10 Home Theater Design Ideas, Renovation Tips, and Decor Examples

The only thing better than going to the cinema is to enjoy it from the comfort of your own home theater. If you’re ready to get involved, or are just starting to explore the process, these ten home theater design ideas, renovation tips, and decorating examples will help you create the cinematic viewing space of your dreams. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the presentation of home theaters that can match the reality below.


Free your basement

A basement is the perfect place to design a home theater because it is isolated and dark. This makes it easier to control the sound power and lighting.

The design tip: Try painting your walls a dark color and installing an extra large flat screen, as seen in this home theater designed by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design. Then bring seating that is reminiscent of classic plush movie theater seats but has a modern twist and can work in a variety of settings.


Find alternative locations

If you don’t have a basement or a large enough room, there are plenty of other ways to get a home theater working. Transform a guest room or a walk-in closet where enclosed nature minimizes natural light. Other options include converting a garden house, a pool house and even an unused garage.

The design tip: If you can’t make an entire room feel like a black box theater, opt for built-in seating for a bite-sized version of the experience, as seen in this Studio DB-designed corner.


Consider insulating your space

Once you’ve chosen the room that you want to use for a home theater, you’ll want to determine your renovation needs. Do you just want to decorate a media room inspired by a cinema or do you want to go all out? If it’s the latter, you can insulate your walls with drywall to create a sound barrier.

The design tip: Make it ultra push. Large suede love seats are perfect for romantic nights, and those lacquered tables in between are the perfect resting place for your popcorn bowl.


Optimize your cabling

Another important step is to check your wiring. You need the right wiring for lighting, sound and your projector and / or screen. This is also a good time to mention that you want to keep equipment out of sight and hide your wires with discreet tubing.

The design tip: If your home theater doesn’t have room for theater-style stadium seating, try a conversation pit. Designed by Elizabeth Roberts, this space feels like a private oasis suitable for large sightseeing parties thanks to the full carpeting and pressed flooring.


Check the sound options

When designing your sound system, you have to think a lot about how many speakers you will need and whether or not you want to install surround sound. Some design options also affect the sound quality. For example, a carpet will help contain noise and prevent echo.

The design tip: Plush carpets, low-level seating and refined marble coffee tables make this home theater perfect for watching and entertaining. A large section can fit more family and friends and the atmospheric color story makes it look like an underground lounge.


Choose your screen

There are tons of options and things to consider when choosing your screen. Most important are the dimensions of the room. If it’s flat, you don’t want to choose a screen that is too big. Make sure it comes with a Blu-ray player, satellite feed, and a game console.

The design tip: You can still create a media room that feels like a home theater even if you don’t have the perfect basement space (blackout curtains to the rescue). Note this cozy media room designed by Studio Lifestyle.


Set up control systems

Set up a control system such as a universal remote control, an iPad, an iPhone or an automation system for the whole house. This way you can control lights, sound and everything else you need in one place.

The design tip: This Catherine Kwong media room is perfect for cozy family movie nights, but also the perfect setting for entertainment, naps and casual gatherings.


Think of the bells and whistles

Would you like 3D features? Professional audio performance and high resolution picture? A hidden projector falling from the ceiling? There are plenty of little add-ons that can make your home theater a truly immersive experience.

The design tip: If you have plain white walls, a projector will be your best friend. You can watch your favorite films on a large “screen” without installing one on the walls of your living room, as seen in this apartment designed by Paula Guzman of Homepolish.


Think about layout

And now for the fun part … when you have all the technical elements worked out, it’s time to start thinking about the layout. Opt for cinema-style stadium seating with lounge chairs or love seats, or keep things level with one cut.

The design tip: The layout of this home theater designed by Studio Ashby is a nod to the real cinema experience, but with a nifty twist. The tiered Art Deco style seating is reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood, while the olive green seats and stools are fresh and contemporary.


Have fun with design

Last but not least, you can decorate your home theater. Pick a theme and run it whether you want to channel the setting of your favorite movie, make it nifty, or use a repetitive theme.

The design tip: If your media room is also a game room, choose dark wallpaper that will absorb light while viewing parties, but also speak to the room’s other uses with a whimsical print. Adding floor pillows is also a great call, as seen in this media room from Regan Baker Design.

Design editor
Hadley Mendelsohn is the design editor for House Beautiful, and when she’s not busy doing anything décor-related, you may find herself browsing, reading, or stumbling around in vintage stores because she’s likely lost her glasses again Has.

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