Being able to watch and immerse yourself in the experience of watching a movie in the comfort of your very own home is a luxury very few people on Earth dabble in. If you’re ever thinking about having one yourself, you may have eyed your basement to house your very own home theater.
There are so many factors to consider when you’re finally designing your very own home theater setup. This endeavor can set you back anywhere from a few thousand dollars to half a hundred thousand dollars or more if you’re feeling magnanimous.
Here are some ideas to help you get some inspiration on what you may want for your very own home theater.
In this article:
- 25+ Best Basement Home Theater Ideas and Designs On A Budget (With Pictures)
- Things to Remember When Designing a Basement Theater
- How Much Would You Need to Build a Basement Theater?
25+ Best Basement Home Theater Ideas and Designs On A Budget (With Pictures)
Looking to spend a weekend either by yourself or your family? A cozy and simple setup with a window that overlooks nature is just what you need after long hours at work. All you need now are drinks and stories and you’re ready for the holidays.
This retro-inspired space is perfect for people who enjoy the golden age of film. Sleek, dark walls adorned with the vibrant colors of pop culture references reminiscent of Warhol and other artists makes for just the right mood to binge timeless classics.
Elegant and lush is the theme for this setup. A beige base accented with golden and dark chocolate hues is enough to impress anyone simply by giving off a lavish combination of colors.
Simple yet functional. This type of setup almost doesn’t look any different from a typical living room used by most families. A place where everyone can sit down and relax. That is the point after all, isn’t it?
Space, space, and more space. Walls adorned by striking fluorescent lights that extend upwards into a ceiling designed to be reminiscent of the night sky, you just know what you’ll be watching next should be a sci-fi movie.
Vintage yet luxurious with a ceiling painted in the likeness of a spooky halloween night. Snuggle with your partner as you watch horror films and thrillers in this dilapidated theater room.
Crack open a cold one with the boys as you binge game night in this sports inspired theater setup complete with a bar. Just make sure you don’t stay too long or you’ll get a good, old nagging from the missus.
Pristine and pure white walls and flooring, it would almost be a sin to spill your drinks in this incredibly modern and polished theater setup. Nothing like a clean environment to help you immerse and relax.
Rustic yet lavish is the theme for this impressive mahogany setup. Live in lush and relax in luxury while playing your favorite movies with a beer to help you catch those Zs right after the show.
You have an attic you don’t know what to do with? Turn it into a movie room. Just put down a mattress right on the floor with some pillows and a blanket and you’re all set for a movie night with your partner under the shining stars.
Homely and comfortable is the feel if you want a setup like this. The wooden fixtures on the ceiling makes the space tighter to the eyes but it also adds a touch of homeliness with its warm brown hues.
Movie night in a farmyard inspired set up? Say no more, get the popcorn, buy some soda and play the movie. This setup is perfect for families with kids to watch their favorite animated films on.
The black walls and dark grey flooring introduces a modern and sleek style of interior while the occasional pops of color in the furnishing and adornments keep the eyes intrigued. This setup is great for homes that fulfill an aesthetic all while being functional and stylish.
Kick back and relax in this heavily modified theater room that boasts an atmosphere sci-fi fans can drool over. Ornaments and fixtures around the interior reminiscent of spacecraft give this room a futuristic appeal.
In the mood for a drive-in cinema but can’t go? Just turn your room into it. This faux drive-in cinema is fitted with wooden walls and grass carpet flooring with overhead fixtures for a near authentic drive-in cinema experience.
It’s the semestral break and you got nothing to do? Why not invite the bros over and have a movie night in this practical yet sleek apartment theater set up. Nothing brings people closer than pure white walls, surround sound acoustics, cold beer and a good movie.
Got an eye for business and films? How about you spruce your home up with a 4-screen setup perfect for viewing the trends in the market and getting all that ultrahigh quality graphics for constant eyegasms.
Feel retro-rustic vibes with this vintage theater-esque setup complete with drapes and curtains adorned with stained glass lights like a memorable night at the opera.
Simple, sleek, and functional is the name of the game with this highly practical design. Muted greys line the furnishings brought to life by pops of burnt mahogany and virant crimson that tie the look together.
Date night? Honeymoon? Couples never usually go wrong with some good wine, a good movie and great cuddles. Don’t be afraid to get intimate with your loved one in this gorgeous gold and purple setup all while watching your favorite romance movies.
