Renovations: Home Theaters

No disrespect intended to snow sports enthusiasts, but many of us choose to stay home and opt for spectator activities during the heart of a Northeastern winter. To reduce the risk of cabin fever, consider transforming a room in your home into a full-time or part-time home theater. You don’t need a celebrity-sized house to enjoy a home theater. You can create one within both your budget and the size of space you have to work with.

Start with a room or area in your home that has wall space and room for comfy seating. If you have multiple options, a larger room will allow for a bigger screen, but is no longer a necessity. Today’s wide-screen high-definition televisions allow for closer seating. For a 42-inch screen, for example, a viewing distance of approximately 5.5 feet to 10.5 feet is recommended. Hanging the TV on a wall capitalizes on viewing distance and floor space, and creates a theater ambiance. New HDTVs have reached affordable price points. You may be able to justify purchasing the wall bracket and paying for professional installation. If you have the space and want a larger screen, consider a ceiling-mounted projector.

A basement is a perfect location. You can blast the sound more easily without disturbing the rest of the house and minimal windows eliminate the need for blackout shades for daylight viewing. But a spare bedroom can work well, especially if it is outfitted with moveable seating so you can convert it for other purposes when needed.

Once you’ve chosen a location, choose equipment to fit. A DVD player with a surround sound system is easy. Blu-ray DVD players can handle both Blu-ray and standard DVDs.

Just don’t forget comfortable seating. Chairs with arms are a necessity for regular movie watching, but oversized floor pillows can double as seating when you have more guests than anticipated. Your home theater is your haven to relax and enjoy movies without sticky floors and other people’s cell phones, so make it your own.