Building a Home Theatre: What to Consider

If you’re a film fan, then you might have dreamed of putting together a dedicated space for a pure cinematic experience at home. This can be done on a small budget, or an absolutely huge budget. Whatever your ambitions, there are a few points worth bearing in mind before you get started – and a few pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.

Pick the Right Room

Certain spaces aren’t a good fit for cinema. Your screen will need to be in the centre of the room, for example, rather than in a corner. Long loft spaces are often suitable, since they offer enough space for a projector to throw a sizeable image at distance and also put the cot of blinds in a place so the attire of the room would look perfect.

Think about soundproofing

If you’re going to be installing a subwoofer, then it’s worth thinking about how the sound is going to transmit into neighbouring rooms, and into neighbouring properties. Soundproofing the entire room will allow you to crank the volume without worrying about a knock at the door. The same applies to solid-core doors.

Installing velvet acoustic panels on the walls and ceiling, and a plush carpet, will help to break up reflections, and ensure a faithful audio experience. If you’re especially committed, you might get the space professionally analysed and treated.

Build a Proper Rack

A/V equipment tends to all be built to the same footprint, which means that it can be neatly stacked in the same cabinet (or rack-mounted in a standard 19” enclosure). Traditionally, these components are wedged underneath the television, but you might equally install them at the rear of the room. Enclosing everything in a rack will minimise the amount of space being consumed, and spare you from having the timing display on your amp staring at you while you’re trying to enjoy Lawrence of Arabia.

If you’re going to build your own rack, then make sure you leave enough room for air to circulate and heat to escape, and make sure that it’s sturdy enough to hold all of your equipment. It’s worth the effort, especially if you get your terminals and cable management right.


Dimming the ambient lighting will help you to enjoy the film, while still providing enough illumination that you can see where you’re going when you have to get up midway through. What’s more, it’ll provide that all-important cinematic experience.

Budget for your A/V equipment

A good rule of thumb is that you should take the amount that you’re spending on the display and spend it over again on the audio components. If you have several thousand pounds to play with, this might mean an Atmos setup with an enormous OLED tv at the centre. But just be aware that you’ll get diminishing returns the more you spend. The leap in your experience from a stereo setup to a 5.1 setup is going to be far larger than the leap to a 7.2 setup. Moreover, the size of the space will limit the scope for additional speakers.

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