Planning the Perfect Media Room
Rooms designed for the sole purpose of enjoying digital entertainment (music, movies, video games) have become nearly as popular as home offices. Known as media rooms, they’re the place to showcase a high-def big-screen TV, surround sound and your decorative flair. You can go all out and spring for a video projector and a 120-inch stand-alone screen or a flat-screen TV. Speakers can be built into the walls, or you can place them on shelves and on the floor. In a media room, just about anything’s game as long as you love the picture and the sound.
Picking the Right Room
When you’re building a new house, you can ask your architect or builder to include a media room in the floor plan. If there’s a space (such as a guest bedroom, den or bonus room) that you have no special plans for, you could designate one of those areas as your media room. Just be sure there’s enough space for all the equipment and seating.
Dedicated entertainment rooms typically measure at least 12 feet wide and 15 feet long. Ceilings usually need to be at least 8 feet high. Choosing an area that’s isolated from the rest of the house is also a good idea. The video screen can be large without infringing on other furnishings, and the speakers can be turned up loud without disturbing others. Nor will the noise from pots and pans clanging in the kitchen and kids playing ping-pong in the rec room interfere with the movie action.
An isolated locale also creates a sense of anticipation. It’s easier to feel excited about seeing a show when you need to walk into a special room at the back of the house than when you just flop down on the couch in the family room.
Good candidates for media room retreats include basements, bonus rooms, garages, rooms above garages, even pool houses and barns. It won’t feel quite like hopping in your car and driving to the cinema, but at least you’ll be going somewhere that looks and feels a bit different.
Switch Styles in the Media Room
Speaking of looking and feeling different, because a dedicated media room is closed off, it doesn’t necessarily have to conform to the interior design of the rest of the house. You can choose a special theme (check out these special themed theaters) or do something minimalist and modern to give your traditional colonial a new spin.
You can incorporate movie posters and theatrical draperies around the screen or do something fantastic with the ceiling, like cover it with a fiber optic field of stars. Pieces that might look completely out of place elsewhere in the house, like popcorn machines and candy counters, are worth considering as well.
The room will also need seats. You can go with traditional flip-style theater seats or put in a comfortable sectional with bean bag chairs in the front for the kids. If you’ll be doing a lot of snacking, upholster your seating with fabrics that will repel stains.
Remember the Equipment Rack
Except for the speakers and the screen, everything that makes up your entertainment system, like the amplifiers, Blu-ray players and surround-sound receivers, can be located in a room or closet elsewhere. Also make sure you include networking into your plan, because so much to today’s content can be streamed from the Internet.
This arrangement helps keep your media room looking clean and uncluttered. If you opt for this design, be sure to mention it to your builder, architect and A/V installer right away. They’ll need to cordon off a space for the equipment rack and ventilate the area so that the gear stays cool.
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