Family Room Home Theatres

Home theatres are all the rage in homes these days, but what if you don’t happen to have an extra room or several thousand dollars to create a dedicated home theatre?   Bring your home theatre into the family room, and do it with style!


The focal point of the home theatre family room is obviously the entertainment system.  Seating should be positioned so it’s going to have a clear view of the screen.  It shouldn’t be closer than 1-1/2 times the width of your screen, so if you have a 42 inch plasma, the closest seating should be 5-1/4 feet from the screen.

A rectangular room provides the best layout for seating and for the surround sound setup, if you have one.  You should have the screen in the center of the shorter wall for the best viewing angles.  For smaller, square rooms, consider putting the screen in the corner and having the seating area diagonal in the room.

If your family room is also the living room, where you’ll be entertaining, make the seating easy to move and arrange for watching movies.  Floor pillows and beanbags are quick and easy changes that can be made to accommodate younger viewers, while you get the comfy recliner with the cup holder.


Comfort is king in both home theatres and family rooms, so recliners and plush couches work well.  What you want to avoid is hard wood, glass and metal surfaces that bounce the sound around and can ruin the effects of the sound system. 


Hardwood floors don’t work well sound wise, carpet is preferred, and berber carpet can withstand spilled popcorn and sodas.  If you do have hardwood floors that you don’t care to cover, use an area rug to create seating areas for viewing and help with the sound.  You also want the room insulated from exterior noises, so the carpet helps in that respect also.


Lights on a dimmer work well in any room, but even more so in the home theatre family room.  Overhead lighting is going to create a glare on the screen, so sconces that can be dimmed work perfectly.  Even more important than lighting the room, is keeping the light out, so heavy, dark colored drapes work well or even blackout shades under lighter drapes.


Thank goodness high tech doesn’t mean high profile, so it’s now easier than ever to have a home theatre in the family room.  The components of a basic home theatre are:

  • An LCD or plasma high definition television;
  • HD satellite or cable hookup;
  • Digital surround sound; and
  • A high def Blu-ray DVD player.

You can always start off small and upgrade and add-on as you see fit.

Bottom Line

If a dedicated home theatre is out of your budget range, or you just don’t need one for the occasional family movie night, consider incorporating a home theatre into your family room.  You probably have the basics as it stands, so with a few seating, lighting and layout changes, you can save big on movie tickets.