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Discussion Starter #1
So this is my first time here and have been reading a little on home theater and looking at a lot of pictures on different setups. I am currently finishing up the framing phase of my project. It is a 21x9.5 room and the thing that is holding me up from finishing is where should I put the screen. If I put the screen on the long wall I will have a short and fat room (landscape) or if I put it on the short wall I will have long and skinny room (portrait). While I thought it wouldn't be this complicated, the location of the screen will impact where I wire the speakers to and I would prefer doing the wiring while I only have the framing up. My goal for this project is to have a warm comfortable place to watch a movie with a good sound system and a good picture/screen. I already have a "family room" with a 32" TV and a living room w/o a TV. We also have our first on the way and we want this room, in the basement, to be a place where our kid can play with their toys as well as a small theater. I feel very stuck about this, because when I do the wiring, it isn't like I can easily change it. I think the kids will get more use out of this room than we will.

Lastly I don't want this to scream theater with the typical theater oversize seats. My wife doesn't like having people at our house so I don't see us needing many seats maybe 4 adult seating, some bean bag chairs for kids, and I guess I could use some folding chairs for other adult guests. The photos I have seen the most of rooms that are similar size are "fat and short". It also seems the speaker setup would be more difficult in a setup in short/fat. The long/skinny room seems like it could more easily break up the room in two areas play/gym and theater.

I don't think we can do a raised seating area at all as we do have a large soffit that will give anyone above 6'4" a headache.


Note: We will have my wife's elliptical in the same room.
 

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9.5 FT is tough. Where's the entrance to this room? Any pictures or a floorplan sketch?

If you put the screen on the 9.5 wall, you could put the seating back far enough to maximize your picture. Then you'd have the space behind the seating for a play-area or the elliptical or bar or whatever.

Putting the screen on the 21 wall will give you a short throw, but have space to the side for the playroom/elliptical/bar/pool table.

If you enter on the 9.5 wall, I like the idea of having the screen on the far 9.5 wall. I think it'd work out better from an audio layout too.

Look around a little bit here, there's a lot of narrow theaters around :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is what I drew up. The little indent on the top left is where the stairs end. I did not put the stairs in the drawing. That is where most of the traffic comes. In the bottom left you will see a dotted line, that is where the door to the unfinished side of the basement. I am looking at putting in a built-in bench on the smallest wall along with a small window for a window well. I was thinking of putting the screen on the 159" wall or on the 220" wall where the stairs are. I am looking at about a ~70" screen either projector or TV. The drawing looks a little weird as I used the IKEA design tool as I used it before, when I designed my kitchen.

I have no room for a pool table :( Though all I want is a place to a movie/show with great A/V and a place that I don't mind kid's clutter.

As you can see I am currently in the framing part, so I need to figure out where I want to place it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was thinking of the following:

Wide room:
Door - screen - opening for stairs
Elliptical - Looooong Couch - Play Area

Seating would be easy to figure out, long sectional or couch. Though sound would be a little more difficult to setup I think.

Long room:

Elliptical/Play Area - some type of seating - Screen

Sound setup seems like it would be easy. The thing is I have no idea of seating. I was thinking of a couch, though that can only really hold 3 people and if I put 3 seats in 2 rows of theater seats, then it will look a little odd and dedicate this room as a "theater room" as those seats would have to be bolted in place. As well as I do have some height issues because of a soffit. Then there is an option for 4 theater seats in a row, though that leave little room for aisle way. If I only had 2 or 3 more feet :(

For the most part I see only 2 people sitting there, kids can use a bean bag or something. Though if we have 4 adults, and a 3 person couch, most likely I will be sitting on a fold up chair :(

How can I have my cake and eat it too?
 

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I was thinking of the following:

Wide room:
Door - screen - opening for stairs
Elliptical - Looooong Couch - Play Area

Seating would be easy to figure out, long sectional or couch. Though sound would be a little more difficult to setup I think.

