There’s a lot that goes into media room design, which is why so many people turn to architects to design this space for them.
Media room design mistakes are disappointingly common and as a result, outcomes tend to be mixed at best. Go back a decade or even less and home theatres were all the rage. However, with changing technologies and the desire to maximise usable space in the home, dedicated home theatres are now far less common.
More common today are multi-purpose media rooms that do most of what a home theatre does, but offers a greater variety of functions beyond simply watching movies. Home theatres/media rooms are one of the most misunderstood rooms in any home. But it doesn’t need to be that way if you are working with a skilled architect and you personally have a good grasp of the basics of home theatre design.
The first thing you need to decide on is whether to have a dedicated home theatre or incorporate it into more of a multi-function room. For many people, a home theatre is simply a large wall mounted flat screen television and surround sound system in a well-lit room that also doubles for video games and watching television. However, others see a home theatre as a dedicated space where light is completely controlled, with a large projector screen mounted to the wall with a data projector mounted to the ceiling.
Of course, both can be classed as home theatres and the type you choose will depend entirely on your needs and the space you have available.
If you have the room and enjoy watching movies with thumping surround sound and cinematic vibrations, then a dedicated space might work best for you. However, if you feel it would seldom be used, then having a media room design that is adaptive and multi-functional might be a better option.
Getting cinema-quality sound can be an expensive exercise. How many speakers you have, the type of speakers and where they are placed will often come down to a) your budget and b) your family and neighbours. For example, if your neighbours’ house is close to your wall then you either need to get some soundproofing – which can affect your home theatres audio performance – or you need to go with a quieter option.
The size of the room is important. How many seats can you fit in? How far from the screen will they be? Nobody wants to sit so close to the screen that they have to strain their necks back to see it. The size of your room and closeness of your seating will ultimately dictate your ideal screen size.
You also need to consider what type of screen to go with. Do you go with a big screen television or a data projector and screen option? Having a data projector might seem a good idea on the surface, but if the quality is on the cheaper side you might be better to go with a large wall mounted television instead.
What type of seating are you going to have? Recliners are a great option, but may not suit the other uses you might have in mind for a multi-purpose space. Whatever your choice they need to be comfortable to allow you to enjoy longer movies without distraction.
There are many factors to consider in creating the ultimate media room design. It’s more common today for people to create multipurpose media rooms than it is to have a dedicated home cinema. It’s far more practical as the space can be used more frequently for functions such as a:
Use the rear of the room as a children’s playroom for rainy days, complete with a full-size chalkboard wall and plenty of beanbags. You don’t want to be tripping over toys all the time so think about factoring in plenty of toy storage options.
Seems a shame for that big screen to be going to waste when you could be playing games on it through your PlayStation or Xbox. Home theatres can make great video game rooms and you can even go as far as throwing in a couple of pinball machines along the wall.
Chances are your home theatre will have some of the most comfortable seating in the house and be one of the rooms that is least affected by glare on screens. This can make it perfect for sitting around surfing the web on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. To further encourage this activity in this room consider arranging power points and spare chargers close to seating. Also keep in mind that as technology advances and tablets become more powerful, things like computers and laptops will at some point in the near future become obsolete.
Your sensational sound system and any soundproofing is just the thing for listing to your favourite music, but you might also be able to use the room for anyone in the family that is learning an instrument. This will come in particularly handy if you have a budding drummer on your hands.