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Theatre room ideas and setup - plus how to host a movie night at home!
'Everyone loves the movies' is a common phrase you hear during ads at the cinema - and it rings true for almost all of us. But when cinemas had to shut down during the pandemic, many of us had to make do with holding movie night at home. to a surge in the creation of home theatre rooms, where you can replicate the comfort and quality of the movies in your own house. It's truly the best of both worlds - all the luxury and quality of a large cinema with the flexibility and casual cosiness of your own home.
In this article we'll take you through setting up the ultimate home cinema, no matter the size of the room. Then, check out our handy tips and tricks for hosting movie night at home!
- How do I create a home cinema?
- How do I create a movie night experience at home?
- What movie food and drink can I make at home?
- What furniture should I use in my home theatre room?
How do I create a home cinema?
When you decide to build a theatre room at home, it can be as expensive and time-consuming as you like. You can dedicate a room in a newly-built home to movies, upgrade your living room or convert an empty space into your home cinema space - all are valid options that can create a fun home movie experience. We have heaps of home cinema ideas you can try - check them out below!
Where should I make my home theatre room?
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when deciding where you are going to create your home theatre room.
- How much space do you need? If you are planning on having a large group of friends over for movies, you may need a larger area like a typical living or rumpus room. If it is a special area to share with your movie-loving partner, you may only need a space the size of an office or small bedroom. Figure out how much room you will need for seating, as well as any extra space you'll want to have on hand for things like side tables and footrests.
- How much space do you have? While you may love the idea of entertaining your extended family with a movie night at home, your living space may mean you need to come up with some small home theatre room design ideas. Consider transforming spaces like an attic, creating hidden nooks for your sound system and taking advantage of shelving for your media.
- How much noise will you be generating? Impressive sound is a cornerstone of the movie experience, but caution needs to be taken if you have thin walls or are living particularly close to other people. If you are worried about the sounds of your home theatre room carrying, consider noise-cancelling home features like blockout curtains, thick rugs or carpet underfoot and insulated doors and walls. Close gaps in windows and under doors with draft stoppers or weatherstripping tape.
- How much natural light comes into the room? There's nothing worse than an errant beam of light diffusing its glow over your screen and ruining your view. Having a mostly dark movie room lit up by stray light from under a door or curtain can also be distracting. Ensure any windows in your movie room can be completely covered when needed, and prevent light from sneaking in other ways with blockout curtains, door stoppers or by closing other doors in your home where the light may be coming from.
Once you have decided where to set up your home cinema room, it's time to fill it with the things that will turn it from a spare space into your home theatre room!
TV vs projector?
One of the key choices faced by people setting up a home theatre room is what to watch their movies on - a TV or projector. There are some good points in favour of either, but here's the rundown for those of you still undecided about the TV vs projector debate.
- Can show movies in HDR, 3D and up to 8k resolution.
- Have great quality colour contrast and brightness.
- Come with built-in speakers.
- Are easy to set up.
- Modern TVs come with some streaming platforms already installed.
- Can be used to create a huge image, bigger than any TV can produce.
- Can be used on any flat wall or blank screen.
- Are not backlit and so are easy on the eyes.
- Have great colour quality.
The price of quality TVs has become more affordable these days, so which one you want really comes down to what is more important to you - screen size or movie quality? Which one you choose can also influence what other home cinema ideas you can implement, as they both need different add-ons to function. For the big screen experience a projector will serve you quell, but if crisp, quality images are what's important to you, opt for a large TV instead.
Surround sound is a great way to immerse yourself into the home cinema experience, and you have a few options for sound when it comes to any movie room ideas. If you don't want to rely on your TV's inbuilt speakers, consider:
- A soundbar - a long set of connected speakers that sits underneath your TV
- A centre speaker - used mainly for spoken dialogue, this speaker sits just under your TV as well.
- A subwoofer - a large single speaker that creates the deep, bassy sounds in dramatic movies and improves the overall clarity of your sound system.
- Extra external speakers - these smaller speakers go to the left and right of your TV, often in each corner of a classic square room. They will ensure you feel right in the middle of your chosen movie!
We recommend combining a subwoofer, external speakers and a centre speaker for the ultimate cinema experience.
How you lay out the seating in your home theatre will depend greatly on the size of your chosen seating and the size of the room itself.
In classic cinemas, the seating is aligned in straight lines spreading horizontally across the room, and this is a solid setup to use at home as well. However if you have many seats set up, people at the ends of the row won't be able to see the screen as well as those in the middle.
