Stories & Advice for Homeowners

Your Guide To Creating Your Own Home Theater System

You're finally ready to upgrade your home with a big movie experience. What's it going to take? Home Professionals investigates.

Upgrading your home with a home theater system might not be as impossible or costly as you may think.

But where do you even begin?

Home Professionals breaks it down for you. Chew slow, budget, then upgrade.

The Guts of Your Home Theater System


Hardware, or the guts, are what you may want to look at first.

  • Projector (cost: $500-750) You may want to splurge for that 1080p resolution and higher lumens.
  • Screen: (cost: $100-250) A manual pull down is what we tracked in this investigation. But hey, you can watch it on a blank wall or sheet if you want. We just don’t recommend that. Your screen is a pretty important part of your movie-watching experience. So choose what’s best for your space.
  • TV: (cost: $1000+) You may want to just use a large TV fixed on the wall. You may be able to get your hands on a fairly decent TV for around the same price as a projector and screen. Depends on how big and how tech you want to go.
  • Audio: (cost: $300-$1000) Sound is an important part of your home theater system. We recommend going wireless so that you don’t have to play hide-the-cord. It’s an old outdated game.
  • Systems: (cost: varies–around $200) Whether it’s Blu-ray, the newest gaming console, a computer, or some other streaming device, you may want to consider factoring in these costs to your home theater system.

Setting Up Your Home Theater System

This won’t be near as bad as you think. Especially if you went with more wireless equipment. You may want to call in a pro to help you install if you’re not confident with the set up.

  • Projector: You may want to mount your projector on the ceiling, but you can even put it on a shelf in the back of the room. Make sure to consult your operating manual for the ideal distance between your projector and screen.
  • Screen/TV: Depends on what you went with. Use a measuring tape and leveler to hang your device evenly. Double check to make sure it’s in a comfortable viewing space for the height of your seating.
  • Audio and other systems: You may want to house your streaming systems in a nice cabinet that you can close. This makes your area look and feel more organized. Connect your media components to your equipment. Hang your speakers on walls or set them on top of shelves for better sound.
  • Sound proofing: If you haven’t already (which hopefully you have), you may want to use sound proofing materials for this room. We also recommend using a room with no windows as lighting can interfere with your movie.
  • Lighting: Use smart lighting to set the mood. With a smart home hub, you can dim lights, set moods, or turn lights off/on with simple voice commands.

It’s in the Details


The details is what makes your home theater system uniquely yours.

We recommend a small bar area for refreshments. Make it kid friendly with some popcorn or lock things up that are more adult (like your wine cabinet). Your refreshment area will be a big hit among friends whatever their age.

Seating is incredibly important when it comes to style and comfort. Obviously, the more luxurious, the bigger the price tag. Budget for what you can afford. You can always upgrade later. We recommend a couple rows of couches or large comfy armchairs.

Make room for refreshments. Install plastic, marble, or glass cup-holders, side tables etc. for holding refreshments.


Need some help with your projects? Fill out any of Home Professionals Pro Finders to get access to the best pros in your area.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need a professional for a home theater project?
A: Depends on how big you’re going. If you’re staying smaller, you can probably do it yourself. If there’s more work involved, such as installing theater seats, you will probably want to hire a home improvement contractor to help out.

Q: What kind of pro should I hire for a home theater project?
A: Depends on how much work you’re doing. You may not need one at all. If you do, chances are you’ll need an electrician to handle any complicated wire work. If you don’t have the tools, there are many contractors that will help you install your bigger systems. Stores like Best Buy even offer to deliver and install your equipment for a price.

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