Easy How to Build a DIY Home Theater Room

February 9, 2023
nicole

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Our DIY home theater room is now my most favorite room in our house. The problem (yet, not a problem) is that it’s everyone’s most desired place to hang out. When we’re not all down there for a family movie night, we almost need a sign-up sheet for who can use it when.

This room is the coziest room ever and overall just has a totally different vibe than the rest of our home. We love it!

Before completely transforming this space, it was just your average media room. Nothing exciting and often neglected. With 5 kids, this room could get quite messy.

And before it was a media room, it was my oldest two boys bedroom. Hence, the Ohio State color scheme. Huge fans here! O-H! (IYKYK-haha!)…

A media room with reclining sofa and Ohio State themed walls

It has been my dream for quite some time to makeover this room and turn it into a space where we would all love to hang out.

A few key elements I knew I for sure wanted:

  • Dark, moody color palette to make the room as cozy as possible
  • Lots and lots and lots of seating space to fit our big, growing family
  • Perfect lighting to set the ambiance even more
  • Wicked sound system with surround sound
  • Big screen TV or projector screen
  • Blackout curtains
  • Nostalgic old-fashioned popcorn machine

While these all fell in my list of most important things, more than anything I wanted to not break the bank. I had my home movie theater wish list, but was determined to stick to a tight budget. The best way to do this? DIY.

DIY Home Theater Room

Header image for DIY Home Theater Room post

Color Palette

Ok, it was time to say goodbye to those bold OSU colors and hello to a dark moody color palette. I knew the dark colors would set the stage for that home cinema feel. With the first wall painted Black Magic by Sherwin Williams (in a matte finish), it was love at first sight! Oh my gosh! What took me so long to do this?!

Wall painted black for diy home theater room

Ok, but I’m getting ahead of myself. As I’ve done with every room I’ve remodeled in our house, the very first change I made was upgrading all of the trim. (I have a post all about how I do this, here). What a difference it makes to get rid of the builder’s grade, unimpressive trim and replace it with thick, wide trim.

This simple change, truly elevates the space and makes it feel more luxurious.

White door with raw wood trim around it

It looks better already, and I haven’t even painted them yet.

Window in basement with unfinished wood trim around it

Next up, came the big decision of whether to paint the ceiling black too. This gave me a little bit of anxiety. I’m not sure why I was so nervous about this. I mean, here I am not afraid to tear down walls, but painting my ceiling black had me on edge. I can’t explain it. Haha!

Diy home theater room makeover with all the contents of the room pushed to the middle

I finally conquered my fears and went for it!! WOW!! Again, what was I waiting for?! This move, in and of itself, changed the feel of the entire room.

It was almost magical how it completely changed the mood of the room as I painted more and more of the ceiling black. I even called my kids in to stand under the black ceiling and then stand under the white ceiling. They were blown away too at the completely different vibe the black gave off….

Walls painted black with ceiling partially painted black over white

Notice how the ceiling just disappears?

Ceiling and walls painted black with a white door and unfinished wood trim

Painting the trim was another dilemma. Do I go with semi-gloss (my go-to for all of my trim), satin, or stick with the matte to match the walls? The paint rep at Home Depot talked me into satin. And while I tried to love it, it was just way too shiny.

Mono-chromatic was the look I wanted and this was not that look. Thankfully, it’s just paint and easy to change. Painting all of the trim and the door matte black made all of the difference…

Girl painting a door black

Next up came looking for curtains to cover our corner windows. While normally I would be all about that natural light coming in…

Two windows side by side with new trim on them

making this room as dark as possible was the goal. I considered these linen colored curtain panels, but they stuck out like a sore thumb. In the end, I should have gone with my gut. As I said before, monochromatic was the goal. So these black blackout curtains are what I landed on….

I like how they don’t stand out at all, but rather just blend in with the room. Perfect!

(Amazon Affiliate Links Included)

DIY Home Theater Room Seating

More than anything, I wanted this to be a space that all of our family members could enjoy for years to come. To make that happen, we needed lots of seating.

With multiple sofas, I needed to make sure everyone could see the tv screen. To ensure the viewing angle was good for everyone, I built a riser for the couch that would be sitting in the back row…

Riser platform with carpet for DIY home theater room

While the carpet is slightly a different color than the rest of the carpet in the room, it’s really not noticeable at all. Especially since this room is SO dark. Check out this post to see how I built this riser.

Dark sofa on platform riser in diy home theater room

With all of the supply chain shortages, it took a while for our new sofa to come. Not wanting to wait another six months, I was so thankful that we loved it and it fit the room perfectly once it arrived…

Light colored sectional sofa in a DIY home theater room

The best part, we have plenty of seating for all of us!!

Both of these sofas have movie theater seats on each end. So we have a total of 4 recliners. And that middle section of the front sofa is amazingly comfortable.

We set it up for the best home theater seating arrangement. Making it a great theater experience for everyone.

Why We Kept our Smart TV Instead of Opting for a Projection Screen

Well, to be totally honest, we have a really nice TV in this room and just didn’t see how it made sense to get rid of it. Our 65″ Samsung TV has a large enough screen size for everyone in the whole room to be able to see it. Even the people in the back row. Boasting a great picture quality too, the best option for the space was to just keep it.

Back of a sofa in front of a big screen tv with a winter scene on it in diy home theater room

Our Speaker Setup

What’s a great picture without a kick-butt sound system?

We found a great deal on our JBL full surround speaker system on Amazon. (Here’s the link, if you want to check it out). The sound quality of this system is very robust. It has the best sound for such a great price.

With the walls shaking and the surround sound you truly get the full movie experience. It’s really quite incredible.

