What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Home Theater?

Nicole Etolen

Making a DIY, or "do it yourself," home theater system can be a good way to save money and create a completely personalized media room. The best tips for creating a home theater system include setting a budget, deciding on an overall theme, and choosing a layout that makes best use of the room. Researching equipment is also important, as some equipment may not be compatible with others.

Some home theater systems use a projector.
Some home theater systems use a projector.

The first step in creating a DIY home theater is setting a budget and sticking to it. Home theater equipment can become extremely expensive, and it is very tempting to give into a sales pitch designed to lure customers into purchasing items that exceed their budgets. While the appeal of a slightly larger television, a louder speaker system, or a more advanced movie player may be strong, blowing a budget on little extras means less money for the important stuff and a higher likelihood of experiencing buyer’s remorse.

The overall aesthetic of a home theater should be considered when designing it.
The overall aesthetic of a home theater should be considered when designing it.

Once the budget is set, the next step in creating a DIY home theater is deciding which equipment is needed to create the best experience. A home theater needs some type of display system, such as a television set or projector screen. The size of the room should determine the size of the screen. A very large screen can overwhelm a small room and make it difficult to find a good viewing angle. The sound system is also important, as too small a system may not carry sound adequately throughout a large room.

Set a a budget for the DIY home theater and stick to it.
Set a a budget for the DIY home theater and stick to it.

The best tip for choosing equipment for a DIY home theater is to research all of the options and compare the features of different brands against each other. Reading consumer reviews can help narrow down the choices. Creating a checklist with a row for each potential option is a good way to stay organized. Checking each option’s compatibility with other equipment is also very important.

Comfortable seating is another important factor in designing a DIY home theater. The options range from inexpensive beanbags to mid-range sofas to specially installed theater-style seating. While style may be important to those looking for a specific theme, comfort should be the first factor to consider when choosing seating.

Carpeting, wall paint, and curtains all play important roles in creating the proper ambiance of a DIY home theater. Carpets help keep the sound contained to the room rather than blasting throughout the rest of the house, while black-out drapes can keep outside light from interfering with the theater experience. Wall paint should be a dark, matte color to reduce glare. Another option is to cover the walls with fabric, which will absorb light rather than reflect it.

Comfortable seating is an important factor in designing a DIY home theater.
Comfortable seating is an important factor in designing a DIY home theater.

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