What to Consider Before Creating Your Very Own Home Theater

With modern technology, having your own personal movie theater is only a few paychecks away. No longer limited to the super-rich, the average homeowner can host their own private movie screenings with a few well-planned steps. Here are some strategies to help you channel your inner designer-ninja to create the best looking space for a home theater.


The basic equipment you need to start your own home movie theater is a projector and screen. A new digital projector costs roughly $2,000, but there are used ones available on Amazon for a few hundred dollars. Screens can range from the super fancy (a couple hundred dollars) to the super functional ($50 or less). At Ikea, you can find screens for just $15.

Sound System

The silent movie era is long gone (even though there are some great silent film classics), so you absolutely need to invest in a high quality sound system. If you’re going all out, you can have a custom homebuilder install a surround sound system in your home inside the walls. More economically-minded movie watchers can opt for a wireless speaker system from Sony that costs $80. A sound bar system is another viable option and ranges from $100 to $400 depending on the brand.


You’re going to need a defined space for your at-home movie theater. One expert says the ideal space is 20 feet long by 13 wide, which should be isolated from the rest of the house; presumably so you can crank the surround sound without disturbing other housemates. If you’re a handyman or you’ve hired a contractor, make sure your space is in a wing off of the family room. You could also convert a spare bedroom into the perfect movie experience. Steer clear from windows to reduce glare and avoid blocking entryways to common areas.

Curtain Call

If your movie theater is positioned in the family room, you can seal it off by hanging a dark curtain to separate the spaces and to give it that extra ambiance of a theater, as shown here. If you can’t avoid windows in your movie theater, invest in some heavy duty blackout curtains to keep the light and noise at a minimum.

Starry Night

Having a starry night sky above your home theater has long been a winning trend. If you really want to make your theater something special, paint the ceiling a mural of a starry sky. You could also follow this how-to and install naturally twinkling fiber optics into a dark ceiling.


Perhaps the most important of all movie watching experiences, seating is crucial to the comfort of the viewing experience. No matter how good the movie is, if your seat is bad, the experience is tainted. Find seats that are comfortable – test them out to make sure. You could also opt for seats with built-in cup holders, like these. Quality home theater seating doesn’t come cheap, but you could stay within budget if you choose discounted sofas, futons, or used recliners.

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