Home theater design is all about creating the perfect environment for the images and sounds from your favorite movies to flourish. Every little corner of the room is taken into account to make sure your speakers, screens, and projector are given the necessary space to shine. When we're brought in on retrofit jobs to fix old DIY home theaters, we often come upon the same design mistakes that can result in blurred images, muffled sound and an uncomfortable viewing experience. Below we go over some of these common challenges and how we can help you overcome them.
SEE MORE: 4 Steps to Designing the Ultimate Home Theater System
1. Uncomfortable Seating Arrangements
As you begin work on your home theater system, you need to figure out how you want to use it. Will it be primarily used by the family? Then a communal couch where everyone can huddle together under a blanket may be the best option. If you’re going to use it with friends, it may be more comfortable if everyone has their own leather recliner. If you don’t consider this from the start, you may end up with an awkward arrangement that ruins the viewing experience.
2. Fitting All the Necessary Speakers
Most of today’s Blu-ray releases are mixed for 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. In this type of layout, you'd need nine speakers in your room: two in front, a center speaker, two surround speakers in the back and two in-ceiling or upward-facing speakers. Many clients struggle to find the right way to fit all these speakers in their theater without ending up with a clutter of equipment. Often they’ll resort to an incomplete system or hide speakers behind furniture—resulting in muffled, uneven sound. Instead, you can opt for in-ceiling and in-wall speakers that disappear into your décor. You can also have perforated screens that let you place speakers directly behind your display.
3. Sitting Too Close to the Screen
Do you ever show up late to a movie and get stuck watching from the front row? Often it's not even worth the money. In a home theater setting, the problem is typically that the screen is too big for the room. Make sure your room is long enough for the size you’ve chosen. If your screen is 60 inches, you should be sitting at least seven feet away. The bigger you go, the further back you’ll need to be for comfortable viewing.
4. Improper Screen Placement
Another issue we typically see with screens is that they’re not properly mounted. It's important that you have your seating in place before you install your screen so you can gauge where the viewers' eye level will be. Size will come into play here as well. Make sure your screen is small enough that it can be placed centrally on the wall, so it's not too high or low.
5. Glare or Washed Out Images
There are a variety of reasons you may be getting poor image quality on your screen. The main one has to do with ambient lighting. As part of your home theater design, you should install blackout shades to reduce the amount of light in the room. If it's not possible to eliminate all light, opt for gray or black screens designed to deflect light coming from the sides.
Another reason you may have washed-out images on your screen is that your projector is not powerful enough. If your theater is really long or dealing with a lot of ambient light, you need to invest in a projector with a higher lumen count to get bright images on the screen.
Make sure you work with a professional to avoid most of these home theater mistakes. The experts at Avidia can help you find the perfect speakers, screen and projector for your space. Don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us at (847) 868-9200 or filling out our online contact form.