Home movie theaters designs are all over the map. And this is a good thing. It’s your house, your theater, your baby–make it the way you want it.
Still, I would rather have a good home movie theater than a bad one, and to that end, I chose 25 home theaters from Los Angeles real estate listings to get a sense of what’s really out there. The idea is to remove the emotions from this discussion and be constructive about what we see, keeping in mind these tenets: 1.) Does the design live in service of the viewing experience? 2.) Does the design do a good job of balancing movie viewing needs with other room uses? Keep in mind that these rooms are overlit because the pictures are about selling the property, not about creating a mood. The stagers or real estate agents did certain weird things to enhance the photos, like positioning popcorn makers next to screens, and I have ignored those oddities. Theaters that induce yawns: mere rooms that get turned into movie theaters, with few special attention taken towards the needs of movie watching. Sublime: multiple tiers, darker colors, coffered ceilings and recessed lights, projectors not flat screens.
If you own an image and don’t want it here, send me a polite e-mail and I’ll take it down.
Great Theater Designs
Two views of the same theater, above. Dark and tasteful, with real theater seats.
Dark, with real theater seats and under seat lighting. Tiered seating.
Above, one of the few home theaters that use curtains on the walls.
The home movie theater, above, is going for the classic 1920s Deco look.
Medium Quality–Not Great, Not Bad
Home movie theater designs that fall in the mid-range tend to overdo it with the white upholstery.
Above is a good example of a mid-quality home movie theater that barely misses the mark. The black ceiling and walls are fantastic, but the carpeting is too light-colored and the seating is oddly arranged.
Bad Theater Designs
Bad designs are marked by light colors, bright colors, and busy patterns.