Bring the Cinema Home - Building Your Own Home Theater

What’s on the top of the list of upgrades for many homeowners? The answer is home theaters. The good news is that it might not be as expensive as you think. Budgets can range from small and moderate to tens of thousands of dollars. Read on to discover how to build your own in-home movie theater quickly and within your budget.


Materials Needed to Build a Home Cinema

The main things you’re going to need for your home cinema are a smart projector, a screen, and audio equipment. Along with that, you’ll need a few basics like a universal remote or smart device such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, HDMI cables, and a reliable surge protector.


Smart projectors

These come in all sizes and price points. You can either have a wall or ceiling mounted projector, or a portable one. Smart projectors are Bluetooth supported with prices ranging from $100 to $700 and above. The most important thing to check is the image quality and an excellent place to go for reviews is Amazon. Make sure you also check for compatibility with HDMI and USB. Most top brands are compatible with newer TVs, Blu-Ray players, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, and gaming equipment like Xbox and PlayStation. Costco is a great place to find almost everything you’ll need.



Your audio choices will probably have a lot to do with your budget. If possible, try to test out speakers before you buy to see what you like. Visit Best Buy or Frys if you have one close by to compare.


For the least expensive option, you can start with a soundbar which ranges from under $100 to over $400. A significant advantage of soundbars is that they’re fast and easy to set up.


Surround sound equipment runs from $250 to $3,000 and up. Plus, you’ll need someone to come in and get everything connected. It just depends on what you want and how much money you have to spend.


Although wired surround sound speakers will give a higher quality sound, they cost a lot more than a soundbar. One alternative is that you can also combine a sound bar with a few additional speakers around the room.


Projector screen

Once you get your smart projector, it’s time to select a screen. For the very least expensive option, you can choose to paint the wall. But not with just any paint - you can find DIY theater paint online or something close to it at a paint store like Sherwin-Williams.


If you go with a regular screen, your budget will dictate your choices. Whatever you decide to buy, make sure there isn’t a large frame around the edge that would block the image. Choices include wall mounted and the type that you can roll up or fold. When deciding on the size, measure your screen size diagonally.


How to Set Up Your Home Theater

Step 1 – Set Up The Room

Start by painting the walls and ceiling in the right paint sheen. In this instance, its best to pick a flat sheen, so it is non-reflective. A dark gray ceiling with lighter gray walls works well for home theaters. Add some acoustic paneling for soundproofing. Recessed lighting with dimmer switches is the best choice for a home cinema because it doesn’t reflect as much as hanging or suspended lamps or lights. The best flooring for a home cinema is carpet, just like the movie theaters. Carpet absorbs sound rather than having it bounce back at you. Ensuring your floor plan design works well with the placement of your home theater is critical to a great viewing experience.


Step 2 – Set Up Your Technology

Hang your screen or paint the wall, then place your smart projector or standard projector in the location that works best with the screen and wall. After that, get the audio set up. If you run into trouble setting up any piece of equipment, the first place to look for tips is YouTube. It’s amazing what you can find, and most manufacturers of smart projectors and technology have a YouTube channel with how-to videos.


Step 3 – Arrange Furniture

Now that you have the technology working it’s time to bring in the furniture and add some extra touches of design to your home cinema. Recliners are the number one choice in furniture for in-home theaters, and you can get them as simple or luxurious as you’d like with built-in USB ports, cup holders and trays. If you’re a gamer, nothing beats a chair that looks like an old-school bean bag.


Don’t forget to set up a snack bar in the back with a cupboard stocked full of snacks and a fridge with cold drinks. The very last thing to do is invite your friends and family over for your first movie night!


If you’d like to find out about more ways to personalize your home, explore some of our custom home designs or read up on how to fund your new home upgrade.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 6.24.19

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