Finished Basement Home Theater Ideas and Construction Design Tips

Designing Basement Home Theater Systems

For many homeowners, the thought of a home theatre can be exciting. It's a great place to gather your family and friends for a night of watching movies, or your favorite TV show, while snacking on popcorn and your favorite beverage. If you're considering building a home theatre, but aren't sure where to put it, look no further than the basement!

Think about it, your basement offers everything you need to create the ideal home theater. Most basements are quiet, there's little natural light and it's removed from the day to day hustle and bustle of your home. If it's unfinished, if offers you a blank canvas to work with. You can take it in any direction you choose. Add a popcorn machine, a beverage refrigerator, theater seating, and a projection screen or giant hi-def widescreen TV. Let your imagination run wild to create your ideal home theatre. Plus, you'll enjoy the benefits of having a finished basement. Along with your theater, you can create extra space for the kids, an extra bedroom, or any other usable space you might need.

Let's take a look at some must have construction and design ideas to help you create the perfect home theatre!

Construction Tips

Pre-planning your home theater's construction is an important step that can make the finished product really shine. Create a design layout to help you plan and place infrastructure like wiring, lighting, seating and soundproofing to make sure that your finished basement theater is the perfect environment for kicking back and relaxing. Here are a few considerations.

• Tune The Room

Acoustics are an important factor both in the theater, and in terms of isolating the space from the rest of your home. While the décor of the space will help to deaden the sound reflection, adding some additional sound control features can help to shape the sound in the room. Isolating the space from the rest of the house so those late night horror movie marathons won't keep the rest of your family awake all night is a smart move.

Cement is a highly reflective surface when it comes to sound. Covering them with something softer can help to reduce reflections and tune up the acoustics of the space. For example, covering the concrete flooring with sub-floor and carpeting can eliminate sound from bouncing off the floor. Walls can be covered with drywall and fabric panels can be hung to tune the room's acoustics. A mix of absorbent materials like furniture, rugs, and drapes can help you to tune the room, and help reduce sound from leaking into other living areas of your home.

• Determine Infrastructure Needs – Choosing and Placing TV & Sound

Another step that can really save time is to determine what you'll need in terms of wiring and sound. Choose your TV or projection system along with surround sound options. Many home theater designers recommend placing speakers into the walls or ceilings for maximum sound reproduction. Built-in speakers are also an aesthetic option since all of the wiring is completely hidden. Make sure your contractor has an understanding of sound design, or hire a professional sound company to ensure proper placement.

Also, consider adding a media closet to help keep your theater looking neat and clear of wires. You can make sure to include all of the audio and electrical wiring needs into the space along with shelving or a rack system. This will keep all of your components neat, organized and out of sight.

• Don't Forget The Lighting!

Lighting is a key element for creating a true theater experience at home. A great choice is a combination of recessed ceiling lights and wall sconces all controlled by dimmer switches. Today, you can even get “smart” lighting that allows you to control the room ambiance from your smartphone or a lighting controller so you can sit in comfort and start the show. If you like taking notes, reading reviews or eating during the show, consider adding some task lighting to make it more enjoyable.

Design Ideas To Create The Perfect Movie Viewing Experience

Once you've designed and built the infrastructure into your finished basement, it's time to consider design ideas to personalize your space. The beauty of creating a home theater in your finished basement is that your design is only limited by your creativity and budget. You can add plenty of fun amenities like actual theater seating, and more to create the perfect space.

• Consider Seating

To ensure optimal viewing you can use a u-shaped sectional sofa, reclining seats, or built in stadium seating, depending on your taste. If you're going for an authentic experience, don't forget to choose seating with built -in cupholders and trays.

One of the most difficult aspects of home theater design is fitting stadium style seating in the room. Typically you need to enter the room at the lowest level of the theater space, and the stadium risers will go up from there. The problem is if you have a layout where you want to enter the room from the back. Creative design solutions can accommodate this situation.

• Add A Gas Fireplace

Enjoy watching movies year-round in comfort by adding a dramatic gas fireplace. A climate control system with heating and cooling that is easily adjustable can help you to create the perfect environment. Whichever you choose, consider the comfort of your family and guests when enjoying your theater, year-round.

Consider also that the flames of a fireplace might disrupt the room in the winter, and that with doors closed to darken the room, there will be some rise in temperature from body heat alone. In any case, be prepared to do a little fine-tuning of the supply vents into the room to provide air flow and temperature control that suits the needs of your family.

• Stay Connected

For a true movie theater experience hook everything up to a universal remote. With one device you can control A/V equipment, sound levels, dim the lights or lower shades if needed. You'll have complete control right from your seat. An A/V professional will program this to work with the various brands of components installed.

• Other Amenities For Your Enjoyment

The beautiful thing about a home theater is that you only have to walk downstairs to enjoy it! Add amenities to make the experience even more enjoyable for family and friends. Amenities like a popcorn cart, built in refrigerator, nacho station, coffee bar, wet bar, or kegerator can customize your space and add comfort.

For the kids, hooking a video gaming system like Nintendo or Playstation can give them a true arcade experience right from their armchair. Nothing is better than playing your favorite game on a giant projector screen or Super-sized HDTV! To make it extra fun, consider adding a pair of wireless gaming chairs with built in speakers and motion.

A finished basement complete with a killer home theater can improve the quality of life at home. It's a great way to create plenty of memories and have a space where you can enjoy your family time. Work with an experienced home theater designer or design-build firm that has the knowledge to properly build out your space.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 1/23/19.

If you're considering adding a home theater to your finished basement, or turning your unfinished basement into a home theater, give the experienced team at Degnan Design Build Remodel a call. We've been helping homeowners in Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding areas create their dream homes and we can do the same for you! If you're planning a home remodeling project, or constructing a custom home give us a call.