Home cinemas were once a luxury only to be enjoyed by the uber-wealthy with multi million-pound homes. However, creating your own private screening room is within surprisingly easy reach these days. The dream, of course, would be to have a dedicated room complete with surround sound speakers and a big screen that fills an entire wall.
While the confines of reality might not be able to quite match that, it is possible to carve out room for a cinema space in even the most multipurpose of rooms.
If you are already itching at the thought of hosting your own Oscars screening party (hopefully with less slapping involved), what will you need? Read on for our quick start guide to creating your very own home cinema.
Before we get to the audio visual system set up, lets take a look at one of the most enjoyable parts of the cinema experience; comfy seating!
While you can use a standard sofa, where would the fun be in that!? We love the look of luxury cinema seating plus the ability to cuddle up beside someone, which makes us fans of the Stressless range; their two-seater options offer the perfect combination of both.
Going to the cinema gives such a good viewing experience because the seats are positioned so you can hear the sound as it is meant to be heard. What this translates to in your home setup is avoiding two things-
- Don’t put your chairs against the wall. Sound needs to bounce off the walls to be most effective; placing your chair or sofa against the wall baffles that ability.
- Avoid the dead centre of the room. The middle of the room is where all the sounds will meet. Sitting there, you will effectively cancel out all that surround sound goodness.
As a good rule of thumb, you will want to place your seat a third of the way from the back wall, but the feasibility of this will obviously depend on your room.
Possibly the most important part of the cinema; how will you watch the latest flicks and all-time classic movies? Some cinephiles are adamant that the best way to watch is via a projector and screen. However, it is not your only option. As the size of flat-screen TVs increases, they become a much more viable alternative to a traditional screen. The major benefit of using a TV as your screen is that you won’t need a projector, making it a much more plug and play friendly option.
If the only way to watch your favourite films is via a projector, don’t fret, you have plenty of options. The easiest and cheapest option is to simply use a blank wall as a screen. You will want to make sure the wall in question is relatively smooth. Projector screen paint will give you a smooth finish that reflects light the same way a screen does. However, if you don’t want to buy specialist paint, aim to paint the wall light grey. It will give a better result than simple white.
Using a wall or even projecting on a bed sheet are great budget options, but if you want a wrinkle-free experience, then a proper screen is definitely the way to go. If you don’t have a dedicated home movie room, then a drop-down screen mounted to the ceiling is the ideal trade-off between high-quality viewing and practicality, especially for a multipurpose room.
Now that you have something to watch the film on, you will need to find a way to get it onto the screen!
Similarly to a flat screen TV, the cost of a projector has been falling to the point where you can now find decent home projectors for under £50. If you want quality and the ability to watch in 4K, the cheapest options are more likely going to be around £1,000, with high end projectors easily topping £6,000. Quite a difference, we think you will agree!
It is important to know a few things before you start shopping for a projector:
- What is the size of the screen you will be projecting onto
- What is the length of the room you will be projecting in
- Where can you position your projector
- How will you connect your projector to the source material
- Will you have separate speakers, or do you need a projector with included speakers
Armed with this information, you will be well placed to find the best options for you. If you are looking for a truly budget option, you can always try your hand at making this DIY shoebox projector!
If you thought your choices for projectors were overwhelming, then get ready for the world of speakers!
If you want to buy everything you need in one box, look for a home theatre system. This will include enough speakers to create surround sound plus a receiver to connect them all and get you started with ease.
If you want to craft your own sound system, you will need a minimum of 5 speakers. Wireless speakers will give you the ability to conceal speakers easily and without lots of wiring. For the true cinema experience you may also want to consider getting an acoustically transparent screen so you can position speakers behind the screen.
We hope this has been a helpful guide to setting up your own personal cinema. With the seating, the screen and the sound sorted, don’t forget about the most important thing of all, though… snacks!