Movie night. Vegging out. Netflix and chill. Whatever you call it, spending an evening (or weekend) in front of the television counts as relaxation for many, hobby for some, and for a few it’s a straight-up obsession. From game day to awards night and all the reruns in-between, your time in front of the tube will be better spent in an environment dedicated to the whole media experience.
Dedicated home cinemas and “man caves” typically get the job done with a large finished basement or spare room packed with the usual accouterments of such a space; pool tables, wet bars, and framed sports memorabilia are common sights. But beyond the basics, there are some principles that the best media rooms can offer even a small corner or shared space to make your viewing experience as posh as possible.
If you’re not blessed with the extra space (and budget) to prepare a dedicated media room, take comfort in your little corner—literally. Even though this living room shares duties as gathering spot and media nook, its cozy comfort promises a luxurious viewing experience. Draw that room-darkening shade and lounge along the sofa with your phone or tablet next to you on the chaise to live-Tweet the show. With a flickering fire and cozy throw pillows, this living room is ready for any Downton Abbey marathon.
This traditional home cinema makes use of commercial theater features like a tiered floor and step lights. The seating is the kind you might see in a high-end movie house that serves truffle-butter popcorn and cocktails right to your reserved seat. But it’s easy to find similar chairs for the home to replicate the comfort and added convenience of cupholders. And the movie-making memorabilia as decor further dedicates the space to the task at hand.
In this shared space, a recessed curtain serves as a room divider that’s easily tucked away for everyday or drawn for an intimate TV-watching experience. The lighting inside the curtain’s track serves just a touch of drama as well as further delineating the space. Plus, nobody is stopping you from making your room-dividing curtain red velvet for a vintage theater feel.
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Take a page from your local multiplex and decorate with light. Since the theater doesn’t need to be anything fancy before the lights go down, commercial theaters have lately forgone the lavish murals and gilded mouldings of the golden age of cinema. Similarly, modern interior design is ever more stripped down and less fussy. So, a linear lightscape does the trick of drawing just enough attention to the room’s main focal point without becoming a distraction in itself.
Another trick for sleek media rooms is to use dark color on the walls and wash them with modern wall sconces. These are extra sexy because of their up and down lighting, offering cinematic drama while staying out of the way of the projector. And if they’re on a dimmer switch, so much the better once the movie is on.
A less overt home-theatre look can be accomplished with color—or lack thereof. This white-on-white design focuses all your attention on the screen, with no distracting surfaces or textures to take away from your viewing experience. The softness of the lighting gives the room intimacy while all those cabinets contain clutter. So, the energy is serene and focused.
On the other hand, texture is key once the lights go out. This luxurious dedicated home cinema not only feels plush and comfy, the thick carpet and textured walls, curtains, and furniture dampen noise. That way, the quality of your sound system can really be appreciated. And the ceiling’s subtle recessed lighting looks like a starry sky, making this room truly immersive.
An attic space or an extra room over a garage can make an ideal home theater with a pitched ceiling. With the screen at the end of the room, the angled walls draw the eye right to the action and give a cozy, intimate feeling that makes the most of the room’s shape. This one’s plentiful shelving and cabinetry aid with the surround sound and storage of any snacks, blankets and other movie night essentials.
If you have the space for it, why not go all in? This home theater does it up with plush theater-style leather seats, a top-of-the-line projection system, starry ceiling and luxurious finishes. Bar stools accommodate movie-goers who may prefer the option of being up and around (and, one would presume, indulge in the well-stocked bar at the back of the room) after the show starts.
Finally, taking a page from Scandinavian simplicity in design. This living room becomes a media oasis with its clever curtain track lighting and blackout shades. The neutral color scheme is as suitable for everyday relaxation as it is for limiting distraction during a Harry Potter marathon. And the open shelves display a carefully curated collection of favorite items that leave plenty of negative space for a tranquil feel.
With your focus on the screen it might be easier than in other rooms to block out visual clutter and distraction. But clearing those away to create a purposeful media space results in a classy, deliberate vibe that works in dedicated home theaters and combination rooms alike.
Once you’re ready to start creating your dedicated media room, you can find some great foundation pieces here. And be sure to share your favorite media room ideas with us in the comments!
When she’s not polishing up promotions as a Web Content Specialist, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.