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I just wanted to start by saying I am sorry if a continued search would yield results, but I live in the sticks and have a very slow and less than reliable net connection. As an example, it has taken over an hour and a half just to post this question. I had to compose this in Word and paste it here and try several times until it took. I tried searching but after 2 days I have only read about 5 threads thanks to this horrible connection. So again I appologize. Now onto the question.... :) :


Okay, I am designing a house to build, and one major item for me is to have a dedicated Home Theater. So I am here to find out the best dimensions, and shape for one, so I can include them in my plans. I have combed through the forums and have found a few different formulas and suggestions, but many seem to be dependent upon at least one or more restrictions in size, location or what have you. Since I am designing a new home, and want the HT to be a part of these plans, I am working from a clean slate. I will be building the house myself w/ my wife’s dad who is a contractor, so this is my best shot at having a HT in my own home. I doubt I could ever afford to build one otherwise. So my question is what are the ideal dimensions and shape for a HT? I would rather it not be too huge, maybe between 10-20 feet wide, preferably somewhere in the middle, but that is not required. My thought is to house it in the basement, but again this is not a requirement. I would like a theater that uses a screen and projector, Seats 5+, and it will have a separate room to house the equipment, and flush mounted speakers. I am new to this, and I intend to dive head first into educating myself as much as possible, but I assume that will take quite sometime. The plans need to be turned in fairly soon, and while they can be amended as we go, I have to give them at least a rough idea of how the house will be designed to continue from where we are now. So I am asking for the help of you HT masters! Any help/advice would be most appreciated. I have a lot to learn, so I am sure I will be chatting with you all in the future. Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

The biggest determining factor is the ceiling height. 10' is great if possible. Once we know that, it's a bit easier.

You're not overloading the room with seating so your room size desires are well within scope. There are no perfect dimensions. All you can try to do is avoid particularly bad ones like 12x24x8 or 16x16x8. A rectangular room is most space efficient and easiest to predict.

Welcome to the madness...

Bryan
 

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Bryan, would it not be a good idea to have non-parallel walls if that's a possibility?

Hockey, are you intending to put the HT in the basement?
 

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Having the 2 side walls non-parallel (narrow in front, wide in back) can certainly give some benefits. However, it takes a decent amount of splay to make this effective. Think 1" per foot per side. So, if the room is 20' long, you'd be approx 40" narrower in front than in the rear. Usually, in a home, this isn't an effective use of space and the larger room is of more benefit.

Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help folks! I can't wait to see what else you have for me. If 10' is the ideal, then 10' it is! As far as non-parallel walls that is fine as well. Location is open as well. I was thinking the basement, but if there is a better location then fine by me! Let 'er rip! I can make most any idea/designs work, so let's hear 'em! :)
 

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If you can have a 10' ceiling, then try something like 16' wide x 23' long. That gives you plenty of space for proper seating, a nice screen, proper speaker placement, etc. You can have a VERY nice room in a space that size.

Bryan
 

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I always dream of having a hiden room inside the house :bigsmile: ... with a secret entrance and isolated from all rooms, so nobody can bother me when watching movies :yes: :whistling:

If your starting from zero, maybe Bryan can suggest what is best to isolate the room from the rest of the house (double walls, insulation, etc., etc.) ...

Edit: about the hidden/secret room ... a couple of years ago I went to see a new house they were building, I got the floorplan design and made some changes; I came up with a room that was surrounded by the kitchen, living, bedroom, library and hallway ... the room was exactly on the middle.
 

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There are certainly a lot of things that can be planned for now that will make it much easier to isolate the room. Likely the biggest one is the HVAC system. If you can swing it, I'd recommend a second system (small) just for that room. I'd also recommend that you keep any ductwork to/from other rooms completely out of that space. Any and all ducting for that room or for other rooms that happen to be in the joists of this room should be flex duct encased in MDF boxes. Tin ducting is the devils work.

After that, it's purely a matter of physical isolation. That will take a little additional room if you wan the finished dimensions to be 16x23x10 - maybe an additional 1' on the length and widht and 4-5" on the height. That leaves enough for double walls (inners suspended from PAC DC-04 clips), RSIC-1 and hat channel on the ceiling, and double drywall with green glue all around. Also, it allows DriCor flooring to be laid down first and walls built on top of that. Add in good elec and HVAC isolation and a good, solid core door with seals, and you're ready to rock.

One other thing.... If this room is going to be on the first floor, you might want to see if they can rim joist around this room and change the direction of the joists potentially. Just don't want any floor joists shared with other spaces that would transmit sound.

