Movie Marathon: How to Create a DIY Home Theatre

Posted by Ashley Neal on Dec 02, 2020

Movie Marathon: How to Create a DIY Home Theatre

Going to the movies has always been a classic move for a date night or a family outing. But with the increasing prices of movie tickets at peak hours, you may want to consider other options.

A home theatre is an investment that pays back in over and over. It is a luxurious addition to any large home with extra space and provides great home entertainment opportunities.

Creating a DIY home theatre isn't as expensive or high tech as it sounds- although you can spend extra if you want. Read on to learn how to build a home theatre.

Choose a Space

The ideal dimensions for a DIY home theatre are 20 ft. long by 13 ft. wide and quite isolated from the rest of your house. Another good option is to convert a 12 by 12 ft. spare bedroom into a home theatre.

You may want to dedicate your home theatre room solely to watching videos. Since you won't want the theatre sounds to disturb people, you may want to build a theatre wing off the family room.  

Keep in mind that by sharing home theatre space with other activities, you lessen the cinematic experience. For example, when you share space with the kitchen, smells and cooking sounds invade. If it's shared with the living room, kids play around and light can be difficult to control.

Make the Room Dark

To really get immersed in your favourite movie, you'll want to make your movie room as dark as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by installing blackout curtains or shades. A typical blackout curtain will cost you very little money, it gets the job done and gets the desired look.

Move the home theatre setup far away from your window. Windows are a double problem─ they allow light in that can cause reflections on your TV screen and reflect sound causing sound distortion. Fixing this will add the extra layer of thrill to your scary movie night.

Also, use custom-made shades that are a bit more elegant and perfectly fit your window opening. Another way to optimize the lighting in your DIY theatre is with a set of soundproof curtains. These are thick canvas curtains that not only cover the opening of your window but also act as ambient noise filtering headphones.

TV Screen or Projector?

What's the right movie screen for a blockbuster Saturday night? Slim, modern TVs are typically easy to mount on walls. But if you don't have a spare blank wall, you should look for a freestanding screen.

If you want a movie screen larger than 100 inches, then you should consider a projector. Entry and mid-range projectors produce less heat and aren't as noisy as some high-end projectors. If you get yourself a high-end projector, you may want to mount it in the ceiling and vent the heat outside.

You'll also need to get the lighting in the room correct, so use window dressings that block light effectively. It's advisable to place speakers behind the screen for the best audio. You may need to purchase the more expensive acoustic transparent screen.

Wall Surface

Concrete block or concrete is simply a no. Regular drywall is a good option for home theatre walls but not so great for acoustics. To fix this, consider adding lightweight like inexpensive acoustic boards.

You can then hire a carpet installer to cover your walls with one of those affordable carpets you see in many movie theatres. Remember, it's ideal to complete your walls before starting on the floor to avoid ruining the floor's carpet.

Wall Painting

Paint the walls of your home theatre dark. Bright colours reflect light that can be distracting when watching brightly lit scenes. Then again, you don't want to use colours that are too dark, like black.

According to colour psychology, colours that are too dark can be depressing. Since you don't want to see the people watching movies looking down and sleepy, go with tans, olives and neutral browns. Bolder colours like blue and red might not be the best pick either because they produce an odd cast to any ambient light, affecting the screen's colours.

Choosing and Placing Speakers

How you place your speakers can make or break your watching experience. It would be best if you considered installing a proper surround setup of five, seven and nine satellite speakers with a quality subwoofer for complete absorption.

Position the centre speaker underneath (but very close to) the projector screen or TV, as this is where dialogue originates. Then place right and left anterior speakers either side of the screen or TV preferably at the corner of the room.

Place the rear speakers directly opposite the front speakers behind you and round-off a 5.1 setup. A 7.1 channel system adds side speakers and a 9.1 setup adds front height speakers. You can place the subwoofer anywhere you see fit as long as the cables allow.

Make It Look like the Real Thing

What's your idea of a home cinema? It's the popcorn maker, tiered seating, sconce lights and the classic red velvet walls for some people. For another group of people, it's a considerably scaled-down version of this.

Older commercial theatres feature slanted floors, while contemporary ones have steeply tiered, elaborate seating. Diy home theatre seating is quite simple to build with two-by-eight boards set on edge and a framework of joists of two-by-six. The top is made of carpeted, half-inch interior grade plywood.

Consider Aesthetics

Planning the theatre set up early and in detail allows you to take the steps necessary to create something appealing. For instance, you can decide on how to conceal your cabling, speakers and projector and other accessories right off the start.

You can lower expenses by buying wireless speakers and not wired ones or go for a better quality sound-bar. Also, consider matching colours for several items and adding pieces of art.

Considering a DIY Home Theatre?

You don't need to break the bank to create a fully functioning home cinema and peace of mind. A DIY home theatre is an amazing choice for family movie nights, and it's safe for your children and their friends. 

If you're looking to start your project soon and bring your vision to life, browse our DIY tools section.