Is a home theater this size worth doing? - AVS Forum
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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My house has a finished basement with one large room and a bathroom. As it is currently configured, the large room is not very useful for my purposes. I'm thinking about partitioning the large space into two rooms and a hallway. One room would become my office (I'm currently using a bedroom, which is less than ideal). I'd like to put a home theater in the other room.

 

I've measured the basement and modeled it in SketchUp. The proposed floor plan I'm currently working with results in a home theater room that is 11' wide, 18'8" long, and 8'7" high. Ideally, I'd like the room to be wider, but I haven't figured out how to do this without compromising the office on the other side of the wall to an unacceptable degree.

 

I've never built a home theater before, so my questions to those of you who have are:

 

(1) Is 11'W x 18'8"L x 8'7"H an acceptable size/ratio for a dedicated home theater? At times during the modeling process, I've wondered if the proposed room is too small for a theater experience, and I haven't yet carved out a space for the A/V closet.


(2) What diagonal image size can I realistically expect from a projector for this room? While it appears that some projectors would be capable of, say, a 125" image with a 17' throw, I don't know that the definition would be acceptable from a 1080p source unless one was sitting near the back of the room.


(3) How many people can I expect to comfortably seat in a room this size? There are four people in my immediate family, and I'd like to be able to seat some friends as well. The guy in the SketchUp scene makes three look like it'd be a crowd.

 

Thanks in advance for your insights.

 

Current basement:

 

 

Proposed basement:

 

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Old 11-05-2013, 12:19 PM
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I'll vote that you should definitely do this...

You have a good space and lots of potential options depending on what you really want and your budget.

If you are willing to consider using part of the office as an equipment/projection room you could increase your throw a bit and potentially use your big wall for the screen.

You could also consider a multi-use space and have the office in the back of the theater without the dividing wall... do you plan on working while others are watching movies?

You could put up a false wall on the side opposite the stairs/hallway with an acoustically transparent screen. This would enable you to fit a wider screen and should open up some nice speaker options as well.

Give a bit more info about what your dreams and desires are and what you are willing/able to spend.

Looks like a fun project is in your future!

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Old 11-05-2013, 01:08 PM
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I went through a similar exercise, and the most helpful thing I did is tape it out. I went down with a tape measure and a big roll of masking tape. I taped where the furniture would be etc and got to "live" in the floor plan which is much more helpful than even sketchup. My experience was that it felt bigger than I would have thought based on my CAD drawings. You should get a good feel for how many people you can fit.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:46 PM
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I would agree that an HT this size is still worth doing. Especially if you have your expectations set correctly. Here is an older thread with a lot of great examples of smaller spaces that turned into excellent theaters. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and confidence.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/996973/small-theater-build-threads
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:53 PM
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Yes it is worth it! But a room that small will present significant acoustics challenges.

This article might be helpful to you, as it addressed treating a small HT room:
http://realtraps.com/art_manhattan.htm
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:32 PM
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I'd say go for it because you will get so much enjoyment out of a home theater, even if it's small.

If you decide to keep it 11' wide, your screen options would be approximately 147" diag. 16x9 or 139" diag. scope if you used the whole width. Speakers will subtract from that if you don't go with an AT screen. With the 18'8" depth, you could probably get 2 rows of seating, 4 and 3. (maybe 5 and 4)

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Old 11-05-2013, 06:10 PM
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I second the idea of a combined space. When I built my house I planned to do a dedicated theater with a bar in the back. I decided to put my office in place of the bar with no regrets. The theater is great for concentrating on work. No distractions, but still a nice open space with great sounding background music.

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Old 11-05-2013, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
 If you are willing to consider using part of the office as an equipment/projection room you could increase your throw a bit and potentially use your big wall for the screen.

 

I considered that, but don't think I can gain enough distance. It's hard to tell from the images, but assuming the "front" of the basement is where the man is facing, the space is wider than it is deep. I could get the most throw by eliminating the hallway from the plan, but then of course I still wouldn't be using the larger wall.

 

The other potential issue is the bulkhead that spans the basement, which lowers the ceiling height from 103" to 88". If the projector were mounted somewhere behind it, then it would have to be at least 15" lower than would otherwise be the case. I don't know enough about projectors to say if that's acceptable or not.

 

Quote:
 You could also consider a multi-use space and have the office in the back of the theater without the dividing wall... do you plan on working while others are watching movies?

 

This is an interesting question. The answer is no, the theater wouldn't be used while I'm working. It also happens that my primary hobby is music, which is one of the reasons my current bedroom office isn't really working. Having an integrated office/theater makes a lot of sense in some ways. I'm definitely going to consider it.

 

Quote:
 Give a bit more info about what your dreams and desires are and what you are willing/able to spend.

 

Since this space was not originally designed for a theater, and because this is my first attempt to build one, I'm more interested in value for the money than visual and sonic perfection. Perhaps I'll worry more about those things when I have a better idea of what I'm doing, or when I build a custom home, but the current project isn't intended to be the theater; just a space to watch movies and listen to music (mostly classical) while providing a better experience than your typical living room with a HTIB. I don't need (or really want) house-shaking subs, so isolation, while nice to have, isn't paramount. I'll be doing at least some of the work myself (such as the framing, haven't decided yet on drywall) to save money. I'm fine with it being a "living project," too, in the sense that I'll be adding better equipment over the years as finances allow. It seems some people spend $100K on amazing home theaters while others spend $10K on pretty nice ones. I'd like to be closer to the latter number in the near term, and as a result, I'll settle for "pretty nice."

 

Quote:
 I went through a similar exercise, and the most helpful thing I did is tape it out.

 

Thanks, this is a great idea. I'll probably do it tomorrow.

 

Quote:
 Here is an older thread with a lot of great examples of smaller spaces that turned into excellent theaters.

 

Thanks for the inspiration. That's helpful.

 

Quote:
 But a room that small will present significant acoustics challenges.

 

I wondered about that. How much larger would I need to go to noticeably curb any unpleasant acoustic characteristics? I might be able to eke out a couple more feet in either direction...

 

Quote:
I second the idea of a combined space.

 

Thanks. I'm going to give this some hard thought. I'll let you guys know what I decide. Thank you all for your input.

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Old 11-06-2013, 04:02 AM
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I wish my theater was 11' wide. I'm building mine in a room only 8' wide

You will have no problem, that's a good size for a ht.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:16 PM
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my room is a few inches smaller then 12x15 and its a great "family theatre room" for a sectional. my screen is the entire front wall with an approx projection of 10' x6' screen. for an av closet I just have the equipment on a boxed shelf sitting on the floor under the screen. its not very fancy but very functional. you could make a nicer set up with doors if you wanted to.

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