Unless you're looking to reno, extend or build, you can add on a home theatre to your existing floor plan by converting a spare room or partitioning an existing room. The team from Kennards Hire recommends using a laser distance measure to make sure you're getting an accurate read. "It can also help calculate area and volume, and most importantly stores this data for later access so you won't lose track of your measurements." Otherwise, a basement space makes for a fabulous conversion project!
Size it up
Consider the size of the space you've selected - is the room big enough to warrant a decked-out home theatre complete with a projector, or would you be better off opting for a large HD TV? If a projector is your weapon of choice, get your hands on a BenQ 4k UDK projector (as used by Kirsty and Jesse on The Block).
Remember, you don't want to end up sitting too close to the screen. Better Homes and Gardens architect, Peter Colquhoun, recommends measuring the size of your screen (diagonally across) and allowing 1.5-2 times that distance between the screen and seating. This is where layout comes into play as well; do you have the space for tiered levels of seating?
Build your shell
Once you've got your space and layout sorted, the next step is to build the theatre shell or frame. You can opt for a wooden or metal frame and plasterboard or ply for curved walls or an arch framing the screen. Consider playing with the ceiling heights to create interest; recessed panels with LED lighting, or even installing a starry sky feature as in Ronnie and Georgia's theatre on The Block.
Make sure you have a cordless drill, circular saw, and impact screwdriver handy as you'll need these to fit the frame's floor and wall channels and shape the framework for the partitioning wall. Other tools you'll need include a ladder for easy access to the top of the frames, and a small scaffold for painting and fitting the partition material.
If you've opted to section off a larger area, you will need to add a frame to the room to add a back wall. It's best to ensure that you can close off the space completely with a door to help with acoustics.
No one likes noise complaints (or having to make them!) so it's worth ensuring your new home theatre has some kind of sound insulation in place. One type of insulation often used in cinemas and concert halls is acoustic baffling on the outside of the walls and ceilings. This absorbs sound waves and stops them from reflecting and causing echoes while letting you hear sound in greater detail.
Head upstairs and out of the room to ensure you can't hear the sound reverberate throughout the house. You can even hire a sound level meter to make sure you're not going over the limit once you've installed the insulation.
Sound it out
It's worth shopping around and doing some research on the different sound systems available. A 5.1 sound system will have a central speaker, two front corner speakers, two rear corner units, and a subwoofer. A 7.1 sound system adds two more, and a 9.1 another two.
"The more speakers you have, the more you will feel immersed in sound, but it's not entirely necessary to overload the room with speakers if your room is smaller," says the Kennards Hire team.
Cords and cables
If you can, it's worth ensuring that all your cables are run within the ceiling cavity behind the framework you've built - not along the floor (hello, trip hazard!). Make sure your speakers are facing toward where you'll be sitting – you can even fix them to the ceiling.
Set the mood
Picture yourself in a cinema – it's dark, there is dimmed lighting and uber comfy furniture. Now make it residential! The Block's recent influx of home theatres highlighted some of the best tasteful cinema styling we've seen in a long time. Long curtains surrounding the rooms created a sense of luxury whilst helping with sound-proofing the room, lighting came down from dramatic spots or LED runners and seating was a mix of refined recliners and comfy loungers lined with plush throws. Keep things sophisticated by opting for a more neutral palette and playing with textures.
Accessories are a fabulous way to really set the tone in the space; a few vintage movie posters (don't go overboard!), a drinks fridge or mini snack bar – even a retro projector as we saw in Kirsty and Jesse's home theatre on The Block!
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