Lockdown has most of us feeling a tad lost and lonely. For some of us, grabbing a good book (and maybe a pet) is one way to beat the lockdown blues. For others, entertainment needs to take on a more engaging approach in the form of vision and sound.
But don’t worry if you’ve ‘Netflixed and chilled’ yourself to death by now, as we’re going to help you transform that TV / living room into a most impressive personal indoor home cinema (without the help of a professional). We know that currently you can’t really invite friends over to indulge in your new multimedia room, but at least it’ll give you a fresh new space where you can enjoy your favourite movies and TV series until then, right?
Watching the nightly news on an 85 inch screen is one thing; watching the latest Hollywood explosions and love scenes on there is something else! That’s where a projector can make all the difference, for the screen can disappear and the projector can easily blend in at the back of the room.
Currently, HD projectors are reasonably priced, but you need to ensure that you scrutinise the proper areas when shopping for one. Look at the lamp life, HD quality (720p or 1080p) and brightness (measured in lumens) when deciding between your available options.
A more straightforward approach would be a projector screen. It’s easy to purchase one that can be fixed to the ceiling and pulled down as needed, or you can opt for a clean white bed sheet hung without creases.
You don’t want to mess with home theatre audio, whether it’s for watching a film or the latest rugby match. Suffice to say, surround sound is your best option (if you can stretch your budget that far), so be prepared to spend almost as much on the speakers as you do on that projector and screen.
If running wiring across your living room is not an option, consider modern wireless designs – these might be more costly, but at least you won’t have to pay for pulling up carpet or chasing cables into your walls.
With your screen / projector in place, arrange all seating options in your living room so that anyone can enjoy a first-class view of that movie / TV series. The main seating area, like your couch or sectional, must face the screen in order to give the room balance and provide optimal viewing pleasure.
Get this right first, then consider how you can alter the rest of the room’s furnishings. Perhaps a pair of reading chairs can be reorganised to face the couch in order to create a gathering area? Maybe a soft high-pile rug can be laid down to add another layer of seating?
What furniture in your living room (and the rest of your home) can double up as platforms for concessions in your new cinema room? How about using that low coffee table (which is ordinarily used to display some books) for a big bowl of popcorn and other munchies? Or let’s do a dinner-and-a-movie thing by using the coffee table / long side table as a buffet!
If you wish to give your home theatre a more casual vibe, consider bringing in a bar cart or even a soft-drink machine (if you’re lucky enough to get one during lockdown) for a unique fun twist.
You have the screen and sound (and seating and snacks), but what about something on which to play the media?
Your options are to select a DVD or Blu-ray player and amplifier, or to build a media PC. Neither option should work out pricey and you might actually enjoy this as a DIY project. You could also opt to a buy a media PC off the shelf if building one sounds too tricky.
The great benefit of a media PC is that it allows you to store seemingly endless movies on the hard disk and transfer files over to a network. In addition, you can also play games, browse the Net, watch YouTube vids, etc.
The next and final step? Just connect it all – you’ll need to run a wire from your media player to the projector, plus the speakers (if you don’t opt for wireless ones). Then simply mount that projector where it won’t be knocked over or damaged. Done! Ready to pick the first movie?
Looking for more ways to keep busy while under lockdown? Try these 5 fast ways to declutter your home.