Bryan
 

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All you can try to do is avoid particularly bad ones like 12x24x8 or 16x16x8. A rectangular room is most space efficient and easiest to predict.
Do you point these dimensions out due to the first set having one number divisable by another in the set and the second set being square? Or do you just not like these numbers in particular:nerd:?
 

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Yes, square rooms, and rooms that have one dimension that is a multiple of another dimension tend to have problems acoustically.

There are some "golden ratios" somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Google might find them.

And even then, it doesn't guarantee a good outcome, but it's more likely.

10x16x23 sounds like a fine size. Wish I had 10' ceilings.
 

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It's a close variation on the 1:1.6:2.33 ratio that's worked well for me in the past. It seems to fit your 'envelope' pretty well also without being silly big.

Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Bryan, and everyone! I'm thinking the basement would make the best location, taking in all of this information. The dimensions sound great too. What about the idea of an asymetrical room? Would this be a good idea as well?
 

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If you do the non-parallel walls, look up a few posts at what Bryan said. 1" per foot per wall. For a 23' long room, you'd be at least 46" wider at the back than the front. I assume, but don't know for a fact that more would be better. This will cause at least one other room in the basement to be "funny shaped", so I'd clear the idea with SWMBO.

If you truly have a free hand in designing the layout, I'd go for it.

How important is the sound isolation going to be in your case? Are you going to want to keep sound in or out of the HT? Or both?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
If you do the non-parallel walls, look up a few posts at what Bryan said. 1" per foot per wall. For a 23' long room, you'd be at least 46" wider at the back than the front. I assume, but don't know for a fact that more would be better. This will cause at least one other room in the basement to be "funny shaped", so I'd clear the idea with SWMBO.

If you truly have a free hand in designing the layout, I'd go for it.

How important is the sound isolation going to be in your case? Are you going to want to keep sound in or out of the HT? Or both?
I do have a free hand in the design. I took a ton of design/CAD/Arch design classes in school. So I am doing the basic design of the home myself, and then turning those plans into an arch firm. So I have full control at this stage. I am a novice so the plans will be tweaked I'm sure, but I get to turn in what I would like to see. Sound isolation will be somewhat important, but not critical. So far, just by going off of the previous posts, I am thinking the HT will be in a basement, under the Kitchen and dinning areas. So it would be nice to limit the sound leaks, but it doesn't have to be completely sealed. I did see where Bryan said about 1" per foot. I just want to see if that would be the best design for the acoustics, and if so, more detail on how to best use this design. Especially to endure I don't end up with a small screen, that would just be wrong! So may be a 10'H - 23'L - 19'W or 20'W (rear) and 15'W or 16'W (front)? :bigsmile: Anyhow, thanks again Bryan, Chris and everyone! You guys rock, and I am so lucky to have found this site! Thanks again all!
 

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The basement is a great space for a theater room, the temperature tend to stay much cooler and is better for the equipment plus the ground insulates giving you great soundproofing. The only issue is if you ever have a flood the basement is where the water will be first so always keep that in mind that the builders water proof the foundation properly and that you have proper drainage.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
The basement is a great space for a theater room, the temperature tend to stay much cooler and is better for the equipment plus the ground insulates giving you great soundproofing. The only issue is if you ever have a flood the basement is where the water will be first so always keep that in mind that the builders water proof the foundation properly and that you have proper drainage.
Well I live in CO at 7200 feet, and it is dry as a cracker here! I will take every precaution to be sure, but a flood, or even a rain storm lasting more than 45 minutes is very rare. The biggest water issue comes from snow, but I will be sure to take the water issue into account. Thanks for the advice, I would hate myself if I had put in all this work and had H2O ruin it all.
 

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Well I live in CO at 7200 feet, and it is dry as **** here! I will take every precaution to be sure, but a flood, or even a rain storm lasting more than 45 minutes is very rare. The biggest water issue comes from snow, but I will be sure to take the water issue into account. Thanks for the advice, I would hate myself if I had put in all this work and had H2O ruin it all.
Spring runoff can cause all sorts of issues particularly if you do have a high water table. I'm at 2800ft so I have a good idea as to what your living in. Have fun:T
 

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You have to decide that. If you want to do a trapezoid shape, you'll just lose a lot of width in the front of the room and a lot of overall volume. In a size envelope like you're specifying, I'd personally leave it rectangular and have a lot more flexibility of speaker location, screen size, sub locations, etc.

Bryan
 
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