Long room:

Elliptical/Play Area - some type of seating - Screen

Sound setup seems like it would be easy. The thing is I have no idea of seating. I was thinking of a couch, though that can only really hold 3 people and if I put 3 seats in 2 rows of theater seats, then it will look a little odd and dedicate this room as a "theater room" as those seats would have to be bolted in place. As well as I do have some height issues because of a soffit. Then there is an option for 4 theater seats in a row, though that leave little room for aisle way. If I only had 2 or 3 more feet :(

For the most part I see only 2 people sitting there, kids can use a bean bag or something. Though if we have 4 adults, and a 3 person couch, most likely I will be sitting on a fold up chair :(

How can I have my cake and eat it too?
Put front speakers behind a 130" spandex screen that goes wall-to-wall on the short bottom wall. Elliptical and toys go by the stairs. Buy tow corner and two armless pieces to a sectional with three seats across the room placed at 11' from the screen. The additional corner piece to the sectional goes against the right hand wall to form a chaise if someone wants to sit against that wall. Otherwise use the two center seats for best audio. Put all pieces of the sectional on casters so the additional corner piece can form a 4th seat in line with the other three just by pulling it into what is normally the aisle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Put front speakers behind a 130" spandex screen that goes wall-to-wall on the short bottom wall. Elliptical and toys go by the stairs. Buy tow corner and two armless pieces to a sectional with three seats across the room placed at 11' from the screen. The additional corner piece to the sectional goes against the right hand wall to form a chaise if someone wants to sit against that wall. Otherwise use the two center seats for best audio. Put all pieces of the sectional on casters so the additional corner piece can form a 4th seat in line with the other three just by pulling it into what is normally the aisle.
I will take a look into it, keep in mind the short bottom wall has a window in it, though it doesn't really matter much as it is under a deck 0_o
 

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Have you considered a DIY acoustically transparent screen up front, under the low soffit?
And go with three stadium style theaters seats, on a low island style riser, with two rows of seats
(centered on the room's width)?


You'll give up some room depth but the front three channels and sub/s end up hidden behind
the AT screen/wall. And rocker style high back stadium seats are compact width-wise, and
conserve room depth (and possibly cash) over recliner seating.


I wouldn't go wall to wall, with such a woven AT screen, as it scatters light coming off the screen.
I have a 54x96" screen with embedded horizontal masking system in 9'5" of width (with a soffit at 80"
above the screen). The only upgrade path I really have, is to go with something like a 2:1 screen plus
four way masking, and widen out 6-8" for scope movies.
 

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Your room is way too narrow for stadium seating. It won't seat that many without taking up all the room and will looked cramped with all the chairs in the middle of the room. Below is a scale diagram of a much more wife friendly design that accommodates seating for six without feeling cramped. Just mount the projector above the sofa and use a short throw lens. There is also lots of storage for media and games for the kids.

Also you can get an inexpensive 50" LCD TV from Costco to put on the wall. Elite screens makes a very affordable pull down screen that can be mounted on wall directly over the TV with a 1.5" wood spacer. Now you have a multipurpose room for TV and games that "doesn't scream home theater". You can still pull down the screen and fire up the projector to watch movies.
 

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It's not too narrow for three wide stadium style seating. While those style seats might be
to everyone's tastes, they do allow for a compact seating arrangement, and work well in a narrower room.
They will give you a more theater look, versus a media style room look, though.


That proposed wide/shallow seating arrangement will plant all your seats on wall boundaries, and how do you
propose to deal with the surround sound speaker layout? And those two seats that are ninety degrees to
the screen will offer up a nice stiff neck. And you've lost symmetry for a reflective side wall. And short throw lenses
are a useful tool, they also come with penalties.


I also disagree about your WAF statement. My similarly sized room would be jammed with gear, while an AT screen
actually works well in creating a calm space that appears larger then it really is.


The long narrow layout would work best with dipole side surrounds, and speaker with a fairly tight radiating pattern.


Either layout comes with significant design challenges.


