Build Your Home Theater – Blueprints
In my opinion, the most important thing that you need to do before the construction phase of your home theater is to draw out your idea. Just as a worker needs a blueprint to construct a building, you also need some sort of drawing to follow when you actually get to the construction phase of your home theater. You need to do this for a number of very good reasons:
If you have people helping you during construction, it will give them a better understanding of what you’re trying to do.
It will be easier for you to make a shopping list of construction materials you need.
You can experiment with different ideas regarding seating arrangements, speaker placement and location of equipment before you start physically moving things around.
It will stop you from constantly changing your mind during construction because you didn’t have a plan.
Most importantly… once it is on paper, you won’t forget the “look and feel” ideas you initially had. Construction can take months to complete and you’re going to forget all those great ideas.
Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to get out a drafting table and that funky blue paper, but I do know some people who purchased architect software to design their home theater blueprints. All you really need is a piece of paper or notebook to keep track of all your drawings and ideas.
Start by drawing the basic shape of your room and scribble in all the things that are already there. I love dealing with a room that is completely empty because all I have to pay attention to are the electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, and any objects that cannot be moved.
The TV, receivers, speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers are all added next… you don’t need to draw it perfectly to scale, but at this point you’ll get a better idea of where everything will be in relation to the entrance and your proposed seating arrangement. Try to be realistic here and keep things in perspective; don’t draw your speakers larger than your TV if they aren’t.
One of the most important things you must detail in your blueprint is the location of your electronics and all the wiring (speaker/electrical/cable/satellite) that will be needed to connect everything together. If you decide to put your equipment in the back of the theater, you MUST detail how the wiring will travel through the walls to your speakers and to the TV in the front of the room. This will save you headaches when you start running wire.
Once you have everything drawn in, you should finish your blueprint by asking yourself the following questions:
Do I need to remove, move, or add any electrical outlets?
Is the existing lighting conducive to a theater design? Do I need to add any lighting or put lighting on separate switches?
Are the seats arranged so I can walk safely around them when the lights are off? Do I need to construct more than 1 row of seating?
Are my electronics in a location where I can easily access them during a movie in the dark?
Do I need sound insulation in the walls/ceiling?
Remember that you are going to run into a lot of interesting problems during the construction phase, and no blueprint will ever foresee all those situations. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ve thought of everything, but be rest assured that while you were drawing your blueprint, you thought of things that could have gone wrong and worked around them already.