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Avoid These Common Home Theater Design Mistakes


It’s finally here – the anticipation has been building for years and you’re finally ready to execute a new home theater setup! From lighting and sound to projector and TV, the options can be quite overwhelming. The good news is you’re not the first to set up a new media room so learn from others’ mistakes and enjoy creating your new space! Get the scoop on what NOT to do in your new home theater room:

Bad Lighting

There’s nothing that’ll ruin your viewing experience like a glare on your TV screen, or lights that drown out your video projection. For a home theater, the darker the room, the better the experience. If your home theater has windows, don’t place your TV on the wall opposite the windows. Additionally, consider the surface of your TV screen. If it has a matte surface, it should minimize light reflections; but if it has an extra glass-like coating, light sources may create additional reflections, distracting from the picture.


Projector Versus TV

If your mindset is to go big or go home, there’s probably an internal argument going on about whether to get a really big TV or a projector and screen. If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, you need to take into consideration the cost per inch of picture and the quality of picture, both being inextricably linked.

If a projector and screen combination is what you seek, then be sure to weigh the pros and cons before pulling the trigger. If you’re seeking better brightness, resolution, and color accuracy (just to name a few), a large TV is the way to go. However, if you’re inclined to desire more in the way of size, a projector and screen combo may reign supreme.

Buying the Wrong Size TV


We know you want a big TV –who doesn’t? But, an excessively large TV isn’t always the best option for the size of the room or the viewing distance. For 720p and 1080p HDTVs, the optimal viewing distance from the viewer to the TV should be about 1.5 times the width of the TV screen. If you have a 55-inch Plasma, LCD, or OLED HDTV, for example, sit about seven to nine feet from the screen. With the current trend towards 4K Ultra HD TVs, however, you’ll get a better viewing experience if you sit closer to the TV. On the other hand, if you buy a TV that’s too small, it will be like looking through a tiny window. To ensure you get the best screen size for your space, measure the available width and height you have in the room, and the seating distance from the screen. One of the biggest reasons people return their TVs is because it is either too small or too big to fit the designated space!

Buying Cheap Seats

cheap seats

Don’t cheapen your experience by buying or repurposing conventional house furniture or uncomfortable, but inexpensive seats. One of the best things about having a home theater is having your very own clean, comfortable seats to curl up in. If you’re spending the time and money to design your home theater, you’ll want to invest in seats that will both showcase your style and last you a lifetime. These reclining Seatcraft Excalibur LX Home Theater Seats are made of premium top grain leather (the most durable tier of leather), have ambient floor and cupholder lighting, and come with USB charging stations. Seats like these will definitely take your home theater game to the next level.

Great Image, Awful Surround Sound

awful surround sound

You connect and place the speakers and turn everything on, but it doesn’t sound right. You can’t hear dialogue over the rest of the soundtrack, the surround sound effect is too low, and the bass is overwhelming. Help! Try using a sound meter to generate test tones and use the setup program that most theater receivers have to match your speakers’ capabilities to the characteristics of your room. This will help determine the size of the speakers and the optimal distance for listening, and will use this information to adjust the sound output level of each speaker. If you have a medium or large room, a set of floor-standing speakers is probably your best bet because they provide a full range sound and are able to move the sound through larger rooms. If you don’t have a lot of space,  a set of bookshelf speakers may be a perfect option.

Not Hitting Budget Margins

Forming an appropriate budget and sticking to it will save you a lot of stress in what may seem like an overwhelming task. In order to do this, consider a variety of brands and models, do your research, avoid prices that seem too good to be true, and don’t devote your entire budget to the big ticket items. More often than not, doorbuster items won’t meet your needs. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on things like TVs or seating, but consider doing some research to determine which item will fit your preferences and budget. Also, don’t forget about the little guys! It’s easy to overlook things like wires, cables, wall mounts, remote controls, and other accessories that will add up.


Placing Speakers In Cabinets Or Furniture

Despite recent trends of hiding speakers in cabinets, furniture, or behind plants, this will really hurt audio performance. High quality speakers perform their best in an open room; if you put speakers inside cabinets, you essentially undo all the work the designer did to make the speaker sound great. Rather than adding to your home theater experience, you’ll get a muddled, booming sound quality that’s much worse than it would be without extra speakers.


Don’t conclude a movie night and allow your guests to leave your new home theater room in complete disappointment all over their faces! A truly great home theater is more than just the projector and screen – it’s about how it all comes together to give a fully immersive experience! Need some design or home theater advice? Ask our experts at!

