Home cinema design checklist

10 Home Cinema Design Checklist For 2023

Have you had the thoughts of getting the perfect design for your home cinema? This is your perfect guide.

Home cinemas have become more prevalent in Nigeria over the course of 5 years, which mostly features the two largest streaming platforms – Netflix & Apple TV.

They have approximately 100k subscribers & 5.29 million users respectively in Nigeria, this shows you the growing potential for Home cinemas.

We can attribute this growth to the rise of the internet in Nigeria.

At Hausba, we’ve executed over 50 Home cinema design projects since 2010 all across Nigeria. Hence, we share with you.:

Top 10 Home Cinema Design Checklists

1. Home Cinema Room

A good place to include a cinema in the design plan of your home is the basement, which is isolated from noisy areas.

Our reason is that the location can make or mar the performance of your home cinema. So, we recommend locations far away from common areas.

How big should your home cinema be?

Well, that depends on your planning, budget, and the space available.

Finally, the shape of your room should be more rectangular (not an envelope) than square and not a corridor. The best is to have the length and width as prime numbers.

Ample ceiling headroom preferably 2.8metres from the finished floor gives a spatial effect to the overall experience.

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2. Acoustics Room Treatment

Home cinemas are usually smaller than commercial movie theatres, resulting in sound waves bouncing around. This produces an unpleasant sound experience.

Acoustics are sound-absorbing materials made of wool, fiberglass or foam, that will reduce excess sound waves bouncing around the room walls.

They absorb late sound wave reflections, which helps to diffuse the rest for an enjoyable & immersive sound experience.

In contrast, acoustic diffuser panels scatter these early sound reflections to create a special sound field effect in these small rooms. 

Read on the 5 smart home design mistakes consultants make and how to avoid them.

Base traps also help reduce low-end frequency problems in a room with inaudible sounds that impede a natural movie listening experience.

If you need professional help in purchasing or installing the right acoustic panels for your home cinema project, reach out to us here.

3. Home Cinema Speakers & Arrangement

These are the bragging right of any home cinema design because there are levels to this when done right.

The brand of your speaker doesn’t matter more than the specification of the speakers.

If you go the affordable route, then you will lose not only the bragging rights, but will also miss out on an immersive sound experience.

Here, we will provide tips on what brands of home cinema speakers to purchase, the ideal numbers, and best practices for home cinema speaker arrangement.

  • Brand

The premium brands we partner with are the Bugatti’s of home cinema speakers such as Wisdom Audio, MK Sound, Bowers&Wilkins, and Sonance.

They can produce sensitivity of up to 96dB SPL/1m and frequency response as low as 28Hz.

If you have a Ferrari budget, Line Source Speakers should be your preference over Point Source Speaker technology.

  • Ideal Number of Speakers

The ideal numbers of home cinema speakers start from a 5.1 surround sound setup and go up all the way to an 11.4.4 immersive sound system setup.

  • 2x Front & right key speakers
  • 1x Center channel speaker
  • 6x Side surround sound speakers
  • 2x Rear surround sound speakers
  • 4x Height speakers
  • 2-4x Subwoofers

Also, you can check out the SONOS premium wireless speaker.

4. Audio Video Processor

The job of an A/V processor is to connect all audio and video sources to your home cinema amplifiers and projector.

They require powerful processors to analyze and route signals efficiently with enhanced audio and video calibration.

There are many advantages to using an A/V processor as opposed to an integrated A/V receiver (AV processors with an integrated amplifier).

This includes flexibility, better sound & visual quality, decoding multiple discrete channels.

  • Offers Flexibility

Technology is ever-changing, which births new audio or visual formats, or even new connectors.

You can easily change A/V processors to fit the aforementioned changes without disrupting the balance between the amplifier section and the speakers.

  • Offers Greater Quality

The combination of a preamplifier and a power amplifier provides optimum performance.

The reason is that it treats the audio and video signals in different sections, which reduces the risk of interference.

  • Offers the Ability To Decode Multiple Channels

A high-end AV processor has HDMI inputs that support UHD 4K, 3D, HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10 video streams with a very high bitrate of 18 Gbps.

It can process up to 48 discrete audio channels into 48 individual speakers when using brands such as Trinnov. The more speakers, the better the effortless listening experience.

