Everyone Needs a Great Place to Enjoy Watching Sports, Movies, and More!
Football season has started! Whether it’s College Football or Pro Football – or both – many families across the country will be glued to their TV sets every weekend and some week nights to watch their favorite teams. The best way to enjoy the games at home is with a great – large – TV in a comfortable setting, away from the everyday hustle and bustle of daily life. So that means a dedicated media room (or home theater), right?
While real estate agents constantly stress how the most important room in your home is the kitchen or master bedroom (and these areas are definitely key), most people know that a house isn't a home unless you have a kick-butt media room to watch sports, movies, and TV series. With football season in full swing and a harsh winter ahead set to confine people indoors, there's no better time to integrate a media room into your home.
The best thing about creating or renovating/redesigning a TV room is that it's not only an investment that will improve the market value of your home but one you can enjoy in the present ... immensely. It's very important to make sure your pigskin party pad is done right, however, and here's how you do it:
Your Design Starts with the “Three S’s”
There are three main aesthetics to consider when laying out your TV room: sight, sound, and seating. If you visualize a group of your friends arguing over a botched instant replay, it will help you decide which wall will house the TV and which floor plan will give you the best room for ample seating – but so that everybody will have a great view. Once you've nailed down this configuration, it will help you fulfill the sound aspect of where to position speakers. (Design will also play a huge role in sound; more about that later.)
This media room checks all the boxes. Seating is plentiful and ultra-comfortable; it is arranged so everyone has a great line of sight at the action; and phenomenal sound is ensured by a super speaker system, sound-neutral walls, and sound-absorbing floor and ceiling.
Get Down to the Guts if Possible
It's possible to retrofit an existing room into a home theater, but to really maximize your investment it's better to remodel from the studs up. When you build instead of adapt, you increase the quality of your media room with proper soundproofing and insulation – and the ability to hide wires and frame the room according to your desired layout.
Features and Builds to Incorporate
The most fun part of bringing a football room to life is coming up with the build features to incorporate. Part of the reason it's recommended to start from the studs up is so you can
• Run hidden stereo surround speaker wire
• Include different amounts of accent, ambient, and task lighting
• Frame your TV and receivers into the wall for more room.
You might consider framing up stadium seating and carpeting over it for a more finished look, or make that an addition so you have more flexibility. A media room bar is not only a great place to settle up on in-game bets at halftime, it also serves as an elegant ambient lighting source when the area is used for movies and relaxation.
Looking more like a shrunken commercial cinema than a home theater, this media room in a luxury 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom, 3-half-bath Mediterranean style home plan hides all wiring from view, includes various lighting schemes that can be combined or used separately to suit any mood or setting, and have the TV built into the wall to save space and complete the built-in finished look of the room (House Plan #134-1355).
The two biggest things you want to consider when choosing materials with which to finish the football room are style and sound. The materials will consist of your flooring, wall panels, and ceiling panels.
Regarding flooring, there's no better option than wall to wall carpeting. Sure it wears faster due to foot traffic and may house a spilled beer or two, but carpet provides optimal ambient sound absorption and lets people sprawl out on the floor more comfortably for increased capacity.
Your walls and ceilings should also be sound absorbing, not only for being mindful of other non-sports or movie fans in the home but so that the sound quality of what you are watching is optimized and without echo. Acoustical ceiling tiles and wall panels are recommended, and you can even go so far as insulating interior walls with foam egg-crate materials.
This warm, comfortable, inviting media room has plenty of seating, with the extra bean-bag seats in the front and push carpet for kids to sprawl out if necessary. The carpet and wall and ceiling materials are sound-deadening, and the recessed, accent, and floor lighting can be mixed and matched as needed to set the mood.
More Sound Suggestions
One thing to try to avoid in your media room is glass. Not only does it become a danger after a big interception causes a wrestling match to break out among your guests, it creates echo and clatter with sound. This also means you should limit the windows in your TV room if possible as well as picture frames, glass coffee-table tops, glass-front cabinets, etc. Also try to use decor to help deaden the sound in your room: Fabric curtains instead of blinds, for example, or an area rug over any hard flooring surfaces.
Finally, determine your sound layout. Most home theater systems use 5.1 surround sound which includes a speaker in the front left, front right, center, rear left, and rear right. The 1 is a low-frequency subwoofer placed anywhere in the room. There are also 6.1 and 7.1 setups now that add additional speakers to the configuration.
No windows and no exrtaneous glass on tabletops or cabinets in this media room menas no annoying – even if subtle – echo when enjoying games or movies. the 7.1 sound system uses one central plus left and right speakers up front, two side speakers, and two rear speakers – plus an omnidirectional subwoofer. The careting and large throw pillows ensure plenty of seating, especially with kids around, in this causual TV room.
Options with Your Lighting
The main thesis you want to consider with your lighting strategy is flexibility. Neon lights and beer signs are a must when you're watching a game but they don't play as well when the whole family is gathered for a horror movie. Recessed lighting definitely sets the best vibe, but you'll also want a dimmer switch and possibly the ability to switch colors of the lighting. Don't forget energy efficiency either by using LED bulbs.
The Fun Stuff
After you've satisfied the layout and the sound quality of your TV room, it's finally time to incorporate a bit of the fun stuff, mainly the TV and the seating. High-res Smart TVs are largely replacing projector screens in most home-theater rooms because of the picture quality and the amount of cool things you can do with them – like having access to all kinds of video channels and being able to play videos from your smartphone. Seating is almost as highly technologically advanced, as you now have sectionals with built-in coolers and Bluetooth personal sound selection or massaging heated recliners.
This media room in a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 2-half-bath Shingle style Craftsman home plan has a state-of-the-art flat-screen TV with 7.1 speaker system built in: center speaker, two left and two right front speakers and two rear speakers – with a subwoofer for added dimension. The red decor is soothing for maximun enjoyment of entertainment (House Plan #161-1038).
Incorporating a media room is definitely an investment, but it's one that will pay you back. After all, once the build is completed, what reason do you ever have to leave the house for entertainment ever again? Share your own media room experiences and ideas in the comments section below.