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post #1 of 5 Old 04-28-2016, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Creating a Theater in a Rental Home

Hello All!

I am needing the most help I can get. We live in a beautiful 3,000sf 4bd, 2.5bth home in Orange County. When we first moved in, we noticed this room off of the kitchen was too small to be a family room as it was a formal living room. We hate the idea of that because we would never use it for that.

We got the idea to turn it into a home theater/library, even thought it is mostly a theater. The theme of the theater is more industrial like and I think, so far, it is coming out nicely! We were able to find an amazing set of 3 recliners from a store for $500. There are normally about $500 a piece and we got ALL 3 for that price! From there we got a motorized screen, added crown moulding with a small lip at the top and put LED rope light inside for ambient light. We are having an issue right now with some finishing touches of the room.

Attached are photos of what it looks like.

There is still a lot to do. We are installing a cabinet in the back corner by the door from the kitchen with granite, the equipment, a candy draw, a double door refrigerator, and a popcorn machine! We would like to paint the room but do not know what color. The floors are travertine and are staying that because we are renting! There is a window on the right side of the room above the couch that we blacked out, but are thinking of putting an acoustic panel there. Where else would you put acoustic panels? Also, we have a sliding door on the left side of the room with awful coverings on it and want to change it out, but do not know what to change it out to and need it to black out as well as look nice! We NEED help on picking that too!!

We are planning on changing the fan out with a light, attached is a picture of that light. And also adding about 6 different industrial light (also attached) We are going to have 4 around the room and then 2 above the cabinet in the corner.

Thanks, in advance, for the help
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Last edited by 92396humphrey; 04-29-2016 at 12:04 AM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-29-2016, 02:28 AM
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Looking good.
With this being a rental, I hope you've cleared all these improvements with your landlord.

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post #3 of 5 Old 04-29-2016, 01:42 PM
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Given the floor color (and assuming you're allowed to paint, assuming so considering the other changes ), I would base the color on the amount of time the room would function as a theater vs. "lights up" activities. If it's more theater, maybe a good flat dark brown on the walls to avoid too much light splash from the projector and screen reflections.

For the blinds, personally I'd switch out for a nice blackout curtain in a color to coordinate with the furniture and walls. You could even go for a motorized track at that point.

On the lighting, I'd echo what JFOK said and make darn sure the owner is ok with that much work. Most everything else you've done so far is fairly superficial (the crown molding being the hardest thing to remove as you stand right now, requiring a little mud work and painting), but the lights would be pretty major. The wiring, making sure it's up to code, holes in ceiling, holes in the wall for new switch, this stuff is not easy to take out if you move. Personally, if you really want to lose the fan, I'd look at getting a single mount track light fixture to replace it. You could aim them around the room as desired, and depending on the fixture you got, very little if any cosmetic damage to repair.

Remember, no matter where you go... You're not where you were anymore.

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post #4 of 5 Old 04-29-2016, 04:55 PM
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As I have oh, 20 years of experience with this topic, I'll chime in.

Without trying to start an argument with anyone: Renting Sucks For The Renter. IME, 80% of the time you will lose some portion of your deposit simply for normal wear and tear, even though that's explicitly allowed and understood in most leases as normal and expected. Some landlords/apt complexes literally will not allow you to hang a picture on the wall without incurring a $1,200 "repainting fee." I have lived in one such apartment complex in Omaha, Nebraska. Others are OK with nail holes/wall anchor holes as long as you at least patch/spackle them before you leave.

When you rent, you have to EXPECT to lose your entire deposit no matter what. At least in Texas, the typical Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) lease legally allows the landlord/property owner to return all, some or NONE of the deposit and the language talks to wear and tear, damages, etc. Very subjective and biased 100% to the landlord.

That said, the changes you've made to make that room a theater are entirely reversible. Hollow wall anchor holes can be patched easily. If you have painted the room a different color, expect to repaint it to it's original color when you move out. I don't agree with others that you have to check with the landlord first before painting a room or swapping out a light fixture. I added a ceiling fan to a room in a house I rented and left it there when I moved out. The home owner got a free ceiling fan. Same with $300 worth of fluorescent light fixtures I put in the garage. Too much trouble to take them down, so I asked the owner if it was OK to leave them. I got a "That's fine." email reply. And why not FREE STUFF. You simply must be prepared to PUT IT ALL BACK TO THE EXACT WAY YOU FOUND IT when you move. Save the light fixture you took down, save the crappy $2 shower head that was in the bathroom and take your $50, 9-setting Moen shower head with you, etc.

True Story: In the apartment in NE, I mounted a small fire extinguisher on the kitchen wall. Tiny thing about 12" long. I forgot to take it down. Landlord charged me a $50 "accessory removal fee." True story.

After 20+ years of renting, I finally bought a house last year. I could not be happier. Good luck to you!
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-29-2016, 07:58 PM
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The trick with checking is that some owners/lease agreements have very strict rules around modifications. I had a friend get evicted from a rental house for painting without consulting landlird first.

Remember, no matter where you go... You're not where you were anymore.

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