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By Emma Hooton

Luxe Home Cinema Design

Designing a stylish home cinema can be a great way to elevate the movie-watching experience and impress guests. It can also increase the value of your home. AV expert Graham Edmondson of award-winning Vivid Audio Visual tells us why location, lighting and layout are just as important as the right tech when designing an elegant, high-end home cinema scheme.

Home Cinema Location

Location is a #1 consideration when installing a home cinema. “Windowless basements and well-proportioned converted garages can be good spots for a dedicated home cinema.

An outbuilding or barn can also be suitable, especially if it is close to the main living areas; too distant and it may be less inviting, especially in colder months. Loft rooms rarely make good cinemas as sloping ceilings always get in the way of a good design. Multi-function games rooms are generally too light and bright, making them better suited to large screen TVs”.

Home Cinema Lighting

Lighting is paramount to creating the right cinematic vibe, helping to improve visibility, reduce eye strain, ensure safety and set the mood.

Aside from blocking out natural daylight, Graham recommends dark coloured walls (incl. fabric covered with integrated LED strip design), ceilings and flooring to avoid screen reflection. “Great lighting design will make a huge difference to the movie-watching experience. Different lighting circuits and (dimmable) lighting scenes – pre-programmed settings that adjust the intensity, colour, and/or direction of light fixtures – will go a long way to achieving the desired mood or effect. A coffered ceiling with central raised ‘starry sky’ fibre optic system can also elevate the movie-going experience”, says Graham.

After all, who doesn’t like the sight of a star-filled sky?

Home Cinema Layout

A well-designed, aesthetically-pleasing cinema space will complement the movie-going experience.

For seating, Graham recommends stepping up the flooring for two rows of sofas (rear row higher than front row) to allow for good visibility and ease of movement. The screen also needs to be the proportionate to the room size to ensure proper cinematic viewing angles. You want to watch films with ease.

A separate cupboard area adjacent to the main cinema room can be custom built to house the projector. This ‘projection booth’ beams the image through a small porthole glass window onto the big screen. The projector also needs to be specified for the correct brightness level, high resolution image and lens for the room size.

Home Cinema Tech

A home cinema can include a variety of technology to enhance the viewing experience.

Aside from a high-quality projector (rear of room) and screen with acoustically transparent screen fabric, you’ll need the right sound system. Graham explains: “The latest sound format ‘Dolby Atmos’ involves additional speakers on the side and rear walls, and the ceiling. Proper placement of surround sound speakers will also immerse the cinema-goer in sound. Acoustic absorption material behind fabric walls can help to create proper acoustic sounds conditions.

Other construction methods, and in extreme cases, even building a room within a room, can be deployed to minimise sound vibrations leaking from a cinema room.”

Crucially, Graham says “the whole system needs to be easy to use as just turning on a TV. A smart system can enable you to control the whole system from one single hand-held remote so with the flick of a switch you turn on the cinema room, with everything in the background – amplifiers, projector, lights – springing to life.”

All that’s left to do is choose your favourite film and cocktail and tuck into some gourmet snacks.

Learn more about transforming your home:

Photo credit: George Smith and Albion Nord

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