Ready to Upgrade? Tips for Choosing Home Theater Seating

Does your home theater seem drab and outdated? Maybe your seating isn’t as comfortable as it used to be? Or, perhaps your sound system needs a little revamping.

Whatever the cause, if your home theater is no longer a pinnacle of perfection, it may be time to upgrade. Here are our tips for choosing the best home theater seating and accessories:

First, Let’s Talk Price

Home theater seating can be purchased at a variety of price points. Pricing is determined by brand, model, number of chairs, material, options (like power or manual recline), and accessories.

Having a price in mind will help you stick to your budget and prevent you from making decisions you cannot afford. There are many options for all budgets.

And, remember: you don’t have to upgrade your entire theater in one go. Picking up prized pieces over time allows you to refresh your theater without also breaking the bank. Financing options are often available as well.

Next, Keep in Mind Your Home Theater’s Layout and Arrangement

Trust us, the last thing you want is to purchase new home theater seats and not have them fit! Make sure to fully measure your environment that you will place your seats in.

Pro tip: don’t forget about the distance to the back wall. Reclining your seat and putting up your feet is an important part of getting comfortable – be sure to allow enough room to do so without pushing the seat backs into the wall.


If you have a tight seating space, our “wallhugger” seating allows users to fully recline while occupying a small amount of space.

Next, consider your seat arrangement. Do you want single seating, loveseats, or a sofa? As the name suggests, single seating is for individuals and typically have the added bonus of armrests on either side.

Loveseats contain a pair of seats with armrests on either end. These seats are perfect for couples (hence the name), but might be a bit too cozy for guests who don’t know each other well.

Sofas, on the other hand, have three or more seats in a row. Like loveseats, they also have armrests on either side. You can pick sofas that are arranged in a straight line, but some come with a curved shape that allows all seats to have a better view of the screen.

From these building blocks, there are many possible arrangements that you can try. Want four seats straight across? Or four seats, sofa-style? How about 2 single seats and a loveseat in the middle? Done! Arrangements can depend on the style of seating that you choose, but there are many final possibilities.


Another pro tip: if you are planning on having more than one row of chairs, platforms and risers can give you the same tiered look that’s found in theaters, plus optimal viewing for all rows. Some styles even have a dedicated back row seat option so no risers are necessary!

Determine Your Theater Seating Style

There are dozens of material options available for home theater seats. Leather is the most popular, and for a good reason too! Leather is durable, comfortable and beautiful. It also comes in a number of grades, from 3600 grade ultra-soft leather to 7000 high-grade leather.

Theater seating also comes in a variety of colors, from traditional black or brown to bold shades of red or even yellow. Polyurethane or bonded leather are offered at lower price point, and they are also more resistant to scratches or pet damage. Consider your home theater and personal needs for what color and material works best for you.

Being able to put your feet up is also a key part of a comfortable movie watching experience. If this is something that interests you, go for chaise lounger style footrests. These allow you to stretch out and put your feet up for optimal comfort.

Power seats also allow the user to recline and put up footrests with just the touch of a button. However, do keep in mind that these options are often more expensive. If power seats are out of your budget, manual seats offer the same comfort at a lower price.

Some models offer in-arm storage. This can be a great place to store remotes.

Consider Home Theater Accessories

Don’t overlook the details! There are many accessories available to help upgrade your home theater seating.

Avid wine drinker? Add a wine glass caddy to your seat! An LED reading light also offers extra light to your armrest, so you’ll no longer need to interrupt your guest’s viewing pleasure by turning on the overhead lights.


Seatcraft offers adjustable tablet holders as well. If you add loveseats or sofas to your home theater and later decide you want an extra armrest, loveseat side arms can be purchased too.

And, remember – a home theater is not just about the seats and the screen. Spice it up by adding drapes to the screen’s sides for an authentic theater look.

Everyone loves snacks! Concession stands can be a great way to keep drinks and snacks handy while adhering to a movie theater theme. Consider including a popcorn machine for a constant supply of freshly popped popcorn.

Is popcorn not really your style? Add a bar cart to the room instead. For a fun touch, a customized marquee sign can be added to a wall if space permits. This is a great way to take the decorations in your home theater up a notch.

Other decoration ideas include framed movie posters of your favorite films or wall sconces for some mellow lighting.

If you’re ready to upgrade your home theater seating, our home theater experts are here to help! We can help you with any questions you may encounter, from material and style choices to arrangement options.