If you think a media room is a simple TV on the wall with a couple of random speakers awkwardly placed underneath, you’re terribly missing out.
A media room can be turned into a full-blown home theater with cozy sofas and an acoustics system that catapults you right into the movie you’re watching. In addition, when the lights are out, you can have a great living space that serves as a den.
Sounds like something that might tear a hole right through your wallet? Not necessarily. Keep on reading to learn all the tips and tricks on how to plan and execute a media room setup.
The Media Room Setup Guide: The Essentials
There are a couple of critical categories that you’ll need to tackle to have a true fully-fledged media room in your house.
Yet, keep in mind that the variance in total cost will depend on the folks you hire (if you’re doing construction work), the media equipment, and the type of materials you use.
Therefore, you’re in complete control of your budget. Whether you’re going for the uber-extravagant home theater or the cozy media room, the upcoming steps can all be tailored to your budget.
1. Invest in Your Environment
You wouldn’t believe the difference in selecting the right room and environment for your media room can make in terms of performance.
If you have the opportunity to build a whole room from the ground up, make sure to set the room’s dimensions to be a rectangle.
If not, just make sure to go for a room that’s as far away from a square as possible. Unfortunately, square rooms can be a nightmare for your acoustics.
Now that we have a good room on hand, start checking the surface materials available. For instance, materials like tile and hardwood tend to bounce sound around an enclosed space.
Select absorptive materials like carpet, if you can. However, if getting rid of all the hard surfaces around the room is out of the question, you can cover these reflective materials with rugs and pillows.
Furthermore, if you have drywall walls or even plaster walls (as common in older houses), you can fix the issue by installing some inexpensive lightweight acoustic boards. You’ll find those available in the majority of home improvement stores.
Also, you can have your carpet installer cover the walls with indoor/outdoor carpeting that’s a bit on the thin side. These are similar to the carpeting you find covering the walls of movie theaters. They work like a charm.
Next, you’ll want to check out the amount of natural vs artificial light in the room.
If you’re using a room that gets a lot of natural light, that might be problematic when you want to watch a movie in the afternoon. This light will hit your screen and reflect, which —in turn— will make things unclear.
The solution for that pesky little issue is getting the right window treatments to control the amount of natural light in the room.
You can also tie the window treatments into a home automation system for remote operation and energy savings if that fits in your budget.
Yet, if your media room is in the basement or doesn’t get much natural light, you’re all set to go.
2. Your Sound System Is Everything
After taking into consideration all the acoustics tips mentioned above, it’s time to talk about sound equipment.
When building a true media room, you’ll need a solid surround system to get the full experience. The paltry built-in speakers that come with your TV just won’t do.
Getting a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system can transform your media room. These are five or seven speakers in addition to a subwoofer. The thing is, with such an extensive surround system comes cables. Lots and lots of cables.
In a perfect world, you can wire your room for sound before the drywall goes up. If not, you can go the design route with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers that erase the need for freestanding or bookshelf speakers.
Also, you can check out wireless speakers or simulated surround using a soundbar that can sit pretty right under your TV.
To guarantee a smooth sound operation, you’ll need to get a receiver. This will power your speakers as well as handle switching between your different sources, like your vlc player for mac and a DirecTV receiver.
3. Aim for the Perfect Picture
Let’s talk about video display. A great sound system will take you far, but you need the right type of television to bring your media room to life.
In the current market, we have three main TV technologies: LCD, LED and plasma. Picking the right one for your media room will depend on a couple of factors.
For instance, if the media room gets more natural light (even with window treatments), then an LCD or an LED would be a great option for you.
LCDs and LEDs are brighter than plasma. However, they don’t have the same level of contrast and black levels that the plasma screens exhibit.
Moreover, once you have your screen on hand, you’ll need to position it just right. For the best cinematic image, place your seating area at a distance of 1.5 times the diagonal size of your screen.
It sounds complicated at first. But, all you’ll need to measure is the diagonal of your screen, then place your seating away from it at that distance.
4. Set up Your Auxiliaries
There are a couple of essentials that might be as obvious to the home theater enthusiast at first.
For example, you’ll need a solid piece of entertainment furniture to place all your media components. This is where your DVD collection goes, as well as your wire management, and your video game equipment.
In addition, make sure you go with a piece that has proper ventilation. You’d be surprised at how warm some of your devices can get in an enclosed space.
Finally, you’ll want to have a strong internet network hooked up to your system.
You can go with WiFi or an ethernet connection. Just make sure it can handle the streaming (or downloading) without plummeting the rest of your house’s internet speed to the ground.
Ready to Enjoy Your Media Room?
We truly believe that your house can be a place where dreams come true. All you need is a bit of creativity and work, and you’d be astonished to see the results.
Now, with all of the media room setup tips that you need, you can build a fantastic media room without breaking the bank or your basement walls.
Furthermore, if you’re thinking about any other new home improvement projects, check out our blog. We have a plethora of guides on home renovations as well as real estate tips and tricks.