The OP might want to start with this thread:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ction/996973-small-theater-build-threads.html


And maybe to get a feel for a small room and introduce some concepts he might not be familiar with:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/15-ge...man-cave-phase-2-could-use-help-planning.html


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...-big-screen-miniscule-space.html#post12234581


and maybe the hybrid look of Pocolco's:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-dedicated-theater-design-construction/1036161-pocoloco-theater.html


and Snowcarver went wide with another small build:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...its-2-0-mini-2-35-cih-build-10x10-alcove.html


Another long /narrow option with a tight seat seating layout option could be a three wide stadium seating with a bar row: behind.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's not too narrow for three wide stadium style seating. While those style seats might be
to everyone's tastes, they do allow for a compact seating arrangement, and work well in a narrower room.
They will give you a more theater look, versus a media style room look, though.


That proposed wide/shallow seating arrangement will plant all your seats on wall boundaries, and how do you
propose to deal with the surround sound speaker layout? And those two seats that are ninety degrees to
the screen will offer up a nice stiff neck. And you've lost symmetry for a reflective side wall. And short throw lenses
are a useful tool, they also come with penalties.


I also disagree about your WAF statement. My similarly sized room would be jammed with gear, while an AT screen
actually works well in creating a calm space that appears larger then it really is.


The long narrow layout would work best with dipole side surrounds, and speaker with a fairly tight radiating pattern.


Either layout comes with significant design challenges.


The OP might want to start with this thread:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ction/996973-small-theater-build-threads.html


And maybe to get a feel for a small room and introduce some concepts he might not be familiar with:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/15-ge...man-cave-phase-2-could-use-help-planning.html


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...-big-screen-miniscule-space.html#post12234581


and maybe the hybrid look of Pocolco's:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-dedicated-theater-design-construction/1036161-pocoloco-theater.html


and Snowcarver went wide with another small build:


http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...its-2-0-mini-2-35-cih-build-10x10-alcove.html


Another long /narrow option with a tight seat seating layout option could be a three wide stadium seating with a bar row: behind.
Thanks for the info Ted, I actually checked some of those threads on the small theater build, before I posted here. Though I found many of them to no longer have pictures. Though I did see the one you posted up there. It looks like he did a very good job. Also, I am not allowed to do PM yet, apparently I need 15 posts :( I didn't see the link with the bar and seating you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Your room is way too narrow for stadium seating. It won't seat that many without taking up all the room and will looked cramped with all the chairs in the middle of the room. Below is a scale diagram of a much more wife friendly design that accommodates seating for six without feeling cramped. Just mount the projector above the sofa and use a short throw lens. There is also lots of storage for media and games for the kids.

Also you can get an inexpensive 50" LCD TV from Costco to put on the wall. Elite screens makes a very affordable pull down screen that can be mounted on wall directly over the TV with a 1.5" wood spacer. Now you have a multipurpose room for TV and games that "doesn't scream home theater". You can still pull down the screen and fire up the projector to watch movies.
This was another option I was looking at, seems like a more pleasing to the eye layout, though it seems less functional at theater room at the same time. While it solves the seating issue, it makes it a little complicated for speaker setup. I have been thinking of recessing the speakers into the wall. The wall you listed where the screen is, I do a lot more with as I have basement space on the other side.

Though I am now wondering about doing a 3 person couch with the long layout with some comfy office chairs behind them. I do have a 7ft height ceiling with a 6'5" soffit that takes up about 1/4 of the room. As much as the theater seats make sense from both a cost and usability, I don't think I can get my wife on board with the idea.
 

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I actually have a 59" deep space behind my acoustically transparent screen. While this is a small house, it does
clean up/disguise an S curve of HVAC trunk, (plus other HVAC) and a bite out of the front corner of my room,
and allows for a pair of massive subs, so giving up some space was a nice trade off I was willing to make. It also hides
a sand filled stage. I don't have a stage in front of the AT screen wall, since one would looked cramped, with the 80"
soffit above.


So you could do a similar "balancing act" of "people space" versus a deeper AT space which could disguise some of that
lower height ceiling depth. Some nice pluses of an AT screen/AT wall approach is much av gear is visually removed from
what is a small space, and with dark finishes, the room feels more spacious then previous builds in this space.


The couch approach can work if you watch the scale of the couch and that you have adequate aisle space. Before I eliminated
ten feet of room off the back of my theater, I had used two low backed leather loveseats with the rear one on a low island style
riser.


