My first home theater - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all!

I'm new here, and new to the concept of home theaters in general.

I'm 16 years old, and have always been really interested in the idea. My dad, who is the IT manager of a company, has managed to get me a projector that they won't be using anymore. It's not the best quality, more suited to business and presentations than movies and gaming. But it's my first projector, and it's working fine for me.

I've got a little bit of money for my budget, up to about $100 dollars here to start with. This is a gradual project.

Basically, I've cleaned out a shed in our back yard (It appears to have been a workshop at some point), and am getting ready to set up a man cave/game room in there. The layout I've got planned out is like so:

(The dimensions of the shed are roughly 12X24)

This is final layout of course. It will probably start off with just the projector and a couch. Now, as far as painting the walls to use as a screen goes- What's the best way to go about that? I've been using this article as a reference point. Because I don't feel like spending $80 of my budget on paint, I've decided to go with the Valspar suggestions in the first couple paragraphs.

So, 1st question: Any suggestions on paint?

Next, I've got the issue of light control. As you can see in the diagram (made crappily in paint), there are 4 windows in the shed. At night, no light comes through and they won't be a problem. In the day, they will. One of them will be more difficult to block than the rest due to the AC unit. What is the best way to go about blocking off the windows, but still being able to see out of them? I know about the tin foil trick, but that looks tacky, and I want that to be a last resort.

So my second question: What do I do about light control?

The audio is not going to be the best. I've got a stereo with one speaker for that. And of course I'm on a budget.

My third question: What are some affordable audio solutions?

One last thing- The shed is wood paneled. Is this going to cause any problems with ambiance or anything? I personally find it nice, but I want to know if it will affect the theater.


1) What to do about painting a screen?
2) How to work out light control?
3) What are some affordable audio solutions for decent surround in a $100 budget?
4) Will wood paneling hurt anything?

Remember for any solutions you give me, I'm on a hundred dollar budget. Probably half will be taken up just getting a couch in there. This is a "as we go" project.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:00 AM
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Did you really mean $100 budget? Or did you mean $1000?

If I were you,I'd get some sort of home theater in a box off Craigslist and call it a day. Does your dad have some old screen the company isn't using? There's lots of guys on here that paint screens on walls and they don't have to cost that much.

To block the windows, can you actually block them off? Meaning do you care to look out the window at all? Blackout curtains and the like can add up pretty quickly.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:36 AM
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First off - very cool that you've done some research before just asking what to do.

$100 (less the cost of a couch) won't get you very far at all... Make a spreadsheet (in Excel if you have it - ask your Dad for help) and write down all of your projected expenses. Then start prioritizing what you think you'll need first, then so on... In the mean time look for a job or ways to make money. Put some towards your HT build and some towards furthering your education. Then as you get older and make more $$$ you'll be able to buy the big boy toys...

Good Luck.

My living room budget build: Samsung PN51E530 / Denon AVR1613 / DefTech PC1000 / DefTech PM60 / DefTech ProSub 60 / Dayton Sub1200
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:04 PM
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If you're not going ultra high def, I think you could build a simple blackout cloth screen for cheaper than painting. I had a 40% off coupon at hobby lobby and built a 90"(ish) screen for about $15 (already had wood on hand). I just built the frame out of 2 x 2s and stretched the fabric and stapled on the back side. There's instructions on the internet if you need more assistance.
The coupons can be found online on a regular basis. Sure it's not the best screen ever, but works perfect for me.

I think you could buy a little extra of this material and make some coverings for the windows as well. Even if you just taped it on there, it would look MUCH better than foil.

As far as audio, what were you hoping for? I agree that craigslist is your friend here. If you're just wanting a simple stereo (right/left channels) setup, then you could probably swing some small bookshelf speakers and a small stereo amp.
Maybe speakers like this
Small amp like this
I have used this exact amp and I was impressed for such a small package, however it doesn't have a remote. Don't forget, you'll need speaker wire and other cables.
Out of curiousity, what type of media are you playing? DVD, blu-ray, cable, streaming?

I do think the paneling will cause some sound issues, but I wouldn't worry about them. I think you'll have more issues with a window unit in the room, than with audio reflection points and such.

Hope some of this helps!
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:04 PM
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When I first started out I was on a limited budget too......I got a Home Theatre in a Box on craigslist for like $75 and a 92" Manual Pulldown screen on craigslist for $60.......kept me happy for years.......

If I had a $100 budget, I'd look for a Home Theatre in a Box for $50-$75 on Craigslist and use the whats left to paint your screen wall......that should keep you happy until you get more funds.....
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