Are you planning a DIY home theater? After all the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, you might be looking to replicate the movie theater experience from the comfort of your home … but you may not be sure exactly what to buy.
Your home theater doesn’t have to break the bank—but it does need to have certain essentials. Here’s what you’ll need to budget for.
The Essentials for your DIY Home Theater
1. Projector and Screen—or At Least a Wide-Screen TV
Let’s face it, it’s not much of a home theater experience if you’re just watching a regular-sized TV. Ideally, you want to invest in a projector plus a screen to truly replicate the experience of going to see a movie. If that’s tricky for the size of your room, though, a large, wide-screen TV could work just as well.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
2. Comfy Seats
One of the best things about going to see a movie is getting to relax in a super-comfy seat. To replicate that experience at home, you don’t necessarily need to splurge on pricy recliners or sofas. You could instead opt for bean bags or cushioned chairs. Just make sure you’ve got the comfort factor in place. Also bear in mind the arrangement of the seats in relation to the screen. 1
Do you really want to watch a movie while listening to your neighbor mowing the lawn? What about the noise from traffic or construction work going on nearby? This is where soundproofing comes in. The more you can soundproof your room, the less the outside world will intrude on you—letting you lose yourself in the world of the movie.2
4. AV Receivers
For the true movie experience, you need surround sound. The best way to get that is with a set of speakers powered by an AV receiver. There are lots of different models and features to choose from, so even if you’re working on a fairly tight budget, you should be able to get something that delivers great quality sound.3
5. Popcorn Maker
For many of us, eating popcorn is such an integral part of the movie-going experience that something would be missing without it. A popcorn maker is definitely essential, especially as you can pick one up for $15 or less.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
6. Fast Internet Connection
Unless you’ll be watching all your movies on Blu-ray or DVD, you’ll need a fast and reliable internet connection for streaming. This might mean investing in a wifi extender, especially if your home theater is located in the basement and your wifi doesn’t easily reach. You may even want to look into upgrading your broadband package.
7. A Universal or Programmable Remote
Instead of juggling multiple remotes for your projector, sound system, cable box, and so on, get one universal remote that you can program. That way, you can set things up quickly rather than spending ages just getting ready to watch your favorite movie.
Beyond the Essentials for your DIY Home Theater
Do you want some extra luxuries for your home theater setup? If you’ve got some wiggle room in your budget, you’ll want to add in some of these for the ultimate movie experience:
1. Fridge for Drinks and Snacks
Do you want to grab a soda or beer while you watch your movie? Instead of trekking to the kitchen fridge, get a fridge for your home theater room. That way, you’ll have all the snacks and drinks you need on hand.
2. Movie Posters
To really get that movie theater ambiance, you’ll need to get your hands on some movie decor. A few movie posters, nicely framed, is a great way to start. You and your guests can enjoy looking at these before the lights go down for the beginning of the movie.
3. Games Console
For plenty of people, a home theater setup isn’t just for movies—it’s for gaming, too. You’ll obviously need a console, the games themselves, plus enough controllers for everyone who’ll want to play.
4. Snack Options
Whether it’s a classic candy vending machine, a popcorn dispenser, or a nacho warmer, buying a few extra snack accessories for your home theater can really help create the “night out” feel that you’re going for.
5. Cozy Blankets
If your home theater has a good air conditioning system, you might find that you get a little chilly after you’ve been sitting still for an hour or so. This is a great time to get out some soft and fluffy blankets: snuggle up in your chair (or on a sofa with your kids or significant other) for the ultimate cozy movie experience.
Whether you’re a horror movie fan or a classic film aficionado, you’ll want to create the best home theater you can. By getting all these essentials in place for your DIY home theater—and throwing in some extras—you can leave the real world behind and immerse yourself in a great movie.
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- Georgiou K, Kranakis E, Krixanc D. Random maximal independent sets and the unfriendly theater seating arrangement problem. Discrete Mathematics. 2009; 309(16). 5120-5129. doi:10.1016/j.disc.2009.03.049.
- Lee, JC., Hong, YS., Nan, RG. et al. Soundproofing effect of nano particle reinforced polymer composites. J Mech Sci Technol. 22, 1468 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12206-008-0419-4
- Li Y, Chen H. A home multiple-function AV receiver/monitored control system, Proceedings of International Conference on Consumer Electronics, 1995, pp. 410-411, doi: 10.1109/ICCE.1995.518041.