October 26, 2007
| by Lisa Montgomery
No entertainment room is complete without furniture—for your body and for your audio/video equipment. Both will be an added expense, so it’s important to choose these items wisely. Furniture stores may be the first place you’d think to look for these products, and many now carry at least one line of specialty cinema chairs, cabinetry and shelving. However, be sure to also shop at specialty audio/video retailers in your area. You may discover new options and clever room arrangements that resemble a commercial theater, albeit on a much smaller scale. Specialty audio/video retailers may also carry accessories like movie posters, decorative wall panels, themed carpeting and marquees that can jazz up your entertainment space.
Take a Seat
If you’ll be turning an unfinished area, such as a bonus room or basement, into a theater, your options are wide open: traditional couches, barstools, even bean bags will work. but as long as the room needs to be constructed, you might consider putting in some tiered flooring for a stadium-style seating effect (if your budget permits it) like you’d find in a commercial theater. Common arrangements are two or three rows of four seats, giving you plenty of seating for a fairly large group of people. That’s the beauty of a tiered theater: You’ll be able to fit in more seats than you would if you’d left the floor flat, making it a good option for small rooms.
Any type and style of chair can be fitted onto the tiers: loveseats, couches, even wingback chairs. However, you may miss out on some of the cool features found in specialty theater seats. Many such chairs feature cup holders and snack trays; some have articulating headrests and storage compartments for remote controls. You may even be able to find a seat with a built-in tactile transducer that shakes the chair in synch with the movie, giving action flicks a whole new dimension of realism. Most cinema chairs come in leather or fabric and are available in colors of your choice, making it easy to find something that’ll complement the room design. You’ll also be able to choose from styles that range from authentic flip-down seats and traditional club chairs to something more contemporary.
No matter what type of seat you go with, be sure it’ll fit into the room. Measure the width of the seat, and check to see how much space you’ll need for the seats to recline—if that’s your preference. Some seats can be coupled with shared armrests, or you can curve a row of seating with “wedge” units between the seats to allow more than one arm to rest. Above all, go into your search knowing how many viewers you want your room to occupy.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.