Home Theater

Picking The Right Room for Your Home Theater

When people begin to plan out a home theater, they start looking at displays, speakers, and seats. They do lots of research into display technologies and agonize over whether to buy tower or bookshelf speakers. Do they want Atmos, multiple rows of seats, and how are they going to pay for all this? The one thing they don’t think about? The room. And that’s a shame. Because the room is one of the most forgotten and important parts of your home theater. Picking the right room for your home theater is essential.

Bigger is Not Better

You may look at that great room and think it would make a great theater, but we’d highly recommend you choose a smaller space. Smaller rooms are easier to fill with bass, placing speakers is much easier, and you won’t have to share the space with other activities. When examining a room for how well it will work for a home theater, don’t just look for a place for the TV. That’s the easy part. Ask yourself, “Where will the side surrounds go?” And then take it further. Will you want Atmos? You’ll want attic access if you do. The larger the room, the more likely you’ll need surround back speakers. Where will those go? And remember, to get even bass across the entire seating area, you’ll need at least two subwoofers. Where will those go? A large room will require a lot of bass to fill it. That means large (and expensive) subs. Picking a smaller room will make placing everything easier and will save you money.

This is NOT a good room for a home theater for…all the reasons.

Location, Location, Location (preferably far away from bedrooms)

The location within the home is a very important aspect of picking the right room for your home theater. How close is the room to the bedrooms? If they are close, you’ll either have to turn it down when people are trying to sleep (boo!) or invest in expensive soundproofing. On top of that, how close are your neighbors? If they are close, or you live in a space that has common walls, you’ll want to take that into consideration as well. Soundproofing is usually near impossible in existing structures (easier to do when the room is being built). Keeping your home theater as far away physically from people that might not appreciate your bone-crushing bass can save you a lot of drama.

Doors are Your Friend

Bass doesn’t care where your theater “area” is. It fills the whole space. The smaller that space, the easier it is to fill. Open-concept areas are great for entertaining friends, but terrible rooms for a home theater. Maybe you have a smaller room but it doesn’t have a door. That lack of door means the bass will try to fill anything that isn’t enclosed. Adding a door will not only make it easier to fill with bass, but will help reduce sound transmission to other spaces. It won’t eliminate that sound transmission, but it will help.

Not this many doors. This is too many doors.

Light? No Thanks!

Everyone wants natural light in their homes (except vampires maybe). But light and home theaters don’t mix. When picking the right room for your home theater, check the window situation. If there are lots of windows and you can’t easily cover them with blackout curtains, you’ll want to pick a different room. If you pick a room with lots of ambient light, you’ll limit your display options. Want a projection setup? Light control is essential. Even with a direct view flat-panel display, light on the screen will wash out the image. A room where you can control the light will make a much better home theater than one where you can’t.

Right Room = Right Angles

There are a lot of reasons to want a rectangular room. It makes placing your dual subwoofers a breeze. It makes placing your speakers much easier. Plus, most rooms are rectangles. If you have one room that is a rectangle, and another that is an “L” or another shape, pick the rectangle.


Picking the right home theater isn’t hard. Pick an enclosed room that is a rectangle that isn’t too big, doesn’t have too many windows, and doesn’t share its function with anything else. Preferably a room that is as physically far away from any bedroom or whiney neighbors as possible. Easy! Now, time to shop for speakers.

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