A state-of-the-art home cinema is a boon for modern living and a killer feature for ramping-up value to your home. Whilst dedicated media rooms remain popular, a more practical approach to home cinema is emerging.
“We are realising designated home cinemas become inactive space when they are not in use,” says interior designer Miriam Fanning of Mim Design. “Utilising your living room as a home cinema ensures you are using space effectively, and with lounge rooms able to cater for larger sofas, custom ‘cinema’ seating isn’t necessary. The only essentials are great sound and vision, comfortable seating, popcorn and a bottle of wine.”
Good news for those with a case of small house woes or a limited budget. The experts tell us how.
A large-scale screen with speakers located to distribute different layers of sound is crucial for a quality experience. “It is immersive and puts you right at the heart of the action,” agrees Sarah Elshaug of Maitland Street Interiors.
Wall-mounting a LED, LCD or Plasma TV to the wall at your perfect viewing position is ideal and gives the space a clean aesthetic. “Decoratively, you can use units and methods to conceal the TV when not in use,” says Fanning, “whether this is moveable artwork on track, or mirror style TVs.”
The ultimate at-home cinema experience requires mood enhancement with considered lighting choices and block-out factor for your windows. “When you are installing your screen be aware of glare,” says David Hardwick, global buying manager at King Living. “Consider where the sunlight is and install the right window treatments to prevent it.”
Elshaug agrees. “Move existing table or floor lamps behind you and away from the screen to create soft lighting without the glare, and use black-out blinds designed for babies’ rooms. They are ideal for home cinema use.”
For a superlative sound experience, a setup utilising 5.1 channel surround is best. A front centre channel, including left, centre and right speakers, is placed in front of the television, and the left and right surrounds sit behind you. The subwoofer, responsible for projecting low-pitched frequencies, is placed close-by.
Because it is not a dedicated media space, addressing acoustic comfort is vital. “Adding layers not only styles your room beautifully, but also helps to absorb sound,” says Elshaug. “Add a plush rug along with a selection of cushions and throws. The natural sound absorption properties of natural fibres mean your selections have a dual purpose – to look great in your space and provide functional benefit too.”
Comfort and style
A smaller space doesn’t mean smaller furniture. “With living rooms already a haven, oversize modular sofas are perfect for stretching out and putting your feet up,” says Elshaug.
Hardwick agrees but says that choosing the right sofa can cause familial conflict. “People often buy for comfort over style,” he says. “Your lounge suite doesn’t have to look like home cinema seating. Our modular recliner lounge, King Cloud III, marries comfort, functionality and modern style. It has a simple gravitas to it, is well resolved and looks at home anywhere.”
Like many of their sofas, The King Cloud III features super-clever, discreet accessories, such as SmartPockets for stowing books, remote control or mobile phones, plus the ability to add integrated tables swivel tables that wirelessly recharge devices, and a premium in-built sound system. “It is sharply focused on the home theatre customer,” says Hardwick. “It is the ultimate recliner lounge designed from the inside out, with comfort, style and function top priorities.”
With discreetly located buttons on the side, TouchGlide Control Technology allows you to effortlessly recline and fine-tune your headrest, seat and foot rests. It also allows you to save your personal comfort settings for future screenings. “Every seat is its own component,” he says. ” It can be made as long or as wide as you like to suit your space, with modules slotted between for your remote or a drink. We offer a range of accessories also, like an LED reading light and swivel tables. It has no limitations.”
Most of the work that goes into creating a cinema experience lies behind the scenes. Hardwick says that rather than having to rip back plasterboard and add in power points, the King Cloud III is smartly wired-for-sound. “It is designed to work with the wireless Sonos home system. A minimal cordless play bar, that contains the left, right and centre speakers, sits in front of the screen and two rear speakers encased in a bracket system, are in the side of the arms of the recliner.”
Pesky cables discreetly travel through the sofa into a cable board beneath, where the subwoofer is also tucked away out-of-sight. “With the speakers just over your shoulders and the subwoofer nearby, you can really feel the vibrations,” he says. “You actually feel like you are in the sound.”
With a number of chic finishes available, Hardwick recommends leather as the most suitable. “We use top grain European cowhide leather that really lasts,” he says. “It is perfect for the recliner because of its excessive movement. It simply performs better.”
Pass the popcorn please.