Room size for Large Home Theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to buy a new house. I plan on building a large home theater in the unfinished basement of new house that I don't have yet.

I am considering getting a traditional theater chairs like the ones here http://www.preferred-seating.com/

How much square feet would my room need to in order to seat say 30-40 people comfortably.

My hope would to be not to take the whole basement up with this. Of course that all depend on how big the basement I don't own
yet is.

Thanks
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 02:18 PM
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post #3 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 03:09 PM
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 03:40 PM
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Wow,

I would say if you are serious about seating 30-40 people in a theater you need to reach out to one of the design services here on the forum and start there. That would be a very wise first step.

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post #5 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 03:52 PM
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Probably it can be done in 1500-2000sqft but yeah it would be a wise idea for you to go for a professional layout plan which suits your budget, so that later you don't have to worry about wasting money on multiple issues which may arise and could have been prevented by a good design in the first place.
Good luck!
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I am going to do that. There are a few local companies I can use, but since I have no basement for them to see......
Perhaps I will set up an appointment with them soon.
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post #7 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 08:41 PM
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You would need something similar to an indoor sport court, something custom builders catering to professional athletes have more familiarity with,
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post #8 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, there are a few companies near me that have done home theaters for football players etc.
How many square feet do you think that room is in the pic you posted?
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post #9 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 09:11 AM
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One thing to consider is I’d want at least 14’-16’ height You are probably going to have 4-5 rows of seats. Knowing what type of seat you are looking for would help dramatically in the size of space you’d need. I’d assume you’d want more traditional size movie seats as opposed to the home theater recliners most use.

The bigger the space and seating requirements the larger the screen, the more powerful the projector, the more surrounds and subs you should have, dedicated HVAC, more lighting zones, etc... It’s a domino effect so unless you have $100k easy to spend on this (and that’s probably at the low end)… I’d seriously consider speaking with the Erskine Group with what you are looking for and have them come up with a preliminary plan. This will give you a good idea as to cost and an idea for you home builder on how to construct the foundation.

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post #10 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 09:15 AM
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+1, for what you'll be spending on a room like this, the cost of having the Erskine Group do a layout will be a drop in the bucket.

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post #11 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.
I think with all the feed back you guys gave me my thoughts would be this

1. one yes when I am closer to actually making an offer on a house, which will be within the next month I will
#1 consult with a professional design team etc. There are several near me.
#2 Those things in mind I also don't want a room that can only be used for home theater. Perhaps we just want to hang out eat
maybe relax and watch some fooball or watch nothing and just talk.


That being said in my mind I would have something with maybe two rows of chairs. The first row a little lower, the second row
higher. Then a 3rd row which would actually be a wide open floor with a few couches a few small tables and a little area where I would have refreshments and
more of a social area when watching sports.

So I would not need all the rows of chairs. I would almost want people not to know the room was a home theater room if not for the
screen and projector.

Any thoughts? Other than the obvious of consulting with a professional.
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post #12 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 01:46 PM
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The best thing might be to look at some theaters and open concept media spaces online, perhaps Houzz, electronic house and the dedicated and general forums here to get an idea of what you are trying to accomplish. The typical dedicated theater space here will usually be anywhere from 1-2 rows of 3-5 seats per row perhaps with a bar area at the back for overflow seating. If you are thinking of a more casual media space then perhaps 2-3 large sectionals may be more of what you are looking for.

For a dedicated route example; this is a large space and only seats 12 http://www.avsforum.com/t/1113302/movie-palace-im-a-tk-wannabee. Of course you could get more traditional seats and probably add in another 3-6 seats or could widen it for another 1-2 per row. As you can see you will not be able to find an existing house with a basement to accommodate this. It would have to be new custom construction in my opinion. The PJ alone in the thread I linked to is $65,000, so that gives you the level that this space was constructed to. You can easily spend $100k on audio alone including amps, processing and so forth.

Art's is also another nice large space: http://www.artsonneborn.com

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post #13 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 02:11 PM
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Do you know 30-40 people that will want to come over for a movie regularly? If you are thinking maybe once or twice a year, then you would probably be better off just taking that group to the local cineplex.

