Q: What should I consider with media room design?
There are dedicated home theaters and there are home theaters designed for just about any other room in your house. Filmmaker Barbara Roth is the owner of Paradise Production Company but also has a passion for interior decorating and holds THX Home Theater certifications. She has combined these influences to create the DVD Designing Your Family Room as a Destination Home Theater (www.destinationhometheater.com) and shares four basic design tips.
- Proper display height at the "comfort angle."
- Dark neutral colors for the walls and ceilings.
- Address acoustical concerns with design elements.
- Lighting, lighting, lighting.
On a recent home tour, Roth came across a home with several theater areas. "It even had a children's room theater, in which the display was 42 inches and was installed much too high up for children who do so much TV watching," she says. "We never would have thought to mount our tube TVs that high. It's great to mount your display on the wall, but you need to make sure it is at the proper comfort angle for all ages with respect to your eyes and neck."
Roth notes that since theaters have expanded into multipurpose rooms that are used for more than just watching movies, special considerations regarding decorating treatments are needed. These can range from the type of window draperies required to block light and prevent sound from reflecting off glass to plush pillows and ottomans that not only provide comfort but also aid with room acoustics. Also, take note of the different lighting environments your home theater will require, especially since these rooms generally are either too bright for sheer window treatments or too dark with no ambient light.
Part of Roth's goal is to better inform the women of the house, who often make the majority of the interior design choices but may not be familiar with the ins and outs of home theater. Roth also emphasizes that proper design decisions can make multipurpose rooms as significant as other rooms that frequently earn refurbishing. "We spend so much time talking about [electronics], yet the most important element in a home theater system is the room itself," she says. "My goal is to create a trend in family and living room design to the interest level we now have for bathroom and kitchen design."