What To Consider When Converting A Garage Into A Home Theater
Creating a home theater is a great conversion project because it allows you to showcase your style and make a space that is enjoyable to use.
Here are seven tips and considerations for converting a garage into a home theater:
Look At Size and Orientation
As you consult with contractors and start to envision your converted garage, consider the layout and size. The number of square feet of the garage will dictate what you can include in the room.
In most cases, the largest wall is used as the big screen for a home theater, meaning the seating will be pointed in that direction. Make sure to measure the space as you consider what you want to add to your home theater.
A theater full of plush, comfortable seating will have a different layout than a theater that also features a dining area or minibar. Your contractor can help create a layout that fits your space and budget while matching your vision for the theater.
Most garages don’t have heating or air conditioning, which means you will need to add it during the garage conversion. The addition of ductwork could affect the size and layout of the room, so be sure to work through all the mechanics before settling on your design.
You will also want to consider the location and size of your garage door. When creating a home theater, you can either keep the door as is or wall it off. Walling the door off creates a more soundproof and better insulated room, but it can impact the scope of the project and the layout of the room.
Clean Out The Garage
Converting your existing garage into a home theater means you will have to empty your garage and find new permanent homes for whatever you are storing inside.
Before you go through with the garage conversion, make sure you have enough space for storing your tools, seasonal items, and recreational equipment, as well as your car. You may need to consider building an addition if you need more space in your home.
Once the garage is cleaned out, you’ll have a better idea of the real size and layout of the space and can start making your home theater dreams a reality.
Soundproof The Garage
Most garages aren’t insulated as well as the rest of the house—if at all. That means the rooms are more exposed to changes in temperature and that there isn’t much insulation to absorb the sound. An essential part of every garage conversion into a home theater is to soundproof the room.
Thick insulation and soundproofing materials will keep the theater warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, but they will also contain the sound better within the home theater.
A soundproof garage benefits movie watchers and others in the home alike. It prevents sound from spreading into other areas of the house, which means you can turn up the volume for a true theater experience, but it also creates a better listening experience for people in the theater and contains the sound to the room.
Even if you are creating a home theater on a budget, soundproofing materials are one thing worth spending money on because they can make or break a home theater. Your contractor can provide recommendations about the best type of insulation and soundproofing for your space and budget.
Add The Tech
The heart of a great home theater is a great home theater system. You can add a flat-screen TV to the space to watch all your favorite shows, or you can install a projector for the ultimate theater experience that offers true big-screen viewing.
A projector may seem more expensive than a TV, but you can still end up with a high-quality product that is within your budget The projector can shine on a blank way in the garage or on a large projector screen.
The size and quality of the projector depend on the size of your garage. Put the projector in the back of the garage on a platform or in built-in storage and shine it on the screen. Many projectors also pair with DVD players and streaming devices so you can easily watch your favorite movies.
Another hallmark of a home theater is a quality sound system. Good surround sound speakers can bring the movie to life and create the same immersive experience as being in a real movie theater.
You can either have your contractor integrate the speakers and system as they finish the space or just add speakers after the room is complete. For the full theater-quality system, put at least one speaker in every corner of the room.
Once the room is soundproofed, take things one step further to create great acoustics. Having a good sound system is important, but the design and features of the room also make a difference.
Garages are typically designed with storage in mind, with high ceilings and odd spaces, which tend to not be great for maintaining sound or delivering a theater-worthy movie experience. If your garage has a taller ceiling where sound will echo or get trapped, consider adding a dropped ceiling.
The lower ceiling will help the room look more like a theater and create better acoustics.
Softer finishes on the walls can also help with acoustics by absorbing extra sound. Many people choose to put black felt or acoustic paneling on the walls to mimic a theater experience and build better acoustics.
The type and location of your furniture will also impact the acoustics. Softer furniture that isn’t right next to the speakers also allows for better sound quality.
Make It Comfortable
With the technology complete, it’s time to create a home theater that’s comfortable and relaxing. One essential step is to add carpet to the garage floor. Because garages tend to be more exposed and only have concrete flooring, consider adding plush carpet to create a warmer environment.
As an added bonus, the carpet will also improve the acoustics and sound quality in the space. With concrete underneath, be sure to use a concrete sealer to protect the room from dampness and mold.
Comfort also comes from the seating. When most people think of movie theaters, they picture large, plush seats. Make that happen at home with comfortable seating that fits your space and style.
For the most theater-like experience, add platform seating to the space with built-in raisers under the seats that gives everyone an unobstructed view of the screen. Add reclining seats or couches on top of the risers to keep everyone comfortable.
Even without raised seating, plush couches and chairs, plus bean bags and floor seating, can create a welcoming and comfortable space on a budget. When planning the seating for your theater, be sure to consider the size and how you will use the space. The goal should be to maximize comfort and seating without making the room feel cramped or crowded.
Give It Style
The finishing touches of a home theater can turn it into the perfect entertaining space that reflects your personal style. The beauty of converting your garage into a home theater is that you can make the space fit your unique needs and style—each home theater is different to showcase the people who will use it.
Mood lighting, such as theater-style wall sconces or rope lights along the floor and ceiling, can add ambiance without distracting from the big screen. Putting the lights on a dimmer allows you to change the brightness level before and during the show.
Try a fun pop of color or paint the room a darker shade for a more authentic movie theater experience. You’ll also likely want some kind of storage to house your movie collection, snacks, and technology.
Add finishing touches that represent your personal style, such as family photos or posters from your favorite movies. Fun touches like a vintage popcorn machine or candy bar can put a home theater over the top. And don’t forget about the extra pillows and blankets to stay cozy while watching your favorite film.
These seven tips for a garage home theater show how unique the project can be. Converting a garage to a home theater is an exciting home improvement project that can provide you a great space for relaxing and entertaining for years to come.