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How to setup a media room on a realistic budget

20th February 2022 Print

Nothing beats a theater experience when watching a movie. The screen size, the sound, and the lighting deliver an ideal viewing session. 

However, several factors can make this experience less than ideal. Sometimes, it can be inconvenient to rush through your weekend chores to reach the theater. Other times, you may have obnoxious, loud people sitting around you.

So, how can you have the perfect theater viewing experience without those detractions? One option is to build a media room in your home. 

Home theater setup offers the best way to view your favorite films from the comfort of your home. However, media room design can be complicated to do on a budget. 

But, don't let this difficulty stop you! There are still media room ideas you can accomplish on a realistic budget.

Read on to find out how! We'll give you some home theater setup tips in the guide below. 

Make The Most Of Your Room's Features

When designing a media room on a budget, the first step is to find a room that can work for a home theater. We recommend using a rectangular-shaped room for your space. Square rooms can create harmonic distortions, which make your viewing less than ideal. 

Also, consider how many windows the room has. Your windows allow light into the space, causing glares on your screen. Natural light can also disrupt the cinematic feeling of your media room. 

Take the walls into consideration as well. Drywall provides excellent acoustics for your home theater. However, concrete walls like you may find in a basement have horrible sound quality. 

Lastly, what flooring does your media room have? Padded carpet often decreases ambient noise, affecting the quality of your sound. In contrast, hardwood floors or carpets without pads can amplify your sound. 

Fix Any Problems With The Media Room

Next, try to find low-budget ways to fix any issues in your room. For example, let's say the best room in your house for a home theater has several windows. 

You can fix this problem with relatively little money by buying thick drapes. This way, you can close the curtains and block sunlight from entering your home theater. 

Problems with your walls can be trickier to fix. Your cheapest solution may be to install acoustic wall panels. You can find some sets of these panels for less than $100.

Choosing The Best Screen Location And Type

Once you've turned your space into the best place for a home theater, it's time to look at your display. So, let's first talk about what screen to get. 

Several screen options exist for media rooms, each with its benefits. The most popular method is to purchase a huge display screen to install. Usually, people mount these screens on the wall. 

However, these fixed screens can be challenging to afford on a budget. Instead, you may opt for some cheaper alternatives. 

One of those options is a manual pull-down screen. These are often ideal solutions for low-budget home theaters. Since they retract, they can also save space. 

Another choice is to forego a screen altogether. Instead, you can simply apply a coat of matte white paint to your drywall. This paint provides a high-quality image without requiring you to purchase a screen. 

Regardless of what screen you choose, ensure it's not too large. Ideally, your screen height should be close to one-third of the distance from the screen display to the media room furniture. 

We recommend placing it anywhere from 24-36 inches above the floor. Also, don't choose a screen that's too big for your room. Otherwise, you may find yourself looking back and forth from one side of the screen to the other to catch all the action. 

Projecting An Image To The Screen

Sometimes, this may not be an issue. A regular fixed screen often functions like any other TV. So long as you plug in the proper cables, you can play anything from your media player or streaming service.

However, choosing pull-down or matte paint displays makes this more complicated. You'll need a projector to cast your film to the display area.

Most often, people choose projectors that they can connect to a laptop. This way, they can run the film through their device and cast it on the screen. 

However, some devices may cause problems with this approach. For example, many Mac computers won't play MKV files. So, you may need to purchase the best MKV player for Mac devices. 

Organizing Your Speakers

Most home theaters have five full-range speakers and a subwoofer that functions as a low-range speaker. Placing these speakers in the best locations helps you achieve the full cinematic sound of a theater. 

Generally, most sources recommend placing three full-range speakers towards the front of the room. This location is also where you should place your subwoofer. This way, the bulk of your sound comes from where the film plays. 

However, the other two speakers should go towards the back of the room. Ideally, it's best to place these speakers on either side of your media room furniture. This placement provides the immersive sound you're looking for in a home theater. 

We also recommend placing your speakers twenty inches from the walls. Placing them too close to the walls can cause unwanted reverberation to distort your sound.

Start Building Your Home Theater

Building a media room doesn't have to cost a fortune. Following these tips can help you construct a media room you can enjoy and afford. 

So, start with the first steps. Find a space in your home that can accommodate a home theater. Once you have the best location, start looking for a display screen. 

Before long, you'll have a media room you can be proud of. All you'll have left to worry about is what film to show!

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