I've always liked the Fadum Theater and have often thought a single seating row of seating with that office/desk/swivel seating
approach for a second row might translate well in a smaller space, if used with an AT screen. It certainly is an unique approach.


You should throw up a sketch of your entire basement (with obstacles such as support posts and HVAC), as there might be a far
better space or solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I actually have a 59" deep space behind my acoustically transparent screen. While this is a small house, it does
clean up/disguise an S curve of HVAC trunk, (plus other HVAC) and a bite out of the front corner of my room,
and allows for a pair of massive subs, so giving up some space was a nice trade off I was willing to make. It also hides
a sand filled stage. I don't have a stage in front of the AT screen wall, since one would looked cramped, with the 80"
soffit above.


So you could do a similar "balancing act" of "people space" versus a deeper AT space which could disguise some of that
lower height ceiling depth. Some nice pluses of an AT screen/AT wall approach is much av gear is visually removed from
what is a small space, and with dark finishes, the room feels more spacious then previous builds in this space.


The couch approach can work if you watch the scale of the couch and that you have adequate aisle space. Before I eliminated
ten feet of room off the back of my theater, I had used two low backed leather loveseats with the rear one on a low island style
riser.


I've always liked the Fadum Theater and have often thought a single seating row of seating with that office/desk/swivel seating
approach for a second row might translate well in a smaller space, if used with an AT screen. It certainly is an unique approach.


You should throw up a sketch of your entire basement (with obstacles such as support posts and HVAC), as there might be a far
better space or solution.
I actually used the ikea kitchen designer program to give me a layout of the basement. I am also thinking of using some of the cabinets as built-ins:

http://kitchenplanner.ikea.com/US/U...d719b6ff3b&UIContext=SE_Menu&IsSharedDesign=1

I don't think I have the space to hide everything behind a AT screen :(

As Ikea cabinets are module and I have more than plenty of experience after building my kitchen, I am thinking of building my own cabinet doors and use speaker mesh in place of a panel. Also gives me an excuse to use my router. I might just use shelving instead of drawers in the drawing I made for the above and add cabinet doors w/ mesh panels as well. This could help with heat and allow for IR to reach the devices.

After thinking about this a lot, I think the long approach is the best. I will most likely go with a couch and a couple of comfy office chairs for additional seating.

In the back of the room near the window, I will have more built-ins and have the elliptical flank one side of the built in and a dehumidifier on the other side. These built-ins will server as seating for kids as well.

Thoughts?
 

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I used IKEA cabinets in my kitchen remodel and we used them in out daughter's kitchen remodel.
Have to admit I really like them. Ever seen Semi Handmade's custom doors for use with IKEA cabinetry?


http://www.semihandmadedoors.com/


Are you planning on putting cabinetry up front? Why not put the av rack in the side wall? Ideally, you don't
want to box in your speakers, and have electronic displays up front to spoil the big screen magic.


Could you grab and post a screen capture of your IKEA designer floor plan?


I gather you have your speakers? If not, you could go with in wall front speakers, behind an AT screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I used IKEA cabinets in my kitchen remodel and we used them in out daughter's kitchen remodel.
Have to admit I really like them. Ever seen Semi Handmade's custom doors for use with IKEA cabinetry?


http://www.semihandmadedoors.com/


Are you planning on putting cabinetry up front? Why not put the av rack in the side wall? Ideally, you don't
want to box in your speakers, and have electronic displays up front to spoil the big screen magic.


Could you grab and post a screen capture of your IKEA designer floor plan?


I gather you have your speakers? If not, you could go with in wall front speakers, behind an AT screen.
I heard of the semi-handmade, though Ikea had a color we liked, so we opted for it and our kitchen turned out very good. I was initally thinking about putting in some in wall cabinets under the stairs as that space isn't all that usable and it would be out of the way. Though at the same time it seemed like a lot of work and the throw space seemed like empty space that I could put the AV equipment. I see the point of the speaker in a box issue. I guess I can mount them on the wall or something.

