Home theater systems are definitely one of the things that most people including me enjoy to have as nothing can be more amazing than watching your favourite movies in the comfort of your home right! The first time I built a home theater system was with my boyfriend in a small apartment when we didn’t have enough space and money it was a quiet a mission I tell you!
So, how did we managed to do our home theater system setup planning on a budget?
Well, we managed to pull the home theater setup off by following six key elements of creating our media rooms without exceeding our budget. Acoustics is the most important thing to be considered because a media room should have perfect sound adjustments to have a nice experience and others like choosing a location, lighting and furnishing, audio, video, and of course installation comes after that.
Home theater system setup planning
Now let me give you a closer insight on these six key elements and all the home theater equipment list so you can also setup your dream home theater system without spending thousands of dollars!
Choose a location
First things first, you have to choose a room which is far off from the rest of the house so it is not disturbed by any noise. In our case, the dimensions of the room were 20 feet long by 13 feet wide.
A quick tip to keep in mind:
- Select a room that is outlying from the family room to avoid any disturbance. We made our media room in our basement and trust me its the best option!
As I told you earlier a media room without a perfect sound system is just another room with a TV.
So by keeping acoustics in mind while designing your media room, you can hold sounds and reduce the outside noises which can make a huge difference. Controlling reflections by building a space that holds sound rather than reflecting or transmitting it. You’ll get the best sound results if you know how to cover the space from top to bottom.
Use acoustic tiles because they not only work perfectly, but it is also one of the most effective ways to cancel out any unwanted transmission of noises. It is the most inexpensive way to reduce noise problems.
These are great for soundproofing as they can reduce and lower sounds. It all depends on the purpose of what they are being used for in our case it’s a media room and for that, I can tell you with my own experience that they work pretty well.
The plus point in using soundproofing panels is that you can find them in any home improvement store at a reasonable price and if you are lucky enough like me you can get a discount too!
To cover the windows in your media room with the use of blackout shades which will block 100% of all incoming light. Another option is to use room-darkening shades which also does the job pretty well and blocks 95% to 99% of the light.
The only best way is to use carpeted floors because in home theaters you need to absorb sound and prevent reverberation.
The thing I like about carpeted floors is that they are easy-to-install.
You should never use wood, tile, or concrete flooring these are the worst option for a media room setup.
For our home theater, we used a black for the ceiling and went with midnight blue for the walls. For the floor carpet, we used dark brown color.
Using dark colors will help you make your media room wider and will give a nice movie experience.
Having a proper lighting system can make your home theater experience as enjoyable as it would be if you were sitting in a real movie theater. You can accomplish that by connecting the lights to an RF dimmer which will allow you to control the lighting with a remote in that way you will have a dimmable lighting system and you also won’t have to get up during the movie and ruin the whole experience, you can control the whole lighting system with just one click on that remote control.
This can be tricky if you want a real theater experience. Usually, in theaters, you have a lot of seats but as we are building a home theater in our nice little apartment we don’t have that much space to work with, so you can’t go with all that real theater seating. But who said we can’t get something better than that? You can get comfortable seats which do not take up that much space, in our case we bought YAHEETECH 2-Seat Reclining Chair. These chairs are super easy to assemble we still have them in the same condition as they have good quality.
The most important and the heart of setting up your home theater is the video system without which obviously you can not watch a movie. So what should you use to play your movie/video on? Let’s see…
Television vs. Projector
We tried both the option but with the television what we experienced is that its harsh lighting destroyed the whole movie experience, after working on the whole setup and with one mistake of using the television as your video player is something you don’t want to do.
Using a projector was a nice option to pick. We bought YABER Y31 home projector which did the job amazingly well. Projectors are also cheap to buy and as we are already on a tight budget it’s the best projector you can buy!
If you are confused and looking for a projector screen and you can not decided which one to buy then worry not because the projector screen that we bought was Keenstone 120 inches 16:9 HD Foldable Anti-Crease Portable Projector. It has good sharpness and brightness and it does a pretty good job.
Projectors are not like televisions in terms of playing media which means if you want to watch any other television show you won’t be able to to it. In order to do that you can use DVD/Blu-Ray player, streaming box, etc in our case we used DVD/Blu-Ray player and we were able to watch even our regular TV shows in our media room.
To broadcast the video signal from the media player to the projector you will need something to connect them together and for that, you will have to buy cables. We have researched it and the best way to connect these two is by using HDMI. We were able to found low-cost cables that did the job very well, you can also find cheap cables as they are available in a wide range and getting one won’t be a big issue.
We have already discussed the acoustics and if you built your media room on the basis of what I mentioned about the acoustics you’ll have the perfect audio experience ever.
But still, there are somethings that should be kept in mind in order to have the best possible audio in our home theater, after all, we don’t want to ruin the theater experience by compromising on the audio.
I don’t know why people buy speakers on “bigger is better” philosophy. If you have built your room on the principles of acoustics then sound won’t be an issue. The thing that matters is how to set up the speakers.
You have three options 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup. As we are building a small room home theater I’ll recommend you to buy the 5.1 sound system setup, in this setup, you will have 5 speakers. Two to be placed on both sides of the screen, one at the center of the screen and two to be placed on sides of the seating.
You’ll need to get a receiver in order to listen to the audio. For that Sony STRDH590 5.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver is the best option, trust me I’ve tried it!
Although the receiver I mentioned comes with Bluetooth but why not buy a speaker wire just in case. It is possible that you have some other receiver with you which is not wireless or Bluetooth so in that case, just buy a speaker wire to connect your receiver and speaker together.
Hey, you finally made it to the installation part!
After buying and having all the things mentioned above you will have the complete setup of a home theater. Now you just have to put it all together.
My boyfriend did the wiring part for the speakers and the lighting. For the carpeting on the floor and other things we helped each other and managed to do it ourselves. If you can’t do the installation yourself you can hire someone in order to do it for you.
Things To Keep In Mind
Below are the things you should keep in mind if you are on a budget and want to build a good home theater. This can save you a lot money and time.
Set a Budget
Never forget to set a budget for the pieces of equipment you are getting. People often make the biggest mistake of not setting a budget and end up spending thousands of dollars much more than they would actually wanted to spend.
Don’t Buy Everything At Once
Write everything down, see what you already have and what you have to buy. Don’t just go and buy everything that is needed you might already have that thing in your store room or anywhere else go carefully look around if you think you bought it once.
Trust me you can cut down a lot of money by doing this.
Don’t Buy Expensive
Don’t think that you’re getting the best stuff out there if it is expensive.
I mentioned this already that the most expensive things don’t guarantee that they’ll be the best.
Extra Things You Can Get
You can have a West Bend 82505 6-Quart Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper with which you can make popcorn just like your favorite movie theater.
The total coast for our home theater system setup planning was around $2,000 to $2,500.
As for me and my boyfriend, we both have immense love for watching a movie in a theater and what can be more awesome than having a home theater. So in our case, it was totally worth it because watching your favourite movie comfortably is all that matters.
If you came all the way down here you must be interested in building a theater room or you just did build a home theater with me right? Feel free to ask any questions you have I’d be so happy to help you ❤︎