Considerations When Building a Media Room


Considerations When Building a Media Room

Building a dedicated media room is an exciting part of any new custom home building or home renovation project. It’s a uniquely designed space dedicated to relaxation and entertainment and a place where you can step away from your busy life. The sky is the limit when designing a media room as part of a new custom home. If you’re building as part of a home renovation or home addition, your may not have as much flexibility with space, however the space is only a shell. It’s what you put into it that makes it special. To optimize the value of the space, consider these factors before the design phase.

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Room Acoustics and Aesthetics
The acoustics of a media room will vary based on the room’s design, and which elements are in place once it’s complete. Some choose to dedicate the space for TV and movie viewing. Others will want to include computer stations and or gaming. Either way, seating will play a major role. Upholstered chairs can absorb sound and painted walls can reflect it.  Sound isolation and acoustic correction aren’t inherently unattractive. Acoustic paneling, for example, can add a rich, warm look with wood grain and raised detail on the walls and ceiling. For sound absorption, fabric-covered acoustic panels can be placed around the perimeter of the room as needed.

Acoustic and Visual Electronic Equipment
Weather your media room is part of a home addition, renovation or custom home build, the same principles for sound and equipment will apply. The sound should envelop you in the theater experience, but without being overwhelming. It shouldn’t rely on volume alone for effect. Home theater speakers are available in 5.1, 5.2, and even 7.1 channel systems. The first number relates to the number of speakers in the system, and the second number denotes the number of subwoofers. In a 5.2 system, for example, there would be five speakers and two subwoofers. More speakers create a fuller sound. For viewing, a projection system paired with a 16:9 screen is ideal for HDTV, but a 2.35:1 screen is designed for CinemaScope. If you prefer, a 3D flat-panel TV and backlit LED TV both offer high contrast and more saturated black levels in a darkened room. The central nervous system of your media room is the audio-visual receiver, which is a one-stop electronic device that processes audio and visual signals. You can also go with a component system, which uses a separate preamp and processor, and an amplifier. Naturally, a Blu-Ray player is essential. If you prefer a 3D TV, you’ll need a 3D Blu-Ray. Advanced system controls allow you to adjust lighting, audio, and visual elements from a central panel in the room.

Lighting and Shading Installed by your Home Builder
Intelligent lighting has the power to create the ultimate atmosphere. Some are controlled using a central panel, but you can also use a remote or an app for your smartphone or tablet. Layered lighting lets you use the room for other activities besides movie watching. Consider installing bright but dimmable overhead lighting around the perimeter of the room, but not directly over the seating. This lets you illuminate as needed, without risking glare on the screen. Sconces mounted on the walls add soft, indirect light, and LED strip lighting on the floor mark obstacles without being obtrusive. Installing a starlit or “starry night” ceiling effect is trending and can be produced by combining a black or midnight blue ceiling and fiber-optic lighting to create the effect of stars.

The height and configuration of your seating as it relates to the projector screen or TV should be well planned. In a large media room with more than one row of seats, the front row should sit the lowest, with each row behind it progressively higher. This takes some finesse and the skill of an experienced homebuilder. Seating possibilities are virtually limitless. Leather row seating with built-in cup holders are a favorite, but velvet fringed seating complements a more classic movie house look. Reclining is almost certainly a must, and some feature motorized controls. But also consider armrests that raise and lower in case you want to stretch out. For an even more progressive media room, a tactile transducer creates a tangible sensation in the seating, such as a rumbling, that coincides with action on the screen.

The media room of your dreams can contain almost any element you desire. You’re only limited by the available space. For everything else, a good architect and homebuilder can make it happen.