An entire upper floor as a viewing area? Say no more. This setup is perfect for a home smack dab in the middle of an estate or even your personal cabin in the woods.
Whites and creams adorn this simple yet comforting home theater setup. Careful not to spill soda on those chairs… and walls… and carpets… Maybe just bring some bottled water just to be safe unless you want to get your ear talked off by your mom.
Fanciful hues of yellow and emeralds decorate the walls and drapes of this setup to make for a luxurious viewing experience for your family and relatives.
A field of flowers under a sunny, blue sky is the theme for this beautiful theater setup. Windows that fill the room with natural light almost give the space a natural feeling, almost as if you’re watching a movie on top of a hill.
Walls, furnishings, and flooring of purest black makes up this aesthetically noir theater setup. Go for this design should you ever want to see yourself in a noir film.
Things to Remember When Designing a Basement Theater
Before you pick out a design for your home theater, you’re going to want to think about where you want your thater to be.
Lights and sound are the two most important features for you to consider and you’ll want a location wherein you’ll be able to control these elements as much as you could.
Because of these factors, most people tend to build their home theaters in the basement, where it is already quiet and dark. Of course, you can opt to build your theater in a spare bedroom or living room but you may have to customize the room in question to make it soundproof and to install proper lighting.
When you’ve picked out the best location in your home for a theater, now start thinking about what you’ll need for it. Is your location going to be easy or hard to get wired to a power source? How about the lights? Is your location soundproofed enough? Does it have internet access or can you do without it?
First, the wiring. Check the location and make sure that you’re going to be able to neatly hide your cable and wires that will thread across the room.
It’s hard to have a nest of loose wires in your viewing area apart from it being a major electrical hazard on top of not being a very good design choice.
When you’re done sorting out your wires, you’ll then need to check your location’s audio-visual compatibility. You don’t have to worry too much about this since there are a near infinite number of options for you and your home but you will have to consider the space you’re setting up.
The size of your designated viewing area will tell you the type of acoustics and visual equipment you’ll need. A bigger room will require more powerful speakers and a larger TV while a smaller room will then need less flashy equipment.
Once you’re done with the check lush we’ve mentioned for your home theater, now we can talk about interior design.
Again, the dimensions of the room will most likely dictate the type of design suited to it. Larger spaces can usually accommodate much more luxurious designs while smaller spaces need to be practical yet stylish.
Your final item to check off your home theater list is the overall theme you’re going for. Most homes tend to allude to modern cinema experiences by adorning their spaces with drapes and carpets, some even opting for popcorn machines. Others make use of pop culture and media references to accentuate an aesthetic.
How Much Would You Need to Build a Basement Theater?
Building a home theater is, truthfully, quite costly. A design can set you back anywhere from $500 to a whopping $50,000 though there isn’t exactly a limit on how high you can go for the upper end of the budget. However, if we’re just strictly speaking about a setup with the basic requirement, $500 to $50,000 should be the average range.
Cost to Build a Home Theater
For the purpose of this article, let us designate a “home theater” as a space fitted with an upgraded media viewing setup. This means that there should be more than just a customized TV for the space but typically surround sound speakers as well as a projector. So in order to properly make an upgraded media viewing space, it will pay to be familiar with the things you’re going to need, which are:
- Viewing device. This one can either be a really big TV (ideally more than 50”) or a screen and a projector. The only difference here is that the latter give the space a truly cinematic feel and experience.
- Media device. There aren’t really any restrictions about what you can or cannot get with this category so long as you can hook it up to a viewing device. You can have a Blu-Ray or a game console or if you want to go analog, get a VCR player. Get as creative as you can.
- Surround sound speakers. Normal setups will usually just include 2 stereo speakers. A typical surround sound setup has at least 5 speakers with a subwoofer but you can increase the number of speakers to 9 or more depending on how big your space is.
- AV receiver. The AV-receiver serves as the heart or central hub for your home theater. This is where you plug your speakers, TV and playing device. This component should allow you easy access to all of your components, including a master volume for the whole thing with a little equalizer.
- Soundproofing. Soundproofing your viewing space is definitely a great idea, if you can afford it. Though it certainly isn’t necessary, it is quite nice to be at ease that you won’t be bothering your neighbor if you ever decide to binge movies until late at night.
- Acoustic conditioning. Be mindful that this is not the same as soundproofing your space. Acoustic conditioning a viewing area requires very different equipment and is mainly about managing how you want sound to behave in your location. This is where reverbs, crossovers, and echoes come into play when setting up your viewing room.
