Designing a New Home Theater–5 Things You Should Consider

Home theaters, whose popularity declined during the recession, have been making a come-back since 2013.  Today, a home theater can be anything from a large flat screen TV with surround sound speakers to an over-the-top, themed movie theater experience. However, it requires careful planning and can add a significant cost to your new custom home budget.  So before you begin planning, consider what kind of experience you want, how you will use the room, and how many people you want to accommodate.  Look through photos of theater rooms on Houzz, Pinterest, and Zillow Digs and note what things you like about them.  A little advance thought and planning will help an architect or designer and Utah custom home builder DaVinci Homes create the perfect home theater for you.

Media room or dedicated home theater

Armed with the information above, your first decision is whether to create a media room or build a dedicated home theater. A media room is usually a multi-purpose space that includes a large, flat screen TV, audio-visual equipment, and flexible seating for socializing.  In contrast, a dedicated home theater is a room that duplicates a cinematic experience.  Your choice will help make the decisions about other design considerations.  The following suggestions are specific to home theaters but can also apply to media rooms.

Photo Credit:  Big Fish Automation

Photo Credit: Big Fish Automation

Room Requirements

In a new home, you have the opportunity to create a room custom-made for watching movies and other content.  Ideally, your home theater should be located in an area that doesn’t disturb others in the house.  In addition it should:

  • Be large enough for the desired amount of seating at an appropriate distance from the screen
  • Be narrower in the front of the room where the screen is and wider towards the back of the room
  • Have few doors
  • Be free from outside light
  • Have a ceiling high enough that an overhead projector does not cause problems
  • Have tiered flooring to allow viewing from the back of the room
  • Be framed correctly to support screens, projectors and speakers

Soundproofing and Sound Absorption

A home theater should have enough insulation and soundproofing to keep sound from leaking outside the room that would disturb neighbors or others in the house.   Consider using drywall specially designed to reduce noise transmission.  And sound absorption materials, like carpet, sound-absorbing panels, and soft upholstery, help create a better sound experience by decreasing the amount of sound that bounces around a room.

Photo Source:

Photo Source:


Audio and video equipment are the most obvious parts of designing a home theater.  Selections of screens (single or multiple), speakers, and internet-connected media devices like blu-ray disc players should all be included early in the planning process.  With the wide range of equipment options available, look for an audio/visual expert who can help you decide what best meets your needs.  Generally, the size of a single screen depends on the size of the room.  And five speakers and one subwoofer and usually enough to complete a home theater surround sound experience.   Some home owners focus on the quality of the picture.  But experts advise that the sound experience in a home theater is just as important.

Electrical and Lighting

Proper planning and installation of electrical outlets, lighting, and wiring is critical in creating a home theater.  Based on the equipment selected, wires and cables should be planned and installed to not only connect all devices, but also to be accessed easily or changed in the future.  Ambient lighting that is low-profile and integrated with the room’s walls is best.  Traditional lamps or hanging lights can reflect on TV screens or interfere with projected images.  Dimmable wall sconces, mini LED ceiling lights, and floor lights are all good choices.  A professional lighting contractor or home theater specialty store can provide options and advice on choosing  correct lighting.

Photo Credit:  Houzz,  Joshua Lawrence Studios INC

Photo Credit: Houzz, Joshua Lawrence Studios INC

A home theater that is well-planned and reflects your lifestyle can add value and enjoyment to your new custom home.  DaVinci Homes knows that a new home is one of the largest investments you will make and strives to help you create a home that not only provides value, but complements and enhances your lifestyle so you can enjoy it for years.

DaVinci Homes Mission Statement

Our mission is to be Utah’s premier custom and semi-custom home builder through superior customer satisfaction and exceptional building practices.  We strive to make the home building process clear and enjoyable.  We believe in helping our clients enhance their lives by helping create the home of their dreams.

Feature Photo Credit:, Over-The-Top Home Theaters Make a Comeback