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Knowledge Centre > Articles > Custom Media Room: Design Considerations

Custom Media Room: Design Considerations

knowledge

10 Feb 2019

After years of use, the term media room has evolved into a definition of a home entertainment centre featuring a large flat screen TV or a projector, surround sound system, and plush, cosy seating. Such a space is great for entertaining friends who have gathered to watch a game, family movie marathons, or exciting game sessions. Let’s look into some design considerations when building a custom media room.

Media room vs. home theatre

Although these terms have been used interchangeably, some argue that the main difference between a home theatre and a media room is in the flexibility of the latter. Ray Lepper, president of Home Media from Richmond, Virginia, says that a media room simply gives more options. In his words, media room provides a deep social experience, as you can watch the game and at the same time chat to your friends or play with the kids. On the other hand, people who’re looking for a full lights down cinematic experience would be better off with a home theatre.

Flexible seating

Since a modern media room offers more than just watching movies, furniture pieces need to be flexible enough to be broken apart and arranged into conversation spaces when no one is watching a movie. So, rather than having rows of forward-facing seats, media rooms benefit more from comfortable sofas, recliners and inviting loveseats.

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Sufficient screen size

The rule of a thumb is that the screen should be large enough so that everyone in the room can see it from a good angle when seated. The other, more exact rule says that you should be able to sit back from the TV at a distance of two to three times its diagonal measurement. At this distance you should be able to see everything that is happening on the screen and still enjoy the sense of a large screen.

Screen/sound relation

Although the sound is more than half the experience, many homeowners fall short of their budget and focus mostly on the screen. The right approach would be to divide your budget into three equal parts – for the screen, sound and the room. What is more, this current home theatre audio buying guide points out that if you have a 3D television, you need a higher end sound system to process the audio signal it sends. The same applies to 4K Ultra HD televisions, as getting the best out of your machine goes hand in hand with purchasing similarly capable audio system.

Cutting edge support tech

What changed the way media rooms are configured in the last decade is the ability to stream movies, music and other content from the cloud. While it used to be a TV and a DVD player, now we are offered quality content at a larger rate than ever, and it’s growing constantly. Streaming media hubs, such as Air TV lets you keep tab on all your connections to all of your streaming services such as Netflix, Sling TV, Android TV, as well as traditional TV channels.

Sound-absorbing furnishings

It goes without saying that your media room needs to be as soundproof as possible. Apart from sound-dampening interiors such as fluffy sofa throws, draperies, and carpeting, if you want to enjoy your latest Blu-ray acquisitions while the rest of the family is sleeping, you need to invest in some acoustical wall treatments. Standard drywall construction which is used for residential buildings has a sound transmission class rating of 40 dB, so you need to soundproof by adding mass, or doubling the drywall, damping wall surfaces so they don’t vibrate, and decoupling structure elements, so they aren’t physically connected.

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Cinema mood

No less important than picture and sound quality is the overall cinema experience, which includes lighting and comfortable seating. Subtle lighting is always better than total darkness, because new screens perform better in higher ambient light conditions, however you need to make sure the light doesn’t fall directly on the screen. In addition, remote control dimmers can always help you achieve the best lighting balance for the occasion.

To sum up, when designing a home media room, you need to decide if you’re going to use the media system for other purposes than watching movies, for example gaming or streaming music for group entertainment. You also need to determine the level of flexibility you want to achieve, or how important it is to you to emulate the cinema experience at home.