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First Time Home Theater, Requesting Advice!

748 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  djkest
Hello everyone, I am beginning construction on a new home very soon! My house plan calls for a fairly large bonus space upstairs. I did not pick the plan with the intentions to build a home theater but I'd REALLY like to use part of this space to do so while keeping the rest as a recreation/play room for my kids. Since construction hasn't began yet I have a little time to plan this out, but I want to be ready for it so I can discuss with my contractor when framing starts. I know my space is not going to be the most ideal for the ultimate theater experience but I just want it to be acceptable and enjoyable. I'm not an audiophile but I love home entertainment and I always try to do whats best recommended as long as its feasible. This may be a lengthy post so I apologize but really appreciate any advice and/or recommendations!

Here's the space the plan calls for:

I'm thinking the left side of the room would serve as the theater, however the space from the left wall to the left edge of the window opening is a bit narrow for an ideal theater. This window cannot be moved as it is in the very middle and front of the house and would greatly affect the exterior appearance.

I don't have the official blueprints yet, but I believe the width from left wall to window opening is approx. 11 ft. Just adding a standard wall will take at least 4.5" from that and I know that if I did additional soundproofing, it could take more. At the moment, I'm planning to have the screen on the south wall but I'm open to in being at the opposite end. I have a family of 5 and I really want to be able to seat 6 comfortably, so I'm ok with not using dedicated home theater seating but sofa's instead.

I realize that 10'7" at a maximum is far from ideal. If I made this work, it would probably be best to have only 2 seats in each row. If my sofa's are 84" wide there would be 21.5" of walk space on either side and this doesn't account for any molding or side speakers.

My second option involves making the room a bit wider by bringing the wall further into the room. The only problem...the front wall still cannot exceed 11 ft. As a result, the screen would not be centered with the room and there would also be a weird angle opening into the room. This also poses a problem with the audio. The left channel side and rear speakers would be further away from the center than the right channel.

A third option is to go would be to use the other side of the room which would be closer to a square room. I think I can still fit 2 sofas in this space but the front row will be closer to the screen than the recommended distance and the back sofa would have to be against the wall, thus being an issue with rear speakers. I'm kind of leaning towards this option as it gives my kiddo's a lot more space and I feel a little less selfish! Just not sure how people will handle the front row being closer to the screen.

Which option would you go for? If any...

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I think your space is too small to seat 6. How about using the entire space for HT and put the screen on the West 18' wall? It'll be more like an open HT room with mixed use.

I just got done a 10X20 build so I can relate. I think the first one may be the best. You can fit two couches or perhaps something like  a seat plus loveseat combo for theater chairs. I would go with in walls for both the front and the sides. Second one would also work but you only need to move the wall a little to get 2' aisles which is all you need. Persoanlly I would try to figure how to put a wet bar area in the back of the room. Also a bathroom would be nice:) You need deeper than 14' for two rows.


Here's my build. Iwent with a CIH 2.35 AT screen as I was height limited due to existing duct work.














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Originally Posted by DavidK442  /t/1517858/first-time-home-theater-requesting-advice#post_24360197

How about something like this?

Why not include the window in the theater space? You could build recessed equipment and media cabinets in the wall in common with the attic storage area. Put a nice blackout blind on the window and you'd be all set.
My whole world "ain't built yet". I look at drawings every day and help guide my clients to the best solution for their window and patio door needs. Home theater is just an entertaining diversion. I hope I occasionally toss out a useful $.02.
Thanks a lot for all the replies and some really good ideas!

The dilemma I face right now with this space is that we want a large space for our kids (I have 2 yr old triplets). The HT was an after thought because I thought 28x18 was a MORE than enough space for a play room. As much as I'd like to use the whole room or a majority of the space for a HT, this will not meet the WAF. Ultimately, I also agree that while our kids grow, their play space is more important. At the same time, I think our whole family will enjoy a HT for years to come and I'd really like to do "something" during the construction phase.

If anyone else has recommendations, I'll gladly take them and will reply when I make my final decision. Hopefully I can start a WIP thread soon!

Originally Posted by DavidK442  /t/1517858/first-time-home-theater-requesting-advice#post_24370050

Triplets! Wow! That's what I call "Gettin' r done".

Audio/Video nirvana is obviously not top of the list.

In that case I would leave the entire space open. Cover windows with black out shades. Mount a 120" roller screen and a 5.1 speaker setup to the walls with a bright DLP projector on the ceiling (Optoma HD25-LV might do the trick). This will keep the gear out of reach of marauding children. You will still get most of the big screen experience without a huge investment in time, space or funds. If you find that the system gets a lot of use, once the kids grow out of the "playroom" phase you can commandeer the entire area for the dedicated theater of your dreams and purchase some updated gear.

After some very deep consideration I think I agree with you for the most part. Instead of investing a lot of money into something I probably won't be that happy with, spend a lot less for something I'll enjoy with plans to upgrade in the future. I'm thinking maybe just using a smaller section of the room next to the stairs for one row of seating for 5. Since the space is upstairs, it should be fairly simple to run wires, etc in the future as the roof pitch is high and there should be plenty of attic space.
After speaking with my builder last night, the dedicated HT may be back on!

He seemed to be ok with doing a wall straight across the window opening. Since this is a bonus room and not intended to be a bedroom, an egress window is not required by code. We'll keep the window for visual exterior purposes, but it will just be accessed from attic or another opening closer to the stairs.

So this means I should be able to get at least 13 ft wide for my theater, and still have the rec area about 15 ft wide. While this is still considered to be a small home theater I'm much more happy with the width. I will definitely know more once we get our official blueprints but hopefully I'll be starting a WIP thread in a few weeks.
13' x 20' is a good size. You should be able to get 2 rows of 3 in that way and not be too crowded. Actually, even 4 would "fit" but it would be tight. Maybe for the back row?
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