5. 4K Projector

Choosing the right projector for your viewing pleasure is like picking the right suit for a meeting.

You consider the size of the screen, the quality of the display, noise, distance, and cooling temperature.

For a 21st-century home cinema setup, your projector must have the bare minimum quality of full HD that can reproduce all or most of the Rec 709 colour gamut.

However, at Hausba, we prefer to install 4K/UHD resolution projectors to take advantage of high dynamic range videos.

Dynamic range simply means being able to capture the lightest and darkest areas of an image without losing detail.

Depending on the size and distance of the screen to the projector, the projector brightness becomes crucial.

A laser projector with a brightness of 3000 lumens and above is our minimum recommendation for a screen 160 inches diagonal and above. 

6. A Screen To Fit Room Size

Depending on the speakers’ arrangement in your home cinema design, you want to install a sound translucent screen fabric.

The size of your screen also depends on the distance between the screen to the front and back row seating.

If you have a 4K screen, the viewing angle should not fall below 36 degrees.

The performance of a home cinema design is the large screen from wall to wall.

That raises the bar of exceptional cinematic performance.

Don’t compromise on projection screen quality and screen size. This is the most important aspect of your home cinema.

You can use this free tool to calculate your screen size.

7. Home Cinema Room Design

This features the furniture to be installed, and other custom touches to taste.

The seats need to be comfortable and cushioned to encourage long viewing hours without causing body aches.

The fabrics and patterns of home cinema seats vary, however, the most common fabrics are leather & suede.

There are 5 common styles of custom-made design chairs for home cinema.

They are individual chairs, double chairs, triple chairs, love seats, and sectionals.

  • Individual chairs seat just one person with armrests and can offer the feature to recline.
  • Double chairs seat two people at a time and offer the same features as individual chairs.
  • Triple chairs seat three people at a time and are usually the go-to option for larger home cinema setups.
  • Love seats are mostly for two people, and don’t have any armrests to encourage more intimate viewing pleasures.
  • Sectionals’ distinguishing feature is the accommodation to hold beverages and are more relaxing.

The other custom features in your home cinema include patterns on the walls such as vinyl or posters, & Minibars. 

8. The Central Room Control

A great home cinema design requires a great remote control to make all the smart elements work together seamlessly with the touch of a button.

This central remote system gives the added advantage of comfort in a home cinema as a user doesn’t need to leave his seat to control elements.

A user can control the room lighting, climate, video projector and audio at the touch of a button.

With integrated control, the room lights can automatically dim out when you press the “play” button and turn on when you press the “stop” button.

9. Timber Match

Timbre-matched speakers produce identical tones and pitch qualities.

Even the slightest differences in timber match can produce harsh sonic notes leading to an awful sound experience.

We always strongly recommend installing speakers from the same series (company and model) when setting up your home cinemas.

Mixing different speaker types and models in the same home cinema is not the best practice.

10. HVAC & Lighting

We often overlook lighting when installing a home cinema design.

People think it needs to be entirely dark inside all the time. This is not the case.

Strategic lighting can uplift the mood even while watching a movie. The important thing is that these lights should be dimmable.

The lights you’ll often find in a home cinema are overhead lights, step lights, wall sconces, LED light strips, fiber optic lighting, seat-side lamps, cove lights, and bias lights.

Overhead lights, a.k.a recessed light, are common but give the room a sophisticated look.

We built them into the ceiling and rely on numbers to really light up the room, as they are not so powerful individually.

We install step lights along staircases forming a visual pattern to guide guests to their destination.

We can use wall sconces where the ceiling is too low, or a home cinema owner opts out of overhead lights.

LED light strips are usually RGB and serve as lighting accents to provide an ambient effect before the start of the movie. 

Fibre optic lighting has become increasingly popular in the home cinema industry because it can simulate a sky full of stars.

Seat-side lights are lighting strips that go underneath your home cinema chairs to form a beautiful light accent.

We installed bias lights behind the TV or projector screen, which helps to reduce eye strain caused by long watch time.

It’s important to note that during movie playback, they should turn all lights off except the step lights to avoid any light reflection on the projector screen.

Are you looking to install a home cinema design? Get a free consultation here

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