Home Cinema Room Design

No matter how good the equipment purchased, the home cinema room design is fundamental to any great room. 

DESIGNING your home
cinema room

We are proud that two of our home cinema designers have been trained by THX in Home Theatre Design. As such we have a very clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve when designing a home cinema room. First and foremost, we want to create acoustic clarity where every piece of dialogue or sound effect is crystal clear. Then we need to ensure that all sounds are placed exactly where the Director intended them to be in your room – this is acoustical focus. The home cinema designer will then consider envelopment. This is the art of creating a sound field that ‘envelops’ the listener/viewer – you will feel totally immersed in the movie! Finally, we will consider ‘seat to seat consistency’. 

The goal is to make sure that everyone gets the same experience. This consistency can be difficult to achieve as each room has its own sweet spot (or sweet triangle) but it is important to be aware of. We will now look at some of the things that impact on home cinema room design and some important tips! 

Home Cinema ROOM DESIGN - THE ROOM

Not every home cinema room or media room is going to be the perfect size and shape. Often, unless the room is being designed specifically to watch movies, compromises must be made. Though while a room might not be perfect, a good home cinema designer can isolate an area of the room (proposed seating area) to maximise the acoustic and visual impact. In a perfect world, a home cinema room would be rectangular in shape with the screen on one of the shorter walls. The walls and ceilings would be flat and smooth, and any doors and windows would be behind the seating area. 

Any external noise should be mitigated, and the room should be kept as dark as possible. Dark walls and black out blinds are often a staple feature of home cinema room design. It’s important to note that media rooms often have other design/performance priorities and they are discussed here. 

 

You may want to explore what one of our interior design experts has to say about how to make your cinema room aesthetically beautiful! 

THE ACOUSTICAL FRAMEWORK

When our home cinema designers are presented with a room, it is their job to make it sound as good as possible! It isn’t luck that makes the room sound amazing, the home cinema room design is created in line with the Acoustical Framework below: 

 

  • Establish primary seat location 
  • Determine sub-woofer placement 
  • Determine LCR placement 
  • Determine surround and Atmos speaker placement 
  • Establish acoustic treatment strategy 

 

All the above are carefully designed with the aim of controlling sound reverberation in the room and managing early sound reflections. Ultimately, we do everything we can to make your home cinema room sound fantastic! 

HOME CINEMA ROOM DESIGN - THE EQUIPMENT

 

Selecting the right audio-visual equipment for a room size/shape is important. The home cinema room designer will consider the individual characteristics of the room before selecting the appropriate equipment. A brighter room will require a higher lumen projector while a larger room may need additional sub-woofers to create an acceptable level of bass. When it comes to choosing the right brand or product for your cinema room, we will work with you to find the right balance between budget and performance. Our home cinema room design team will explain why products are being proposed and what impact fewer/alternative speakers may have on the performance. With the growth of 4K content and the prices falling, we are installing 4K projectors as standard now.  

 

Find out what our experts consider the best home cinema projectors and learn more about home cinema speakers. 

HOME CINEMA ROOM DESIGN - ROOM SET-UP

A home cinema room design can be configured in many ways. The most appropriate speaker configuration for you depends on your budget and the room size and layout. A traditional surround sound system would normally consist of 3 front speakers, 2 surround speakers and a sub-woofer. This is referred to as a 5.1 system. Adding an extra 2 surround speakers (usually at the rear of the room) will create a 7.1 system. Depending on budget, our home cinema designers would normally recommend adding a second sub-woofer to give a much more even bass.  

In recent years, with the launch of immersive technologies like Dolby Atmos, home cinema rooms have started incorporating 2 or more ceiling (or height) speakers. This allows you to be completely immersed in the movie and enables us to place sound effects anywhere in the room. For example, our Harrogate showroom has a 7.2.4 set-up, while in the southern demonstration suites you can experience a wide range of different home cinema systems! Having ‘height’ channels provides the sensation of the action happening all around and above you!   

HOME CINEMA ROOM DESIGN - THE SCREEN

Most of our home cinema installations utilise a projector and screen combination, so the screen itself is an integral part of the home cinema room design. First, we need to get the screen size correct: too wide can cause motion sickness and distort the image while too small…. well what’s the point! Our home cinema designers will suggest the right size screen for your room; considering the seating position, size of the room and the resolution of the image. The second thing to consider is the aspect ratio of the screen. In most rooms this is either 16:9 (the format in which most TV content is produced) or 2.35:1 (the format in which most movies are produced). 

Through our consultation, we will establish your viewing preferences and suggest the best projector screen for you. We might even suggest the ultimate screen masking solution which can switch between both aspect ratios – giving you the best of both worlds! Finally, the cinema design team will decide on the material and fitting of the screen. A lot of our cinema rooms use acoustically transparent, fixed frame screens. This allows us to place the LCR speakers directly behind the screen, so the audio comes straight at you! Other options include recessing the projector screen in the ceiling, but this is used more in a media room installation. 

ACOUSTIC TREATMENT

Home cinema designers use RT60 to measure the reverberation in the room. Our goal is to achieve an RT60 level of between 250-500 milliseconds. That is the time it takes for reverberation to decay to 60 decibels. Sometimes, we may need to ‘treat’ the room to achieve this. 

 

As part of the home cinema room design, we might suggest one of the basic types of treatment:  

  • Absorption 
  • Diffusion  
  • Reflection  

 

Our design team will suggest the best ways to treat your room. 

THE GOLDEN RULES

Even if you don’t want to be an expert in cinema room design it is useful to know the basic rules that our home cinema designers are working too. Here are the golden rules that will make sure you get the best possible performance from audio visual equipment: (as described by THX) 

 

  • Do not place listeners close to speakers or walls 
  • Correct sub placement is important 
  • The LCR speakers must be positioned in ‘line of sight’ of all listeners 
  • Surround and Atmos speaker placement are critical for perfect envelopment 
  • Achieve proper reverberation vs absorption  
  • Ensure the speakers and amplifiers are the right size for the room 

HOME CINEMA ROOM
DESIGN & INSTALLATION

Acoustic Pixel design and install home cinema rooms across the uk. 

wE HAVE our own showroom in north yorkshire and access to others in berkshire, london and hertfordshire. get in touch today and let’s work together to deliver an epic home cinema room

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