Can I Install my side speakers near the ceiling and kind of point them down? I just don't want someone to bump up against them and knock them off as they will be in the isle way. The rest I was thinking of ear level and place the speakers at the front and back of the room. I made a separate post about the speakers that I have and the guys on that thread recommended I ditch all but 4 :(

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1994466-speakers-should-i-use-my-7-1-5-1-theater.html
 

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I used the IKEA doors too, but future plans are make my own doors. I plan to expand the kitchen
and our doors are now discontinued and even Ebay isn't offering up much.


It's a plus to raise the surround speakers, as that gets them a little further away from the seating.
Dipole side surround work well in a narrow space.


I'd use three of those Infinity's for the front three channels, and maybe the Sony's for the rear surround
channels to start out with. In wall speakers are a good surround speaker option, if done with backer boxes.


You really don't want to box in your front speakers. Sound pans won't be smooth if you do that. (Been there, done
that, years ago. One of many mistakes on my learning curve in my small space.)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I used the IKEA doors too, but future plans are make my own doors. I plan to expand the kitchen
and our doors are now discontinued and even Ebay isn't offering up much.


It's a plus to raise the surround speakers, as that gets them a little further away from the seating.
Dipole side surround work well in a narrow space.


I'd use three of those Infinity's for the front three channels, and maybe the Sony's for the rear surround
channels to start out with. In wall speakers are a good surround speaker option, if done with backer boxes.


You really don't want to box in your front speakers. Sound pans won't be smooth if you do that. (Been there, done
that, years ago. One of many mistakes on my learning curve in my small space.)
Ikea just switched out their line completely after a 25 year run. I am glad I got my cabinets when I did as they don't have a replacement for the finish I got in my kitchen.

I think I will just hang them on the wall. Need them low enough for best sound, yet high enough to avoid any kids playing with it. I think I just need to think less and just finish this basement, I am getting slightly annoyed with my trying to do everything perfect >
 

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Very nice looking kitchen.


I am in the same boat with the older cabinets, and Ebay stock is dwindling, while the Mrs decides if
she is onboard with moving the staircase to expand the kitchen. I expect I'll go with a drawer refrigerator
and build the new island from scratch and do a complimentary finish. Fortunately I bought extra Corian
counter top on a close out deal, figuring I find a use for it.


You actually don't need you surround speakers low. What you do want is to try to get some separation from
the seating. In a narrow space, that is really tricky. The side surround dipole suggestion is straight out
of one of several Dennis Erskine home theater design seminars I took on various HT Cruises.


Nothing wrong with doing things perfect, but there really isn't perfect when dealing with a narrow space.
It's more about making smart compromises.
 

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So this is my first time here and have been reading a little on home theater and looking at a lot of pictures on different setups. I am currently finishing up the framing phase of my project. It is a 21x9.5 room and the thing that is holding me up from finishing is where should I put the screen. If I put the screen on the long wall I will have a short and fat room (landscape) or if I put it on the short wall I will have long and skinny room (portrait). While I thought it wouldn't be this complicated, the location of the screen will impact where I wire the speakers to and I would prefer doing the wiring while I only have the framing up. My goal for this project is to have a warm comfortable place to watch a movie with a good sound system and a good picture/screen. I already have a "family room" with a 32" TV and a living room w/o a TV. We also have our first on the way and we want this room, in the basement, to be a place where our kid can play with their toys as well as a small theater. I feel very stuck about this, because when I do the wiring, it isn't like I can easily change it. I think the kids will get more use out of this room than we will.

Lastly I don't want this to scream theater with the typical theater oversize seats. My wife doesn't like having people at our house so I don't see us needing many seats maybe 4 adult seating, some bean bag chairs for kids, and I guess I could use some folding chairs for other adult guests. The photos I have seen the most of rooms that are similar size are "fat and short". It also seems the speaker setup would be more difficult in a setup in short/fat. The long/skinny room seems like it could more easily break up the room in two areas play/gym and theater.

I don't think we can do a raised seating area at all as we do have a large soffit that will give anyone above 6'4" a headache.


Note: We will have my wife's elliptical in the same room.
Going with a 9.5' throw distance for a projector will seriously limit the projectors you can use, or the size of your screen. Just thought I'd point that out. I thought my throw was short - and I have 14 feet !
 
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