What’s the best layout for a home cinema room?

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Fancy upgrading your property with a home cinema room? We asked our resident expert Gavin Sime for the key points to consider when it comes to designing your very own cinematic masterpiece.

Whether you’re beginning from scratch in a new build or want to sprinkle movie magic over an existing set-up, Gavin’s tips will see you right.

Acoustics, practicality, size, and layout all play a part in creating an immersive, Oscar-worthy performance. Read on to discover how.

A home cinema room is not a DIY job

Gavin’s first tip deals with the elephant in the home cinema room — this isn’t a DIY job.

“Your best bet is to get experts to come in who actually understand the equipment they’re buying and installing for you,” he cautions.

An expert installer will first assess the shape and size of your room to design a room layout which delivers a stunning home cinema experience. They can also advise on the best location for your home cinema within your property. As you know, connectivity is essential for a smooth viewing experience. Configure things right from the start and you’ll spare yourself a lot of expensive mistakes.

Plan around acoustics

Sound is the star of the show in a home cinema room. For an immersive audio experience you’ll need a layout that takes acoustics into account.

A number of factors can influence the sound quality in your home cinema room:

  • The shape of the room. The unique width, height, and length of your room will determine how greatly sound frequencies are dampened or amplified.
  • Soft furnishings vs. hard furnishings. Hard materials bounce the sound around while soft materials, like velvet, absorb sound.
  • Existing rooms with laminate flooring. Carpet is a better choice for absorbing sound while laminate’s hard surface will bounce frequencies.
  • Wall coverings and blinds. These are two more factors that can help prevent reverberation
  • Speaker placement. We favour a 5.1 surround setup for sound that gives you goosebumps. Watch our video all about ideal speaker placement for expert tips.

All of the above affects the acoustics of your room. An expert will assess exactly what your room needs, not only from a tech standpoint but in terms of furnishings too.


A home cinema room is a dream come true. However, our experts are the pragmatic type: “You’ve got to think about practicality in your home as well,” Gavin advises.

How you use your home on a practical, daily basis should factor into your layout plans.

Placing your home cinema next to the bedroom? Probably not a good idea. However, there’s more flexibility and creativity in designing a home cinema layout than you might think.

You could make use of a garage area, loft conversion, or the attic. Some clients even opt to place their home cinema in the garden, housed in a custom-built space.

Clear the clutter

You don’t want people tripping over expensive equipment like projectors. So, what’s the best way to deal with all the gadgets and cable spaghetti?

Gavin suggests two options:

  1. Tidy equipment and cables into a purpose built unit
  2. Position equipment elsewhere in your property so it’s not physically within your home cinema room, then control tech remotely. This is particularly useful if your home cinema is a multi-purpose media room, necessitating more gadgets

Clearing the clutter makes for a visually appealing space. You want to focus on the action that’s happening on screen, not unsightly mess.

What size and shape should my home cinema room be?

This is a common question from our clients.

One of the first things to think about is whether you want a dedicated home cinema room or a media room for all the family. This will determine how much space you need.

Gavin recommends 4 metres x 4 metres or larger as ideal. And preferably not a square room. If your room is square then you’ll need to consider soft furnishings like the furniture, carpet, and wall coverings to help on the acoustic side of things.

Is bigger better?

Gavin couldn’t be more emphatic on this one: “The bigger the better. Size does matter!”

But a common misconception is that you need an enormous room for a home cinema. What we’re really talking about here is screen size, so make sure you choose a room with a size and shape that gives you the largest screen possible.

What equipment do I need?

This comes back to whether your room is a dedicated home cinema room or a more multi-purpose media or family room.

Bear in mind, says Gavin, “You don’t always need a projector and a drop-down screen.” Smart entertainment is extremely customisable and you don’t need to go overboard if a TV screen alone suits your needs.

On the other hand, you could go wild with a projector, drop-down screen, and a TV on the wall for normal daytime use.

The other factor to consider is personal preference. Technology is so advanced that if you find a ceiling-mounted projector unsightly, you can get a screen with a short-throw laser projector that comes up and out of a unit. “It’s very much horses for courses,” says Gavin.

Work from home considerations

More people work from home than ever. So why not make your home cinema room a place to work and play?

Technology today is such that we can incorporate video conferencing into a home cinema room. Ideal if you need to Zoom colleagues or make remote presentations for work.

This feature can be used with a large TV screen so the kids can watch their cartoons in the early afternoon and at night or weekends the space transforms into a snug home cinema — ideal for romantic evenings or watching sport with friends.

Working from home and frustrated by slow internet? You might find a solution in our blog on making the most of your home internet.

John Ross Smart Living — home cinema experts

Interested in a home cinema? Give us a bell on 01738 566 566.

We’re passionate about improving people’s lives with technology.

If you’d like to conduct more research on smart homes our blog offers insider information and advice.

Or get tips straight from the expert’s mouth on our Smart Living YouTube Channel. John Ross and Gavin Sime are our smart tech gurus — always passionate to share the wisdom they’ve gained from years in the industry to help you start living a smarter, easier life with technology.

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