A curved chair layout can start when you have three or more seats, and offers a more intimate viewing as people will be slightly facing each other. Everyone will have a good view of the screen, however this more personal seating style can be a little awkward for watching exciting events like sports games on TV, and it can also take up more room.
Whichever style you use, make sure there is plenty of room around seating for people to move freely and that there is a good distance between chairs and the screen. If you need some small home theatre room design ideas, consider creating levelled seating so you can have seats packed in close together at different heights. This will allow more people to fit in the home theatre room while also being able to see the screen comfortably.
How do I create a movie night experience at home?
Now that you have the necessities of a home cinema set up, it's time to create that luxurious large-screen experience at home and throw the ultimate movie night! There are so many movie night ideas out there it's impossible to list them all, but here are some we think will really help create a fantastic movie experience at home.
The moment when the lights dim at the movies means things are about to get serious, and you can replicate this at home with remotely-activated dimmer lights. You can also line your walkways with fairy lights for that 'red carpet' experience.
Bring the comforting smells of the cinema into your home theatre room with a diffuser or incense sticks. Popcorn, salted caramel candy and even the smell of fast food like burgers and hot dogs can all remind people of the movies, and you can find them in diffuser-friendly oils all ready to spread around your home cinema.
What movie food and drink can I make at home?
Not only will classic movie foods and drinks fill your home movie room with the smells of the silver screen, but they're perfect for munching on during the flick as well!
Movie food and snacks
Your first port of call in any movie situation is, of course, fresh popcorn. Whether it's made in the microwave or on the stove, hot popcorn with butter and salt smells incredible and, somehow, tastes even better! Some creative movie room ideas include having the popcorn stand or popcorn maker inside the movie room itself so guests can help themselves throughout the flick.
Balance the salty with a classic movie sweet treat, the choc top. You can make your own at home using an ice cream maker and some melted chocolate, but they're also available to buy from supermarkets in flavours like vanilla, chocolate, boysenberry and strawberry. Packets of lollies and chocolates are also easy to much on - have a few different varieties available for your guests.
Hot foods like nachos, burgers and hot dogs can all be made at home, plus they're varied enough that you can go as classic or fancy as you like.
Balance out all your tasty movie treats with some equally delicious drinks - and since you're providing them yourself, you have total control over how elaborate your drinks become. Classic movie staples like soft drinks, milkshakes and slushies are all great ways to stay hydrated and are easy to buy. You can also go a little fancy - a glass of champagne with your favourite rom-com, coffee and tea for period dramas or a delicious smoothie for an indie flick are all viable options to tempt your family and friends with. Fun movie room ideas include having slushie makers or a tea and coffee stand inside the home cinema at the back in the form of a home bar.
What furniture should I use in my home theatre room?
Watching movies involves sitting still for a few hours, so you want to make sure your seating is as comfortable as possible. Movie recliners are available to purchase for use in homes, but if you don't want to dish out for a set of these luxurious seats, then don't worry, we've got some great theatre room ideas that will keep everyone comfortable!
If you want to have your guests seated together on a couch, make sure it has a high enough back so that guests can recline their heads comfortably. If you have the leg space, footstools and ottomans will allow people to put their feet up, which will take the level of comfort up a notch or two. Chair pads are also a useful add-on for shorter movie-goers or for those who need a little extra padding. If people would rather sprawl about on the floor, soft beanbags and floor cushions are handy for singles to nestle into, while cushion and pillow piles are great for kids who might want to fidget on the floor.
Make it comfy
Get everyone cosy with a few little additions that are sure to go a long way. Blankets and throws are delightful for wrapping around shoulders or draping across laps, plus they can add a little extra luxury to your home movie room.
A few extra cushions on the couch will allow movie watchers to arrange themselves comfortably - plus a cushion to cuddle during a scary or sad scene is always a bonus!
Lastly, you may want to include an intermission halfway through the movie. This allows everyone to stretch their legs, grab food and use the bathroom if needed without missing any of the action.
Deck out your home theatre with Spotlight
For all the bits and bobs you need to make the cosiest home theatre room ever, check out our home décor selection online! You can choose from a variety of payment options, then have your order either delivered to your home or be ready for pickup at your local Spotlight store with click and collect.
For more great decorating ideas, check out our online blog. And let our handy buying guides help you make the right purchases for your home theatre every time!