- Light management. Unless you’re building your very own theater from scratch, chances are you’re going to have a window where you want your viewing area to be. As a tip, it may be worth investing in heavy blinds and blackout curtains to help with the glare and improve your home theater experience.
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Are Basements Ideal for a Home Theater?
Basements are considered to be highly ideal to remake into a viewing room or home theater since it has some natural advantages to its location.
As an example, since the walls are underground, you won’t have to worry too much about soundproofing it. It is also the part of the house that gets the least amount of natural light so you won’t have to invest in blinds or blackout curtains to properly set it up.
Be that as it may, you still need to make sure that your basement is ready to be remodeled into a home theater. Having said that, what details should you keep an eye out for when upgrading your basement into a viewing area?
Firstly, and the most obvious, you have to consider the space you’re working on. The dimensions of the room will dictate what approach you should have in remodeling your basement.
The types of equipment that will go into your room will all depend on how big or small your space is. It’s not practical to place a 100” screen into a room that barely fits it. As well, you’re not going to put 5 speakers in a space that’s barely the size of a clozet.
The bigger the space, the more equipment it can hold and vice versa. Ideally, for a home theater setup, you want the dimensions at 12’ wide, 20’ long and 8’ high at the minimum. Anything else larger than that space works just as well.
Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t have a home theater if your space is small. You may just need to tweak the equipment you need to fit in your space and you can make a home theater setup work just as well.
As we all know, water and electricity can make for a literally deadly combination. Having a basement means that the underground space can be prone to dampness and seepage. Plenty of sewage that the house utilizes can be found underground or in the basement so you have to be careful not to let those leak.
Basements are also prone to flooding during heavy rainfall so be sure to carefully account for that when building a viewing area. If your basement doesn’t really have any flooding or water leakage issues, a dehumidifier should be enough to keep the water out.
Basements aren’t exactly well-lit due to the fact that they are literally rooms under the ground. Other, more shallow basements though, may feature a light source by way of having a window for sunshine to come in.
While having a dark environment for your viewing area is ideal, you will still need some light fixtures that will allow you enough illumination to see where you’re going during break times.
In the case of having windows in your basement, you may need to invest in curtains since the sunshine could give glares in your viewing area.
Ideally, you want lights that have dimmers so you can freely adjust how strong they are depending on your needs.
Related: 25+ Awesome Basement Lighting Ideas
When it comes to wiring you’re going to need to be mindful about two types: the first is the wiring that you can already see in your basement that are for the other parts of your house. Make sure that these wires are kept away and neatly and tidily so as not to cause accidents.
The second type of wiring you need to pay attention to is the wiring for your home theater setup. Similar to your other wires, you need to make sure these wires are neatly kept hidden so as not to accidentally trip over them and cause damage to your home.
The Ceiling and Walls
Homeowners tend not to invest a lot in ceilings and walls of their basements, unless they have a use for it. As such, bare walls and ceilings are common in underground rooms which can be dangerous due to a mixture of pipe leakages and live electric wires.
You’re going to need to seal those wires and pipes with strengthened PVC material so as to keep them separated and protected. After that is when the proper covering for the ceiling and walls come in so your basement can look like a proper room.
Putting down some flooring or carpets and also help make your basement homier and aid the room’s acoustics.
WiFi connectivity has become increasingly important due to how often people stream their movies and series online nowadays. Everything – from Netflix, to Hulu, to Youtube to Twitch – requires you to connect to the internet in one way or another.
Depending on the size of your house and where you have your router installed, your signal has a high chance of not reaching your basement for you to be able to stream films down there. This problem is easily solved however by investing in a signal booster to help your wifi reach all the way down to your basement.
As we said before, basement floors are almost always made of concrete so that in itself already provides great acoustics for your basement theater. Homeowners can improve on this by putting down some carpeting to help absorb the sound. Carpeting also helps your home theater feel more comfortable.
Before you put down your carpets, you should first make sure that the floor is waterproof. Water can seep to the floor when the temperature in your basement changes and that can be a problem for your wirings and electronics.
You can waterproof your floors by covering it with tiles and making sure that there is underlayment before the tiles are installed. Once you have waterproofed your floors, you are now free to pick out whatever electrical equipment you may need with ease.
Most basements should work well as home theater rooms, as long as you follow the standard guidelines in construction and design. With the right tools and equipment, you can transform your basement into the home theater of your dreams.