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What to consider when designing your home cinema

By March 19, 2020July 13th, 2023No Comments

A custom home cinema transforms a corner of your home into a retreat for you and your family.

Slip on some comfortable clothes, pop some corn, and gather to watch a favourite film or new blockbuster in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

However, designing a home cinema requires careful forethought. Rushing ahead into a home cinema design without proper considerations can result in poor sound and light quality—and overall unpleasant viewing experience.

In this article, we’re explaining everything you must consider when designing your home cinema.


The room

The size and shape of the room profoundly affect sound quality and the overall viewing experience.

Room size

The size of the room should be big enough to accommodate your screen and allow for enough distance between the screen and the viewers.

The exact size depends on your screen size, personal preference, and how many guests you’d like to be able to watch the film at once.

Some homeowners prefer an expansive experience, such as what you get at a regular cinema. Others want to build a cosier, den-like experience. Your personal preference can help guide your choice in room size.

Room shape

The best room shape for home cinemas is long rectangular rooms (longer than they are wide), or trapagons. Trapagons are like rectangles, except the short sides are uneven in length.

The worst type of room shape for home cinemas is a square.

Room shape impacts how sound travels in the room, so it’s an important consideration for home cinemas.


Ideally, your home cinema room will have no windows. Windows not only let in intrusive natural light, but they also reflect and amplify audio distortions.

If avoiding windows is impossible, select a room with the fewest number.

Drywall and carpet

Select a room with drywalled walls and wall-to-wall carpeting. This type of room dampens echoes.

Avoid rooms with cement or cement block walls and tile or hardwood flooring.


The sound system and speakers

A great sound system can give your home cinema experience a professional quality sure to impress any guests you invite over for a film.

There are two options for sound systems: Surround sound and stereo.

Surround sound

Surround sound creates the impression that the sounds from the film are happening in the room with you. Sounds can come from behind, from your sides, in front of you, and even above you.

Surround sound systems mimic the experience you get at a regular cinema. However, creating an at-home surround system is the costlier option.

It requires at least five high-quality speakers:

  • One centred below the screen
  • One right of the screen
  • One left of the screen
  • One along the right wall
  • One along the left wall

If your room is long, more speakers will be required along each wall.

This type of sound system is the optimal choice for homeowners who have the budget to create a truly cinematic experience.

Stereo system

Stereo systems, on the other hand, create a sound experience like that of a performance stage. Sound emits from the front and funnels out toward the audience.

Stereo systems only require two speakers: One left of the screen and one right of the screen. For this reason, homeowners who don’t have a large budget should choose a stereo system. It’s better to have a high-quality stereo system than a poor-quality surround sound system.


The screen

You should consider choosing the highest quality screen you can for your home cinema—as the screen is the focal point of this room.

There are two different options: a projector and a television.


We recommend you choose a projector only if you prefer the aesthetic of a projector.

Because, while projectors can be much larger than televisions, they come with shortcomings that are likely to detract from your experience over time.

The greatest example of this is that projector screens are much less bright than televisions, so they require a very dark room and even then, may not be as bright as you’d like.


For most homeowners, choosing a television is the right decision for your home cinema. But you must still decide on the size that’s best for you.

The size of the TV you select depends on your personal preference and the size of your room. However, most experts recommend that a screen fill 40 degrees of your vision field for optimal immersion. In addition, the average person sits about 2.7 meters from the television. So, it can be helpful to consider this when selecting a television.

With this in mind, most home cinemas will do well with a 60-90-inch television.


The lighting

Improper lighting can strain your eyes or make it difficult to immerse yourself into the film. Here’s what to consider with lighting:

Eliminate natural light

If there are windows in your home cinema, cover them with 100% blackout curtains.

Use smart lights that are dimmable

Connect the lights in your home cinema to your smart home system so that you can control them from your seat.

In addition, make sure you select lights that can be dimmed. When the film ends, it’s disorienting to suddenly be flooded with bright lights. Dimmed lights allow your eyes to adjust.

Avoid complete darkness

Your home cinema shouldn’t go completely black when a film is playing. You must be able to see to get up and move around without harming yourself or others.

Select a type of lighting

The type of light you select will create a certain ambiance in your home cinema. You should consider…

  • Overhead lighting (especially if converting an existing room)
  • Recessed lighting in the ceiling
  • Wall sconces that direct light up
  • LED light strips along the floor
  • Seat-side table lamps


Which home cinema system to choose?

We recommend you choose from three quality audio and visual brands offering home cinema systems: Bang and Olufsen, Savant, and Control4.

The brand you select depends on your current smart home system and your personal preferences. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Bang and Olufsen home cinema

Like all Bang and Olufsen products, the Bang and Olufsen home cinema is designed with a modern, sleek aesthetic.

The company does not package a home cinema system directly, so you are free to create your own home cinema system made up of their line of high-quality speakers and televisions.

A Bang and Olufsen home cinema is best for homeowners who value interior design but also want excellence in sound and visuals.

Savant home cinema

Savant is a top-tier audio-visual brand offering a home cinema system that’s already packaged together. You can choose from various options of audio quality in your package.

The Savant home cinema also connects with your smart home and Savant Pro App, making it ideal for homeowners who rely on other Savant products.

Control4 home cinema

Control4 offers the most comprehensive, pre-packaged home cinema experience.

In addition, the Control4 system allows you to customize it for your smart home. For example, you could configure your system to dim the lights automatically when the film begins or pause the film when an interruption occurs, such as a ringing doorbell.

The Control4 home cinema is best for homeowners who are familiar with Control4 and want an immersive theatre experience.


Contact Grand AV to configure your home cinema

We can help you choose the right elements of your home cinema and properly install and configure it so that you can enjoy the home cinema of your dreams.

Contact us to learn more.


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