With that in mind, I might suggest a much smaller dedicated theater that seats 6 to 8, and then have a game room/bar for entertaining. Then you could have some casual seating, you could also have several flat screens throughout the space so that you can have more than one game on at a time. That way everyone's favorite team is on. I just can't picture having 30 or 40 people at my house to watch a movie. If I'm going to have that many people over, it's going to be a social function, and not just for watching a movie. I think it's even a stretch to ask 30 people to sit and watch the super bowl.

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post #14 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 03:24 PM
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What is your current HT set up?
I looked at your prior posts and I don't see much on your current PJ or audio.
I see HTIB ....

You should read a book on HT, AVS member put one together, it may help guide your thoughts .

What is your total budget for this HT?

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post #15 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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This is for a new home, so not sure my current home theater matters.

we have 20-30 different people (my wife especially) over every few months easily, mostly from church. We would do it more often but our current home size is limited.

The better the home theater is the more they will come over. I plan on using this to help suplement bible studies we are planning on having in our home by showing great
Christian films etc etc.


Perhaps I don't need home theater seating at all and instead have a bunch of couches and small tables laid out more like champs or something.

My budget would be 50K or so from top to bottom. It all depends on how much I spend on the house I will use what is left over as a budget.

This is all VERY preliminary I appreciate the feedback. That's why I am here, the last thing I want to do is blow a bunch of money!
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post #16 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 04:39 PM
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Frankly you may be then better off with a general open room layout, not a dedicated HT space.

It will allow you to entertain the big crowds, and still have the HT experience when desired.

Look at the forum below this one, the "General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms"
http://www.avsforum.com/f/15/general-home-theater-media-game-rooms
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post #17 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah that's probably what I do want in the end. A large room with home theater drywall and acoustics and equipment. etc
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post #18 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 06:17 PM
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What do you mean by home theater drywall?

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post #19 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 06:51 PM
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With your objectives in mind i feel $50K is a decent amount to finish up your room nicely, provided your are spending the money wisely. There are good home theater dealers and also a lot of basic home theater dealers in every city who cater to general public and hire employees with limited or no subject matter expertise, and to add to this if someone with no basic knowledge walks in and says they are willing to spend a ton of money, then the end result would be money gone and you end up getting a terrible room.

You did a great thing by coming to ask for help in the dedicated theater build section. I sincerely recommend you spend a few days whenever free to go through some theater build threads and arm yourself with the knowledge of the science that goes into building a good theater room/Media room before you approach anyone( you can ignore this advice if you are already knowledgeable).

Getting your theater planning and design done by the Erskine group, will probably be the best thing you can do if you want to get it right and you will be later thanking the forum for suggesting it. Other than them there are only a handful of companies in my opinion in the US with owners and employees armed with the kind of Knowledge Erskine group has.

Start of with Purchasing the Home Theater book http://www.avsforum.com/t/1390022/av-science-presents-the-home-theater-book ,give it a good read and then skim through some of the build threads in this forum. This will take a few days and after that you will exactly figure out what you want and how much you want to spend for what. After that or before that go ahead and contact Dennis Erskine himself or Shawn Byrne "Sierra Mike Bravo" on this forum and get some advice.

Also keep in mind a lot of people on this forum and in this sub forum are highly educated and successful people in life with extreme passion towards home theater. So after finishing your research look forward to engaging them on the forum by regularly posting all your doubts. Take every aspect of the theater room construction seriously and always get help when you need to know what is the best bang for buck approach at every step and exactly where you have to spend without reservation.
Good luck again!
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post #20 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 01:28 PM
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If you wanted 4 rows of seating... .how high would the ceiling need to be (minimum) for good results?

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post #21 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 02:04 PM
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Depends on what that fourth row is (seats or bars tools). If seats, 13-14 feet high would be ideal.

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post #22 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 02:23 PM
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Is there ideal size or ideal dimensions ?

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post #23 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

If you wanted 4 rows of seating... .how high would the ceiling need to be (minimum) for good results?

