to design and equip a home theater
Goff is seeing a new trend among
his clients on the West Coast. Because high-quality
projectors are now smaller, they are being
installed in media rooms. You can buy them
cheaply at warehouse stores and even big-box
retailers. The projector is placed in the
ceiling, where it can be hidden until it drops
down when used. "Push a button, and it
drops out of the ceiling and turns on. Push
another button and it goes up to the ceiling
and is hidden away," Goff says.
Some homeowners like the projector
system because you can have a 9-foot to 10-foot
screen that lowers for viewing, more like
what you'd see in a small movie theater. With
a plasma or flat-screen television, you get
a maximum 60-inch viewing area.
If you are determined to have the latest in sound and visual equipment,
check out the big-box stores. Some homes are
installing wireless systems that can be controlled
with a remote and some remotes have a small
computer screen from which to control DVD
players, blinds and lighting. The hub is a
small computer room in your home.
What about comfort?
For the best seat in the house, Sopata recommends
theater-style recliners that are more comfortable
than what you'll find at movie theaters. These
recliners are fully outfitted with cup holders
as well as massage and vibration systems that
work in conjunction with your film to create
a realistic adventure. However, you don't
want oversize chairs if there is hardly any
walking room. When you need to get up and
go the kitchen, there should be enough space
to get by. An interior designer can help configure
the space properly.
Sometimes, Goff recommends couches
because some people like to watch TV or eat
while lying down. Small tables can be placed
in between for plates or snacks.
If you have young children,
purchase smaller, kid-size chairs for the
front row. Older people or people who have
limited strength or mobility may have a hard
time getting in and out of soft home theater
seats. They will need a chair with a firmer
seat and arms to help get up or down from
the chair, including "lift chairs"
with motorized lifts that gently push a person
out of the chair.
Flooring and window treatments
Both Sopata and Goff prefer carpeting in a
media room. Carpeting provides comfort and
intimacy. For the windows, a two-layer system
is the best treatment to block out light.
Use a blind or under shade with a block-out
lining. Then use a floor-to-ceiling drapery
treatment to help create that theater experience.