While they are not in-ceiling speakers like you get at a real movie theater, the speakers are wireless and the set up was easy.

Acoustic panels would be a great thing to add. The sound is still great without them, but I’m sure we would notice a big difference with them. Something I might add in the future.

Our Lighting Setup

This was one of the last things we set up. So, for the first month or so of having this dedicated home theater, there were two light choices. Off or on. And when I say on…think 8 can lights shining brightly down upon you. And when the lights were off, and the TV went dark, you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Pitch black!

It took us a little while to find the right lights for this space. After testing out a few different options, we finally decided on these. The convenience of not having to get up to dim the lights, is something we got used to very quickly.

To control the several settings of these lights, you simply open the app on your phone. While 35 different light hues seems a little over the top, we tend to stick with cozy. It’s the perfect ambient light for a night of watching our favorite movies.

Popcorn Machine

I felt this added feature needed its own section. What’s a home theater setup without actual movie theater popcorn? The smell and sound of the popcorn popping has such a nostalgic feel to it. It’s so good!

The Mr. and my kiddos knew how much I wanted one of these and surprised me with it on Christmas morning. :)

Drawings for built in cabinets to house this machine and all the cinema room goodies are in the works. I have some ideas in mind and will be sharing the plans with you in a future blog post.

Right now it’s all sitting on a folding table. Not quite the vibe and look I’m going for in here. LOL

Popcorn machine on a folding table

The Design Aspect of our DIY Home Theater Room

Keeping with the monochromatic theme. In building this media console, I wanted it to appear as if it was built in with the book shelves. A perfect place to house all of the electronics and wiring.

I love the added touch of the caning. It really pops against the all black color palette. And those gold legs bring in another texture and warm color to cozy up the space.

Media console with bookshelves next to it, decor on top of it and a big screen tv above it in diy home theater room

Keeping it simple with the book shelves, I decided to go with minimal decor. One substantial vase for each shelf adds depth and visual appeal.

I’ll be bringing the media console building plans to you soon in this theater room series.

Those book shelves were super easy to make and would look great in a living room or bedroom too.

DIY Home theater room with bookshelves and media console

Our home theater room is a very big room. So, that long side wall really needed some artistic design added to it.

Adding the picture frame moulding was an easy way to add dimension while not taking away from the monochromatic feel. Full tutorial coming soon.

Sectional sofa with lots of pillows, soft blanket in front of picture frame moulding walls in diy home theater room

I have 4 canvases waiting for me in my storage room to paint and add texture to them. I’m excited to tackle that project soon and get them hung in these picture frame moulding boxes.

That layered look will add yet another design element to the room. Be sure to check back to see how I end up finishing these canvases. Once the canvases are hung, I’ll be adding light sconces above each one. This additional ambiance lighting will really make the space feel curated and collected.

While I’m not wild about the pillows that came with the sectional sofa, they’re not terrible and have fit the space ok. I’ve been on the look out for new pillows and just haven’t found the right ones yet.

But I did find the PERFECT faux fur throw blanket. That almost seems wrong to call it a throw blanket. This thing is a beast! It gives you all the cozy feels and is pure bliss to snuggle up with. Definitely the most coveted blanket in the room. But all mine on movie nights.I got this gem from Anthropologie and spent more than I normally would on a blanket…but it was SO worth every penny!!

Bookshelves with vases and cozy blanket

Still Yet to Come

There’s one more thing I want to add to our DIY home theater room. More seating! Can a room really have too much seating? With five kids, our family will grow fast when our kiddos get married and start having their own little ones. (We have one getting married this summer and are beyond excited to welcome his soon-to-be wife into our family).

With that said, I would like to add bar top seating behind the back sofa. Facing the TV, of course, it will sit level with the top of the sofa.

I’ll probably need to extend the riser platform out a little bit more and wish this was something I had thought about when I built it. But, in reality, it won’t be too difficult. I have some ideas of how I want this added on bar seating to look. It will be a great space for people to eat while watching the game or their favorite tv shows.

FAQ’s about DIY Home Theater Rooms

How big does the room need to be?

The size of the room isn’t really a factor. But the height of the ceilings ideally should be at least 9 feet, according to google…haha! But, our ceiling height is 8 feet and I don’t feel like that has taken away from the sound quality or viewing experience at all. So take this FAQ with a grain of salt. :)

What kind of flooring do I need in my home theater room?

Sound bounces off of hard surfaces. This being said, the best flooring for a theater room is carpet.

What is the best paint color?

It’s best to avoid light colors for your theater room. Dark moody colors will not only set the stage for a true movie theater experience. But it will also absorb the light from the TV or projector.

What are acoustic panels and what purpose do they serve?

Acoustic panels are sound absorbing panels used to reduce the echo in a space. There are several easy DIY acoustic panel tutorials on Pinterest. No need to spend a fortune. One more thing you can DIY and save money on.

Does the placement of my sound system speakers matter?

Yes. Ideally, it is best to have your speakers at the same level as your ears when listening to them.

Where should the subwoofer be placed?

Subwoofers should be placed in the front of the room. This results in the best blending of sound with the main speakers and center channel. It helps avoid sound delay. Ideally the subwoofer should be pulled away from the wall at least 8 to 12 inches.

I hope you found this post on how to build a DIY home theater room to be informative and attainable. It’s such a fun and easy DIY project. And the end results will last a lifetime. A space that the entire family will love!

Media console with floor to ceiling bookshelves for diy home theater room

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

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SOURCES:

65″ Samsung TV

Blackout Curtains

JBL Sound System

Popcorn Machine

Smart Lights

Anthropologie Faux Fur Blanket

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