Typically each riser will have two stair treads, each ~7 inches high (recommended stair tread height is min 6/max 8 inches), so each riser will be about 14 inches. 4 rows of seating will need 3 risers, so you'll need an extra 42 inches if the rear riser needs to have 'good' ceiling height. Typical ceiling height is 96 inches (8 feet); if you want the highest riser to have a 8 foot ceiling you would need at least 11.5 foot ceilings.

Of course if this is new construction like gtjr92's, if would probably be easier and cheaper to just lower the floor of the basement where you want to put the risers for the seating. Build a theater section 4 feet lower than the rest of the basement and you can 'sink' the theater seating and screen into that section.

BTW - I suggest a 4 foot 'sink' because I remember my home builder telling me that the foundation forms used in construction come in 1 foot increments, so rounding up to the foot eliminates the need for custom forms.

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post #24 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 05:20 PM
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My theater is going in a bonus room above a 2 1/2 car garage. I can play with dimension as it's being build in Fall 2013. Just getting ideas. But it is second floor technically, and not ground level.

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post #25 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Is there ideal size or ideal dimensions ?
No.
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post #26 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 05:53 PM
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Maybe my thoughts are not based in what most would do, but think about it this way as an exercise for me.

If you use recliners for seating, each row needs about 7 feet from the toe of one row to the toe of the next. Four rows needs 28 feet, just for seating. The distance over which you'd ideally want to calibrate and optimize (this may be where I differ from others) becomes 21 feet. So what screen size looks good from anywhere within a 21 foot range - no seat too near or too far? (Here's a hint - it's big)

If you go with the recommendations from THX and SMPTE, as depicted in this diagram
G44

and being as generous as the diagram allows, all the seats must fit within a range of distances 2 to 5.2 screen heights. (The range there becomes 3.2 screen heights) 21 feet translates roughly to a seven foot tall screen. If we stick with 7' tall and 1.78 ratio, the screen is 12.5' wide. This isn't outside of what you can see built here, but it's very big. 88 or so square feet needs a lot of light. 16FtL of calibrated light means about 1400 lumens with unity gain screen. That's a tough pill to swallow.

If we were a little more demanding and required a maximum of 4 screen heights, the 21 foot seating range requires a ten foot tall screen. A ten foot tall unity gain screen needs almost 3000 lumens - I don't know where you could find that.

So if the first row is 2 heights (14 feet) from the screen (to eyes) and the last row is 21 feet farther (again to eyes) - 35 feet, how much more space will you have for behind the rear seats and behind the screen?

I've not made too many allowances here to illustrate the point. This can be done, but it's not cheap to do well.
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post #27 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 05:56 PM
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One (okay two) last thoughts - you'll need arrays of side surround loudspeakers and huge amounts of power to get good sound - more big investments.

If you are ever in Queens or Vestal NY, check out the AMC theaters there with recliners for seating. They only have about five rows of seats. http://www.amctheatres.com/search?q=plush+recliners
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 06:00 PM
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Let me throw this out just for kicks. Let's say you build that home theater for 30-40 people. Unless your new house is going to be in the middle of a farm field where are you going to park all of those cars? LOL, maybe your church has a bus like mine did when I was growing up. It doesn't seem like a home theater of that size is very practical. You better check the ordinances where you are going to buy this house and see if there are any occupancy restrictions and what facilities you need to provide such as number of bathrooms, fire escapes, fire sprinklers, etc. This is a nice dream but sounds like it could become a nightmare quickly.
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post #29 of 32 Old 05-17-2013, 08:35 PM
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If it were me, I'd do a smaller indoor theater, and then have a backyard setup that I could use as an outdoor theater for larger gatherings (if neighbors aren't too close in).
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post #30 of 32 Old 05-19-2013, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

If it were me, I'd do a smaller indoor theater, and then have a backyard setup that I could use as an outdoor theater for larger gatherings (if neighbors aren't too close in).

That's the only reasonable scenario. The OP isn't going to "buy" a house that has a two plus story room large enough to fit that many people. Custom built would be the only way and then that would be well north of $100k just for that space alone without any equipment.

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