Setting the scene: home cinemas
by Neil Quinn
If you have plans to create a leisure wing or area and the layout of your house or planned extension allows for it, I’d highly recommend creating a cinema room; they have unlimited appeal to all ages and you can have fun designing the space. Basements work well for this sort of room but equally I’ve come across houses where there is a ground floor room which is entirely internal and also lends itself to being converted into a cinema space.
First think about the flooring – in a perfect world, you’ll want to build two or three floor levels going down towards the screen so that you can see above the heads of the people on the sofas or chairs in front. This can be achieved easily by building a series of floor levels in plywood. You’d then want to cover the floors with wall-to-wall carpet or rugs and then use fabric on the walls – hessian, felt or baize work best and this will stop the sound from bouncing around.
I generally think that, once you get above a certain size such as a 60 inch plasma screen, it’s more sensible to go for a screen and projector. Blu-Ray projectors can be recessed into the ceiling and can pop out at the push of a button and clients of ours have hung screens up to 100 inches.
You can then be creative with designing the sound system. It’s possible to build subwoofers into the seating and put speakers behind the screen and in the ceiling so that you have the complete surround sound experience – it’s not perhaps necessary when watching A Room with a View but it really makes the experience more thrilling when a Chinook helicopter lands in Apocalypse Now.
In terms of lighting, the best option is to go with lots of lower level lighting to help guide the way to your seat – just like in full-sized cinemas. If the house is on an intelligent lighting system, such as Lutron, then that can be programmed so that all the lights dim automatically when you press play on the remote control.