How to turn your family room into a movie theater
Movie night is a terrific way to spend time together as a family. With some attention to design, sound, seating and lighting, you can create a movie theater experience right in your own home. Here's how.
Today's HDTVs and Blu-ray players offer vivid colors and details that rival those a movie theater can produce. Hang your TV at a height that isn't too high or too low. You should be able to look straight forward to view the TV without straining your neck up or looking down. If you want to go a step beyond a traditional TV, install an HDTV projector and screen.
Though most televisions have decent sound quality these days, a surround sound system makes viewers feel like they're right in the middle of the action. The main speakers should be at the front of the room, with the tweeters near ear level of seated viewers. If your floors are not carpeted, put down throw rugs to reduce the echo. All windows should have curtains or other coverings for the best sound quality and least glare.
A cozy sectional sofa with plenty of pillows can be the perfect choice for your family room theater. If you prefer more authentic accommodations, you can purchase reclining theater seating, complete with cupholders. The most important thing about seating is the distance from the TV. For optimal viewing, base this distance on the size of your television. Some experts recommend a viewing distance of two to three TV widths, but it depends on viewing angles and other factors. Use this viewing distance calculator to find the best placement for your TV and seating in your home movie theater room.
Advanced televisions can adjust the color on the screen to the lighting in the room, so you can always get the best picture possible. In general, for watching movies, darker is better. Equip your family room with dimmer switches to allow you to adjust the lighting easily. If you often watch movies in the daytime, consider blackout curtains to get your family room as dark as possible.
Decor & more
If you truly want a theater-like experience at home, hang movie posters around your family room. Buy a popcorn maker, large boxes of candy, icy sodas and anything else that will bring the theater atmosphere home. You can even make your own movie admission tickets for the kids or cook a meal that goes along with the movie theme.
No matter your budget or space, you can create a comfortable theater room that your whole family will enjoy.