Eyesores in Your Basement Media Room?
How to put bad spots in the basement to good use.
Image from Houzz
July 18, 2013 by Lisa Montgomery

Basements offer awesome environments for home theaters—they’re secluded, usually dark and can easily depart the design of the rest of the house. However, structurally, they can present some tough obstacles and challenges to work around. You might need to contend with ducts, drains, beams, pumps and lots of concrete. These unaccommodating elements can actually work to your advantage, though, if you plan appropriately. Here are some ways to turn these bothersome basement eyesores into key elements of a home theater.

Steel Support Beams
Boxed in and wrapped in LED lights, your basement’s support beams can make a bold architectural statement. Your custom electronics (CE) professional might even be able to hide speakers and subwoofers within the wooden frame, depending on their location.

In this room, the support beams are concealed by incorporating them into a custom display shelf. 

You’ll want to hide this unsightly but necessary part of the basement, and one of the best ways to do it is by building a wooden platform over it. Planned and executed properly, these platforms can provide stadium style seating. Just be sure to incorporate a trap door so you can get underneath if necessary. Moisture sensors are a must, also.

Sump Pumps and Other Mechanicals

By building a false wall you can hide sump pumps, furnaces and other mechanical systems. Include a door so you can get to them. The extra space might also be a good spot to hide your theater’s rack of A/V components, or recess the rack flush with the new wall if you’d like see their bright, shiny faces.

Here a small hutch was constructed over a sump pump. Sump pumps can be loud, so be sure to keep it away from the home theater area or well-insulated.

Heating and Cooling Ducts

HVAC ducts can usually be repositioned if they’ll cause a big aesthetic issue in your theater. Another option is to frame the ducts and integrate the new soffits into the ceiling. This can add depth and definition to the ceiling, and may even be used as a place to fish wiring. 

Architectural elements like a coffered ceiling can be used to hide heating and cooling ducts or pipes Image from Houzz.

Pipes & Plumbing
Pipes and Plumbing extruding from the wall can be covered with a false wall—again, offering another spot to recess speakers—or with a plush, floor-to-ceiling drapery. If your home theater will have lots of hard surfaces, which is likely in a basement, draperies can help absorb harsh echoes and reverberations.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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