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How to Build a Killer Home Theatre Room

From sound systems to projectors, here is what you need to know before show time

So, you’ve made the leap and decided it’s time to build a home theatre room. You’re not alone! Homeowners across North America love these cozy, well-designed spaces that are perfect for entertaining family and friends.

“A home theatre room is a great escape for any family that wants to enjoy a night at the movies, or the sports stadium in their own private box,” explains Clinton Howell, founder and owner of H2 Systems Inc. and director of Custom Residential Sales and Marketing with Design Electronics.

“Home theatres are the ‘in-thing’ these days as they create a dynamic and unique entertainment experience and they are a great investment for your home on many levels.”

Before you start making the popcorn and selecting your favourite flicks, Howell offers these tips to ensure your home theatre experience is just right.

Tune in to acoustics

Before constructing your home theatre room, you need to understand the importance of acoustics.

“Poor acoustics will diminish your home theatre experience,”says Howell.

“If you want to have that trademark sound, consider incorporating acoustical treatments for your walls and ceiling as most walls are made of drywall or plaster and are highly reflective acoustically. I would strongly recommend treating them with carefully selected acoustically tuned wall panels. To do this most effectively, you will need to hire a consultant who knows the secrets of good room-tuning. When it comes to floors, I recommend going with a thick and luxury style carpet. If you optimize your room acoustics, your sound will be more exciting and truer to the experience that the sound engineers had planned for you, and you will get to enjoy that full home theatre experience you’ve dreamed of.”

Get the right sound system

The perfect speakers are next on the list. “Having the right sound system is very important,” he explains. “Without the right sound, there really is no point in having a home theatre room.”

He adds, “You want to choose speakers that match the style and theme of your home theatre room and the space you are working with. For a basic home theatre room, speakers will cost you anywhere from $500 to $5,000. On the higher-end, they will run you anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, and the sky is the limit.”

Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Definitive Technology and M&K are just a few of the companies who make great speaker systems for home theatre use.

Picture Perfect: Why Projectors Are Best

While some opt for a big flat screen TV for their home theatre room, Howell says more and more homeowners are realizing the tremendous value that projectors have to offer. Much like HD TVs, projectors range in price, from $1,000 to $10,000 and up. There is no shortage of 1080p and 4K projectors on the market from companies like Sony, JVC, Barco, Sim2 and Epson, which all offer a range that will suit your budget and your space.

“Before selecting a projector, it’s important to know where exactly it will be used,” he says. “If you have a room with some ambient light, like the living room, then you will want a projector with high light output, for example 4,000+ lumens. For higher-end home theatre installations in the basement where lighting is dimmable and fully controlled and pitched black can be achieved—where you can’t see your own hands in front of your face—there are fantastic home theatre projectors in the 1080p and variations of 4K resolutions with light outputs ranging from 1,000 and up that are suitable for these darker dedicated home theatre environments.”

Portable projectors are an option too for backyard movie nights and room-to-room use, but Howell says an entry level projector may be best in this case, as all that movement increases the risk of damage.

Screen time

If you’re using a projector, you’ll need a screen too, and Howell says there’s plenty of choice on the market. They come rolled up, so they’re easy to move and set up—and they deliver that real movie feel.

“They provide a much bigger picture and they provide that true ‘night-at-the-movie-experience.’ They can fit into rooms where the equivalent sized flat-screen would be impossible… assuming the same size was even available.”

Call a pro

As with any major investment, it pays to call a pro before you start building and buying. “Any homeowner who wants a ‘killer home theatre room’ should always consult with a home theatre professional,” says Howell. “They will walk you through the process and help select the right technology based on your needs. Make sure that you do your homework though because not all home theatre professionals are created equal.”