For some of us less fortunate AV enthusiasts, the luxury of a dedicated home cinema is simply not an option. Very often, the only space available will be some kind of multi-functional room we share with the rest of the family. But we shouldn't let that be an obstacle. The family room is probably already decorated and furnished and it may also already contain a sizeable television. All we have to do now is add a good portion of that authentic ambience we associate with a visit to the local cinema. Below are a few easy and budget-friendly ideas to give your family room that special home theatre look.
Paint it dark
Use rich, dark colours like navy blue or burgundy on the walls. Not only will this reduce the light reflection and enhance the viewing experience, it is a quick and relatively cheap way of adding that theatre look.
Move the furniture
One thing all real cinemas and theatres have in common: the screen is directly in front of the seats. Rearrange your furniture until you've created the same seating affect, but keep in mind the size of your viewing audience--they'll all want a comfortable, unobstructed view of the screen.
Add some theatre-like details
Cinema-inspired details like decorative mouldings and pillars are readily available at garden centres and DIY outlets. They can go a long way to boosting that authentic cinema 'feeling.'
Revamp the lights
Consider fitting some pre-show lighting. Wall sconces and rope lighting can be very effective in creating a dedicated cinema-esque atmosphere.
Alternatively, dim the lights
If you don't fancy running new wiring for sconces then try changing your existing light switches for dimmers; a slow fade out before the film starts adds to the excitement and never fails to get the attention of over-chatty viewers.
Thick curtains similar to those that cover the screen at the local cinema will evoke the effect you're looking for. Plus they can improve the room acoustics and cut out incoming light.
Conceal the components
If it's at all possible, take all the AV devices from the viewing location and put them in a cupboard or a spare room and invest in a new remote that works on radio-frequency. This will transmit device commands through walls and floors and means you can just sit back and relax.
Install a seating-riser
If you have the DIY savvy, building a row or two of simple risers will give your viewing room the same kind of feeling as a mini-stadium. This is a relatively simple job and the materials won't cost the earth. But if you don't trust yourself with the task, ask a friend to help or get a professional.
Install new seats
If you've gone to the effort of building risers, then you may as well add cinema-style seats. make sure the colours match the walls and include essential extras like cup holders and a reclining action.
Hang fabrics on the walls
Most theatre and cinema walls are covered in fabrics. Doing the same thing in your viewing room is an inexpensive way of adding to the cinema-style atmosphere and improving your acoustics.