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Tips for Homeowners Adding a Home Theater

Converting an unused room into a home theater is an investment in entertainment and relaxation. Home theater costs can start at less than $300 when using an existing TV and adding cheap components but they could also range to more than $200,000 with bleeding-edge components and lots of them.

Now, it’s probable that neither of those home theater costs is in your target zone. A more practical range for average media room costs is $4,000 to $50,000. That is still a wide spectrum, but it is realistic based on the availability of home theater components in “good, better, best” categories.

This Complete Remodeling home theater pricing guide will give you an idea of cost, the room size needed and what components are essential to optimizing your enjoyment.

Home Theater Components

Ideal Home Theater Room Size

Home theater experts are agreed that non-square rectangular rooms are best for acoustics, and this is important because sound is nearly as important as (some would say on par with) visual in home cinema design.

There’s actually an equation for home theater room dimensions that even Bob Villa quotes. It states that room width should be 1.6 times the height of the walls and the length of the room should be 2.6 times the wall height. Therefore, the perfect room for standard ceiling heights would be:

  • 8’ walls: 12.8’W x 20.8’L
  • 9’ walls: 14.4’W x 23.4’L
  • 10’ walls: 16’ x 26’

Being a perfectionist about room dimension ratios might lead you to spend money on construction that would be better spent on a system upgrade such as adding speakers to your home theater that are of a higher quality. Another popular alternative is to invest the money to add Bluetooth to a home theater, so that you can play music and other media off of your mobile devices.
In short, if your room is a non-square rectangle even close to the proportions listed above, you should be good to go.

Home Theater Costs and What You Get for the Money

Here are some home theater price tiers and the equipment they will cover.

$4,000 to $7,500 home theaters:

  • 36” to 48” HD Display
  • Basic home theater surround sound speaker set with receiver and up to six speakers
  • Standard IR (infrared) multifunction remote
  • Little or no construction costs
  • DIY setup
  • Extras: Add Bluetooth to a home theater for $200 to $1,000 for most systems and simple automated lights for $100-$500

$7,500 to $20,000 home theaters:

  • 42” HD display or larger
  • Good-to-better surround sound speaker set with receiver, and up to six speakers with an additional subwoofer
  • In-ceiling speaker mounts
  • Good-quality RF (radio frequency) multifunction remote that gives you much greater range than IR
  • Construction costs up to $10,000 for moving walls, adding a drop ceiling or installing speakers in an existing ceiling
  • Setup done partially or entirely by professionals
  • Extras: Adding speakers to your home theater in the “better” or “best” range can add up to $5,000 more; Home automation for lighting is a nice touch

$20,000 to $75,000 home theaters:

  • Premium, large HD display or good-quality video projector and screen
  • better-quality surround sound speaker set up with receiver, and up to six speakers with an additional subwoofer
  • In-ceiling speaker mounts
  • Top-quality RF (radio frequency) multifunction remote that gives you much greater range than IR
  • Theater seating instead of couches and chairs
  • Construction costs up to $15,000 for moving walls, adding a drop ceiling or installing speakers in an existing ceiling
  • Setup done entirely by professionals
  • Premium speakers or Bluetooth speakers

$75,000+ home theaters:

Most of your money in this price range is going to be spent on best-of-the-best equipment, construction or super-premium seating. Popular components in upscale home theaters include a high-end video projector, CinemaScope screen, touchscreen remote, Blu-ray server for movie storage and home automation system for the screen, shades, projector and lighting.

Your Home Theater Budget  

Once you established how much you would spend on your home theater, you’ll have to allocate the money to construction and equipment. Obviously, if you can make an existing room work, perhaps with a few upgrades like a light-eliminating window shade and acoustic panels, the more you can sink into Movie Ticketequipment and comfortable seating. If the room size is right you may even be able to blend a man cave type of room and a home theater into one room, thus generating more use out of an underused room and adding that “wow factor’’ and value to your home.

Most experts agree that if you have a rectangular room that’s within about three feet of the right dimensions for length and width, the best use of your money is to put it into equipment rather than construction. Let us know how your home theater project turns out. Our readers would love to know what you put into yours and how much it cost.

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