How to Renovate Your Living Room with a Home Cinema Upgrade


Thinking of treating yourself to something special this Christmas? Home cinema technology has improved so much recently that with a little forward thinking you can easily exceed the visual quality on offer at your local commercial cinema.

A home cinema brings Hollywood magic into your living room and is an excellent way to entertain family and friends. But renovating your existing entertainment system can be a big investment and not everyone knows their lumines from their decibels. This is why it is essential to do some planning before taking the plunge.

Not only is audio visual quality important, but home automation gives you more to consider by opening up new possibilities for your home cinema. Do you want your lights to dim the moment you press play? What about having a motorised projector that descends from the ceiling at the push of a button on your smartphone? These kind of touches are important for creating that special cinema atmosphere, which is what we are really hoping to replicate.

There’s a whole world of home cinema out there, but we’ll get you started with some of the basic considerations that you should have in mind when researching your dream home cinema.

Projector or Television?

A video projector gives you a truer cinema experience at home, but a big television might be the more practical option in some cases. One advantage of the projector is that it allows you to see the film as the director intended – the reason why most film buffs would opt for a projector. Viewers also tend to find that a projector gives a more immersive film experience than a television screen. Lastly, projectors tend to be cheaper than televisions, freeing up some cash for something really cool, like a motorised projector lift.

The disadvantage of a projector is that you’ll have to replace the lamp every year or so, meaning additional work and additional costs. You’ll also need a good space to project onto, so that should factor into your decision making. A projector requires a dark room to work correctly, and while some enjoy watching films in the dark, others can find it a little oppressive. A projector will almost always require additional sound equipment too, but let’s be honest, this is a great excuse to purchase those high-fidelity audio speakers you’ve had your eyes on.

Integrated or Stand-Alone Speakers?

If you want the latest in sound technology, and you probably do, then that means 7.1 surround sound. That requires seven different speakers in different positions around the living room to create the feeling that you are right in the middle of the action. The drawback to this setup, as you might imagine, is that it can take up a lot of space and compromise the existing aesthetics of your living room.

One solution is to opt for ceiling integrated speakers. These free up a lot of space for you to get creative or de-cluttered with your design and their overhead position makes for great quality sound. Not only that, but being able to select a favourite track on your smartphone and have it play through a hidden speaker system is undeniably cool.

On the other hand, some speakers look so good that you won’t want to hide them. If you are considering making stand-alone speakers into a feature of your room, it’s worth thinking about practicalities, such as how much free space you’ll need on a daily basis. Whilst your speakers might be well designed, cables always look messy so be sure to have them hidden, or wireless, if at all possible.

Cinema Seating or Sofa?

Complete the home cinema project by opting for cinema standard seating. With a home control system and D-box technology, it’s even possible to have your seating rumble and shake along with the action on the big screen. With some LED step lights to show people to their seat, you’ll have everything that you could want from a commercial cinema right from the comfort of your home.

However, before you go all in you should probably ask yourself whether your home cinema room will need to double as a living room too. With a discrete projector, ceiling integrated speakers and a drop down projector screen, it’s possible to have one room seamlessly transition between two main functions. In this case, it probably won’t be necessary to remove your living room’s original sofa, as long as it can be positioned so that the projector screen remains the room’s focal point.

Home Cinema Design For Every Event

It’s essential to get the basic decisions correct before you start counting lumines and decibels. A home cinema really excels when it comes to special occasions, so be sure that you can accommodate all your guests when they do take place. However, unless you are a real cinephile, then there’s a good chance that your living room will be most often used as a space for talking and relaxing, so make sure that the space remains inviting. If you know what your really want from your home cinema, you’ll be well prepared when it comes to buying one!




About Author

Malcolm Stewart is owner and founder of Kensington AV, an award winning home automation specialist. As well as his passion for smart homes, Malcolm has a keen interest in lighting design, architectural lighting, lighting control, home cinema and multi room music. Having spent over 20 years working with AV in residential property, Malcolm has an excellent understanding of the field and can bring a huge amount of practical know-how and technical experience to any residential project.

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