8 Considerations Before You Redo a Media Room

By Jan Soults Walker

There's fun in your future when you create a space dedicated to digital entertainment. Use this list to help plan the perfect media room for your household.

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Garrison Hullinger

1. Brainstorm

From music and movies to video gaming and more—a media room offers a gamut of modern-day amusements right in your own home. Unlike yesterday's theater rooms, dedicated to film-viewing and with all seating facing a screen, a media room arranges furnishings for fun and socializing as well as watching movies or playing video games. Comfort is key because you want anyone using the room to feel just as at ease snuggling into a cozy chair to listen to music or read a book.

Begin the planning process by allowing yourself time to dream about what your ultimate media room encompasses. What activities do you want the space to accommodate? Consider each pursuit and the equipment, environment, and furnishings required and how best to merge activities into one cohesive yet multifunctional space. Ideally, furniture selections and arrangements should effortlessly transition from one activity to another. One large round dining table, for example, can serve as a spot for snacks but can also provide a place for multiplayer gaming. Add chairs that swivel and people can also turn to enjoy a movie or other activities on a big screen.

For ideas, read Arranged for Fun: Game Room, Media Room, and Home Bar Seating.

2. Measure and plan

Plot the dimensions of your space, on paper or using a computer, noting the locations of doors, windows, and other features such as a fireplace. Then experiment with locations for storage, the big screen, furnishings for various seating groups, and a table and chairs.

3. Size and locate the screen

You might be tempted to position the flat screen above the fireplace, but this spot may not be best depending on the height of the firebox. Experts suggest positioning the television so it's 42 to 45 inches above the floor and is at eye level when you're sitting.

Learn How to Hang and Hide a Flat Screen.

4. Hide components

It's okay to keep your television on display; however, if you prefer to keep it under wraps, consider recessing it behind a door or artwork that slides.

5. Conceal wires and components

It's worth the expense to position the electrical and cable outlets behind the screen to avoid putting a tangle of cables and wires on view. Speakers also look great recessed into the ceiling and/or walls, with wiring hidden behind the drywall.

6. Maximize acoustics

Hard surfaces, such as your media room's walls, ceiling, and flooring (wood and tile, in particular), can distort sound. To absorb some of the reflected sound waves and hear richer, multidimensional sound, position a sofa in the middle of the room, add an area rug, and hang draperies that can be drawn across large expanses of glass. Bookcases with some open shelves, located on side and back walls, can also improve sound. Experiment with slight adjustments to the position of the sofa and other seating to find the "sweet spot" for sound within the room.

7. Lighten and darken

Illuminate the room with layers of lighting. Include fixtures for overall lighting, specific tasks, and a few directed to accent architectural elements or artwork. Put all your lighting on dimmers to set a mood and optimize screen viewing. So you can darken the room during daylight hours for movie viewing, install blackout blinds on windows.

8. Organize

Media rooms feature a lot of gear, so take inventory of electronic equipment and accessories, and plan storage accordingly. You'll need a spot for game cartridges and controllers, DVDs and Blu-Ray disks, remotes, and tablets. In addition to using built-in and freestanding cabinetry and consoles, consider upholstered furnishings that feature hidden storage. Check out sectional sofas with compartments hidden beneath flip-up armrests and ottomans with seats that lift to reveal storage inside.

Get more advice: 7 Tips to Give Media Room Star Quality

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