How to Arrange a Home Theater: All You Have to Know (P.1)
So, you have a home theater in mind, and this arouses many questions in your head. How to choose the equipment right? What budget should you have in mind? Do you have to look for the centre of the tone cluster? Is it really necessary to cover the walls with foam? Let’s find the answers to these questions from an audio-guru, a DJ and a smart home designer.
Home theaters should be referred to as “apartment theaters”, according to the designer. Modestly-priced integrated home theater packages, the so-called home theaters in a box (HTIB), have become so widespread nowadays that this resulted into some kind of devaluation of the high ideal of private, elitist cinema experience in private homes. However, this fortunately wasn’t accompanied by the loss of acoustic and visual feelings like in a genuine movie.
Actually, this fact only plays into the hands of architects and interior designers, since they would always prefer audio systems to have as little impact on the general and stylistic concepts of residential spaces as possible. So, a piece of advice that a qualified designer has for those, who strive for stunning feelings from watching movies and concerts at home, but are not willing to re-make the entire apartment for this purpose, is as follows: pay special attention to modern wireless solutions or high-quality sound bars. And you should be informed that big dimensions of a home cinema system do not necessarily mean high quality of sound.
Save your neighbors from the noise
As soon as you’re done with the technical aspect of this issue, you should make sure your efforts have not been in vain. Even the best sound coming from a super-quality audio system may be killed by reverberation, i.e. the reflection of the sound from firm surfaces in the room. Also, you should keep your neighbors’ nerves in mind: they are not obliged to participate in your film showings, and hence you must protect their right for privacy. Both of the problems – reverberation and neighbors – can be solved by wall and ceiling panels made from felt-related materials. They are available in many forms, including tiles with fanciful flexible surface, rolls of different colors and shades, and ceiling modules. As for the floor, it would be worth covering it with a good high-pile rug.
Lighting means so much
The second important aspect referring to home cinemas is the lighting system. It would be nice if you initially envisage a chance to isolate the daylight completely, for instance, by complementing conventional drapery or Venetian blinds with blackout curtains. As for the artificial lighting, it also has to be properly zoned. Create a few levels of lighting (this rule is actually relevant to any room, not just home theaters): main light, accent lights and background lights.
The main lighting source would allow for using the room for any purpose during the hours of darkness. The accent lighting – a floor lamp or track lights, for example – would accentuate definite zones for working or reading or attract the attention to a piece of wall art without needing to turn on the bright central light. But when it comes to home theaters, the most important is the background lighting, since it’s the ideal companion for a movie showing. On the one hand, it doesn’t prevent one from perceiving the action on the screen, and on the other hand, allows for moving around the room without the risk of bumping into the furniture. The key thing about this kind of light is that it should be out of your sight, i.e. it mustn’t be on one plane with the screen and mustn’t be reflected in it. It’s a matter of your choice: you may either opt for an LED band giving warm light or a light art object. The most progressive solution is to connect all the groups of lamps and curtains to a smart home system and change lighting scenarios depending on your needs from a smartphone or tablet.
How to choose the right equipment for a home theater and how to test your choice? Read about this in Part 2.