Are you thinking about creating a home theater room in your house but you’re on a budget? Custom home theaters can cost thousands of dollars depending on the equipment and acoustic treatments used.
Thankfully, you can still create a high-quality theater room even on a budget. The key is to know how to shop smart and make use of your DIY abilities.
Keep reading to find out how to make your own theater setup at home and still feel like you’re at the movies.
1. Use Light-Blocking Curtains
Not everyone has a room without windows to designate as the home theater. If your home doesn’t have a basement but you want a cinema room, consider light-blocking curtains.
These curtains block ambient lighting from outside and also help with noise reduction. The darker the curtain the more it blocks the light, so go with black or navy for the best effect.
2. Absorb Sound with Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
Acoustics make a big difference in sound quality. Special ceiling tiles improve the acoustics in a room by keeping sound balanced and reducing echo.
When creating your home movie theater, one of the most important steps is to invest in the acoustics. Not only does this improve sound, but it also keeps the rest of the house from hearing all the explosions in your favorite action movie.
3. Sound-Proof the Walls
Another way to improve the sound in the room is to add acoustic boards to the walls. This helps to sound-proof the area even more.
Both acoustic tiles and panels are relatively cheap. They are far less expensive than adding another layer of drywall, which can cost hundreds. You can even build your own acoustic panels with wooden boards and thin carpet for even more savings.
4. Lay Down Carpet
Wood or tile can cause an echo, which impacts your whole movie-viewing experience. Carpet helps absorb sound rather than bounce it back at you.
If you don’t have the budget to lay down home theater carpeting, put in a large area rug. It isn’t the optimal solution, but it works if you’re on a tight budget.
Another solution is to use a credit card to pay for carpeting. Just be sure to pay it off right away to keep your credit score high.
5. Use Dimmable Lighting
While this one is optional, having a little bit of light while you watch your movie puts less strain on your eyes. When you watch movies or TV in a dark room, your eyes have to adjust to the changing light levels.
But you also don’t want too much light in the room while you’re watching the movie because it gets distracting. Dimmable lighting allows you to control the level of light you allow in the room. A remote control lets you turn the lights up and down at the beginning and end of the movie.
You can find these light systems for around $100.
6. Build Your Own Platform for Seats
The best home theater rooms have comfy seats on different levels for optimal viewing. You don’t want to be in the back and unable to see anything because of the person in front of you. This is why stadium seating is more popular than standard seating in theaters.
Riser kits can be expensive, but you can build your own wooden platform and cover it with carpet to save money. Six to twelve inches should be enough elevation.
7. Wait for Furniture Sales
If you’re planning on a movie marathon, you want your home theater furniture to be comfortable. Plush, leather furniture can be expensive, so how can you save money if you’re on a budget?
The best time to splurge on big items like reclining chairs or couches is during annual furniture sales. These happen a few times a year. January has post-Christmas sales, new styles release in February, and July is part of the summertime furniture sales slump.
Postal holidays and three-day weekends are also popular times for furniture sales, so keep an eye on your email inbox for deals. You can save hundreds or even thousands by shopping smart.
8. Use a Projector Instead of a TV
The focal point of every home theater is the screen. But to get the best viewing experience, you want the screen to be the right size.
When you’re in the movie theater, you get to experience all the tiny details in a big way. You can see the emotions on an actor’s face, and take in the full glory of the panoramic scenery shots.
The problem is that TVs 70 inches or larger tend to cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the harsh light LED televisions emit.
Instead of breaking your budget on a big TV, why not get a projector and screen instead? Not only will you feel more like you’re in a theater, but the light is softer and the picture quality is just as high.
Projectors also cost less than big televisions and you can make the screen an impressive 100 inches or larger. You can use your drywall to project your movie or buy a dedicated projector screen. Depending on the size and style, these cost around $100-200.
9. Small House? Combine the Home Theater with the Office
Not everyone is able to devote an entire room to a home theater. If you live in a small house and each room has to serve many purposes, consider combining your home theater with your office or gaming area.
Certain custom PCs have RGB lighting features that look right at home in a theater room. Check out NZXT for a look at their lighting ecosystem. If you’re a dedicated PC gamer, this piece of hardware is one you’ll want to show off.
Design the Perfect Home Theater Room on a Budget
The best way to make a home theater room with a tight budget is to spend wisely. Make sure to get proper acoustic treatments to absorb sound and reduce echo. Take advantage of sales and your DIY abilities to save even more.
With a little elbow grease and smart shopping, you can create the perfect theater room. So kick back, relax, and enjoy your favorite movie from the comfort of home.
For more ideas on how to save money, check out our money and finance tips for more great articles.