How To Make A Home Theater Room (On A Budget)

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / pics721

The surge of countless incredible streaming services has driven the home theater trend. We all love the excitement of going to movie theaters, but the convenience of streaming in comfort at home is unparalleled. That said, many people struggle with how to make a home theater room on a budget.

Pick a windowless room that you can easily soundproof and install recessed lights to reduce reflections. Select a Bluetooth-enabled sound system that equally distributes sound throughout the room to boost immersion. Carefully measure the room to make sure you pick the perfect screen and projector that can be seen at any distance.

It costs between $2,000 and $50,000 to make a home theater room. The cost depends on what projector, screen, seats, and sound equipment you buy. Construction also adds thousands of dollars to the overall cost. Follow along as we explore how to make a home theater without breaking the bank.

How To Design A Home Theater Room

1. Pick The Perfect Room

You likely don’t have many open, unused rooms in your home. Because of that, you must pick the perfect room to convert and dedicate to solely being a home theater. Otherwise, you will be held back during the design process if you’re worried you also need to use the room for something else.

This will help you plan a seating arrangement and room design that encapsulates the theater experience. Ideally, you should choose a room without windows, or with windows you can easily cover. It’s also a great idea to choose a room that doesn’t share a wall with a bedroom, if possible.

That way, you won’t have to worry about your theater sound system waking somebody up. You also must make sure the room and wall size can support the perfect theater screen. Measure the room dimensions so you can create a seating arrangement that’s far enough away from the screen. Each of these factors makes the design process easier and more fun.

2. Pick A Screen And Projector

The screen and projector are the most important part of a home theater. They vary wildly in cost, and the price ultimately goes hand in hand with quality. Luckily, on average, you can find affordable projectors for $350.

In many cases, high-end projectors cost over $5,000. You can find home theater screens for between $500 and $3,000. The materials and size of the screen determine the cost, and the room’s dimensions determine the ideal screen size.

3. Set The Mood

The lighting of a movie theater is meant to immerse the audience. You can apply that to your home theater with understated lights that don’t distract you from the movie. Theater sconces and ceiling lights cost $100-$300 or more each, and they’re easy to install.

You can even find dimmable theater lights, and they are great for adjusting the light before and after the movie. Recessed lights are great for home theaters because they don’t usually cast enough light to obscure the image on the screen.

4. Create An Immersive Wall Of Sound

No home theater is complete without an immersive sound system. Sound systems are typically the most expensive part of your home theater setup. A simple sound system with Bluetooth speakers costs between $150 and $1,000.

However, you can expect to spend $1,500 to $5,000 or more to install a high-end sound system for your home theater. It depends on the size of the room and whether you incorporate a sound bar with a set of speakers. Some people even buy high-end seats that include speakers, and those often cost over $1,000.

5. Soundproof The Room

You don’t have to, but it’s a great idea to soundproof your home theater. It’s especially a great idea if you have nearby neighbors who you don’t want to upset. You can soundproof a small home theater for as little as $300 to $500.

However, it can cost up to $5,000 to soundproof a room the size of a commercial movie theater. The overall cost depends on whether you soundproof the room or hire a professional. It costs an average of $40 per square foot to soundproof a home theater with professional help.

That cost comes down to labor and materials, so it’s cheaper to do it yourself. Acoustic panels and plasterboards can absorb plenty of sound, and they’re easy to install. You can also easily remove them if you plan to repurpose your home theater one day.

6. Reduce Reflections

Your home theater will lose the immersive factor if reflections take away from the movie you watch. That’s why recessed lighting is so important, as it’s unlikely to create reflections on the screen. Limit how much metal you put in your home theater.

At the very least, you should never put metal objects directly in front of the screen. For example, even a metal doorknob or silver sconce cover on the wall across from the screen can create reflections. You can repaint these fixtures to be less reflective if you can’t remove them.

Turn down the lights before you start the movie to reduce the risk of reflections even more.

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Home Theater?

It costs an average of $150 per square foot to make a home theater room. That said, you may spend as little as $2,000 to convert an existing room into a theater. The most expensive option is to build a home theater room from scratch, and that can cost up to $50,000.

Building a home theater costs $50-$250 per square foot depending on materials, equipment, and labor costs. A DIY home theater conversion doesn’t cost much because there’s no construction involved in most cases. That said, you can expect to spend between $2,000 and $10,000 or more on the screen, projector, wiring, and sound system.

Traditional, comfortable home theater seats cost $300-$900. Crafty homeowners can repurpose existing seats or even bean bags to save money on home theater seating. There is no limit to how much or little you spend on your home theater room. It all depends on what you consider a home theater, and that can be as elaborate as you want.

Does A Home Theater Increase Home Value?

A home theater can increase home value if you leave it intact when you put your house on the market. For example, you can boost home value if you leave the projector and seats behind when you list your home.

However, there is no ironclad answer on the average return on investment for home theater rooms. That’s because there is so much variety when it comes to layouts, in-ground seating, projection systems, and screens. The selling value increase largely depends on how “professional” the home theater looks and performs.

If your home theater room is more like an additional family room than a traditional theater, it won’t boost home value much. A theater room with tiered seating and a built-in screen will add the most value to your home.

Summing It Up

Before you can design your home theater, you must find a big, dark room that you can repurpose. Measure the room’s dimensions and buy a projector and screen. Set the mood with recessed lights, so you don’t create reflections on the screen. Invest in an immersive sound system that costs between $500 and $5,000 depending on the budget and room size.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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