Cornerstone Blog

Thinking About A Home Theater? Part 1


When it comes to remodeling a home, one room renovation is always among the most popular: a Home Theater. Now that doesn’t mean that your renovation needs to seat 50 people in custom-built recliners, but it does mean that you want a space where friends and family can gather to stream a video or just watch the playoffs using your cable package and a big colorful clear screen with big bold sound.

You don’t have to be an electronics junkie to know where to start to get the Home Theater of your dreams. Just call us at Cornerstone Builders. We are the experts and are happy to tell you the best way to remodel your home to make everybody ditch the Cinema and come hang out at your house.

First we will prepare a room for your new theater or our designers will figure out how to add one on to your home’s existing footprint. You may find room in the basement or maybe one of your kids has flown the nest and their room gets repurposed. Whichever room is chosen or built, the size of it will determine what equipment is necessary and which will best fit your needs.

Getting the equipment: We will work with your to pick the proper components. At the most basic level, you will need a big screen TV, a receiver, a DVD player, speakers and probably a modem with a high-speed connection. It is easy to go overboard on the electronics, but it is also best to be wise about how quickly technology changes (Remember beta vs. VHS? Or even blue-ray players?) You might want to keep your options open by researching online what is upcoming in the tech world for home entertainment and aim to be able to upgrade to those choices without too much further remodeling. We will give you some helpful and specific advice in Parts 2 & 3 of this blog.

We’ll prepare the room: If you have the budget, we will be happy to create thick concrete walls with no windows, solid-core doors with yards of weather-stripping, and sound-absorbing baffles on the walls and ceiling. This will make your theater equipment look and sound good enough for George Lucas himself. If you aren’t dealing with that type of budget, however, we will improve any space’s acoustics and lighting while not breaking your bank. We try to make the space as rectangular as possible, with few doors and windows (so no motorcycles engines roaring by break up the action on the screen). Today’s open floorplans and vaulted ceilings don’t help with the acoustics for a Home Theater, but we do our best to map out a rectangular or symmetrical shape within any room. We cover the floors with carpeting to absorb errant sound waves (wood and tile muddy a movie’s dialogue) and we urge you to use upholstered furniture to further help absorb those waves of sound.

If you’ve got windows, we suggest extra thick curtains (or we can even install windows using black-out glass.) You’ll want dimmer switches on your lights in the theater room too, because staring at the too bright light of the screen only in total darkness all the time will cause eye strain (that’s why in movie theaters, they bring the house lights up slowly.

We will make sure there’s at least 8 inches between the back of where your components will go and the wall or rear of the cabinet we put in to hold your components, to allow for easy installation, servicing, and ventilation. Receivers generate the most heat, so they need to go on top of the stack or on their own shelf with at least 2 inches of headroom and a clear path for heat to escape.

We always avoid bundling wires and cables or placing them near power cords; both practices will increase interference and diminish signal quality. We measure carefully so the wires and cables will be kept as short as possible (you should never coil them up with a twist-tie).

In our next blog, we’ll continue with our Home Theater advice by taking about how to choose speakers and components. We are happy to help. Call us at Cornerstone Builders to design the perfect Home Theater for your next remodeling project.