Traditionally, we tend to associate home theatres with larger houses. If there’s money left over in the building budget, then why not tack on that ‘bonus’ rumpus room? A home theatre room may be an ultimately wise investment for an avid movie-goer—especially considering the median price of movie tickets these days. The good news? You don’t actually need to be rolling in riches to have your own home theatre room. In fact, all you need is a small room and the reins to renovate. Here are nine useful ways you can transform that small spare room into a cinematic experience.
A thematic cinematic experience
Before we begin the transformation, we must decide on a blueprint. Choosing a theme will take the guesswork out of many of the choices to follow. Because we are working with a small room, ensure you’re making choices that will align with the room’s physical scope. Though there is a wealth of possibilities here, remember that the roof’s still the limit.
If you’re setting up your room with a specific purpose in mind, you may like to reflect this in the theme. For example, if you’re intending to use this space for kicking back with mates to watch sports, you may want to replicate your favourite sports bar. Adorn your walls with sporting memorabilia, or—space permitting—actually install a mini bar, complete with barstools. For a more traditional movie experience, use the fabrics or furniture most reminiscent of your last Gold Class sesh. If possible, install levelled or raised seating.
If you’d prefer to forgo a fancy theme, you can opt for a consistent colour scheme. Perhaps you’d like to use contemporary or more traditional styling to achieve your desired mood. Your room is your canvas.
This is a rather oversized example, but this sleek modern design really captures that movie-time feeling using vertical lines and exclusively grey tones (reminiscent of cinematic lighting).
T.V. or projector?
The other big decision to make is whether you’ll be viewing your media via a flat-screen or a projector. If you’re creating your home theatre room to upgrade your television-watching experience, then you likely have an existing T.V. already dedicated to this project. If you’re creating this room for an extra layer of viewing pleasure, the budget will likely dictate your next move here. Televisions are a lot more expensive than projectors. On the other hand, though projectors are cheaper, they contribute to a more authentic cinema experience. Moreover, televisions are not necessarily designed for close viewing, ergo higher resolution could be potentially overstimulating.
Optional: T.V. unit
If you decide to go with a T.V., you may need a unit to rest it on. Click here to check out some designer T.V. units. Remember to consider size, weight capacity and design.
Image: 1825 Interiors
Surround sound (or just regular sound…also cool)
Whether or not you invest in surround sound will depend on your budget. On the one hand, surround sound will give the full cinematic experience. If you’re planning to go the whole hog, we would recommend a 5.1- or 7.5-channel sound system. On the other, you’re not providing sound to a full-scale theatre. A budget-friendly alternative to surround sound is the 3.1 system, which still delivers high-quality dialogue and audio.
Sit on it
Earlier, we discussed the cinematic feeling that comes with levelled or raised seating. Circling back to this point, you may want to consider the specifics of your seating arrangements. How many people are you planning to accommodate in this home theatre? Would you consider customising the sizes of the seats, especially if you plan to host children on the regular? Do you want to install all the bells and whistles, such as cup holders, power controls, etc.? When making such decisions, ensure to factor in the appropriate amount of space between seats (46–61cm will do it—add extra for reclining seats), as well as the maximum and minimum distances between the seats and screen (multiply the screen’s horizontal length by two; multiply this by five to find the maximum distance).
If you’ve opted for the television option, your home theatre room could also be a secluded location for console gaming.
Brightness and dimness
Anyone who’s ever gone to multiple movie theatres will be able to cite a common theme among them: you can never tell what the weather’s like outside. Darkness is critical to the movie-going experience, as natural light will taint the viewing quality, disturbing the experience with extraneous reflections. The same principle applies to a home theatre room. Use thick curtains to block out natural light, and even when installing lighting, you want to keep it subtle. Sconce lighting is a great option as it will not flood the room with light, and it can be adjustable.
Throw in a bar
Earlier, we touched on the idea of installing a functional bar—especially if you’re going for a sporty aesthetic. Room (and budget) permitting, a bar complete with barstools provides additional seating, as well as a dedicated space for food and drink consumption. If you would prefer not to mix food with furniture, a bar may be a fun way to enforce this boundary.
For those of you who can’t part with your old-school VHSs and DVDs, you may wish to showcase your collection in a creative media display. This practical storage solution can double as an aesthetic touch, typically without creating clutter. Whether you still rotate your DVDs on the regular or enjoy the nineties/noughties nostalgia, a creative media display can add to the overarching theme of your small home theatre room.
There’s something eye-catching and oddly charming about a DVD collection.
Quirky finishing touches
To wrap it up, why not up the authenticity another notch? The cheapest way to do this is by adding movie posters to the walls—do this in such a way that caters to your overarching theme, of course. If you’re going for the sports bar look, why not add team jerseys or appropriate memorabilia to the wall? Family-friendly home theatre rooms may be covered in kids’ movie posters. Give the theatre a name and create a sign that displays this. Maybe make customised tickets.
Accent rugs are always a great addition to any room, drawing attention to the main features. You could add movie-themed pillows if your home theatre seating is on the domestic side. This could even be a great place to store your dartboard, so long there is a safe throwing distance. Whatever space is left—and whatever you think would add to your overall aesthetic—now would be your chance to throw it in. Just ensure not to crowd your small home theatre room with clutter!