Designing a Home Theater

Before I even moved into my new house in January of 2005 I was scouting out a place to build my home theater. Key factors in designing my home theater included sound isolation, a proper sized room with no windows, the proper ceiling height, and a place to store all my noisy hot equipment. Sound isolation was important since I tend to play my movies the way they are meant to be played - LOUD! By locating the theater in the basement which has 12" poured concrete walls I was able to dramatically cut down on sound proofing. As for size, I was hoping to build a theater that would seat 6-8 people comfortably keeping to a rectangular design for the best acoustics. I was also planning on building a riser for the second row of seats so a 8' ceiling height was critical. As things turned out, I had found just the perfect place in my basement to build this mid-sized theater; a small bumpout below my sunroom which was 14' x 14' which is open-ended on one side so I could extend the room to a comfortable 14' x 23' with extra room to build a 8' x 4' equipment room behind the theater. Now that I had found a place for my theater that meet my main objectives I was on to the next step; deciding on the layout and the features.

theater basement prior to construction
The future location of the theater below the sunroom

To make sure I didn't overlook anything in my planning, I decided to start scouring through all the home theater magazines I could find. When I saw a room or a feature that I liked I would cut the page out of the magazine and place it into a folder. For over 12 months I accumulated a mass of ideas and was finally able to come up with a list of things I wanted to do in my theater. I can't stress how important this was to accomplishing my overall design. This process allowed my to practically eliminate changes during the build. And as I write this, several after the build, I can safely say that if I could do it all over again I really would not change a thing.

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Fiber Optic Star Fields
Remote Control Integration
Home Theater PC's (HTPC)
High Definition...For Free?
Room Shape and Size
Speaker Configuration
Speaker Placement
DIY Guides