As one may guess from my title I'd like to finish my basement and I'm looking to get some opinions between two layouts I've had floating around in my head.. Rather than ramble I'll just get to the images and then mention my current pros and cons to each. (click for larger image)
My basement consists of 2 rooms attached by a standard door opening on the side opposite of the stair case. The The main room (where I want to put my theater, a bathroom, and storage ) has a support beam and posts running down the center of the room. You'll also notice from the images an odd coved area on the far wall. This is currently where my hot water heater is, but I have plans on moving that. The gray box represents the HVAC.
My initial thought was to make one long big theater room as seen in the first image. This was going to include putting a wall up to hide the staircase ( and allow me to easily mount rear speakers ), however after much discussion with various people it seems that I need to keep that staircase open if I ever want to realistically move furniture in and out of the basement. The basement ceiling is a tad over 7 feet, so in this first layout I also run into the issue of people hitting their heads on the surround speakers. I could build columns for these and then reduce one of my rows or chairs from 3 to 2, though it still might be too tight between the column and chairs ( I think it would be less than 3 feet ).
space from more than 4 people
a little "breathing room" between the speakers and the chairs
Bad dimensions for sound
no good way to mount rear speakers.
My second idea is to make a smaller theater room, and give an open space around the stairs where my kids could keep some toys (under the stairs) and have an area to play. I'm not certain if they would like hanging out in this "flex room" due to the lack of natural light, and it just being a hair too small. In this second layout I would use my cove to store my electronics equipment. My thought was to put in pocket doors so I could close of the room when watching movies.
This seems like a better layout in terms of sound, because it's not a perfect square or 2x the length as width (which the first one is).
I like the more controlled environment for the theater (closed off/not stair case in the space)
Some extra area for the kids to use
I lose some of my storage space for a hallway.
this plan also requires more building material.
No real room for more than 4 people.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Ps. I have yet to research how you position your surround speakers when you have a multi-row layout. so maybe in the long run the speaker columns wouldn't be in the way of the chairs.