
Type of screen
Your screen size needs to be in proportion with the size of the room. This is very important, as many people make the mistake of simply going for the largest screen available on the assumption that this alone will provide the perfect cinema look and feel. Most people choose not to sit on the front row at the cinema; this is because it can be uncomfortable looking at too large a screen for a long time. There is also an optimum distance between a projected image and the human eye for those grainy pixels to not be visible. For the real cinema experience, a flat screen with a projector is unbeatable, but if you only have a small amount of space available, it may be better to use a TV instead, and this can also have benefits for gaming. Most dedicated film fans agree that plasma TVs provide a more cinematic viewing experience than LCD, which is backlit and so performs better in rooms that have plenty of natural light.
Home cinema systems
The potential and sophistication of home entertainment systems is almost limitless. Whether you are looking for a HD projector or a wireless home cinema that also includes a centralised hi-fi system capable of playing music in every room in the house, this is an area that is worth investigating in detail, particularly if you have the funds to really go to town. The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) is an ideal first port of call for information and advice on home cinema systems. Their membership includes thousands installers and designers of home entertainment systems, who can advise you on the best options for your requirements.
Surround sound speakers
When it comes to home entertainment, the image isn’t everything; sound plays just as much an important role in making your viewing experience feel just like at the movies. Subwoofers, sound bars and speakers arranged perfectly so as to get the very best from the room’s acoustics are all part of the audio element. Again, when it comes to acoustics, a professional’s advice can make all the difference.
Cinema room seating
If you really want the authentic cinema experience, then a couple of rows of tiered movie seats is certainly one way to go. Add popcorn holders in the armrests and the look is complete. If you want something even more relaxing, however, there are plenty of options available. The Fabio Cinema Sofa from Darlings of Chelsea is an excellent example of luxury furniture that is both comfortable and stylish. With built-in storage, drinks holders and iPod speakers it is perfectly tailored to suit the movie-watching experience.
If your media room is really going to have that authentic cinema ambience, it is essential that the lighting is right. Make sure the room you use has either no windows, or windows that can be completely blacked out, and think carefully about how much light the room will need. Dimmer switches, floor lights and sidelights are all part of the mix in creating perfect night in at the movies. If you really want to make it as realistic as possible, you might also consider curtains that can be drawn back from the screen. Ideally, these and the lighting will be adjustable via remote control.