Mantel Mount | May 30, 2024

How to Make Your Living Room Feel Like a Home Theater

Most dream homes include a home theater. And with so many streaming services to watch and sports games to enjoy, creating a home theater makes sense.

But if you think creating such a space in your own home isn’t feasible, consider saving some money with a little DIY. 

With the right home theater system setup, you can create your own living room home theater.

What Do You Need for the Best Home Theater System Setup in Your Living Room?

There are several key elements that make up a home theater — many of which you probably already have, and a few you’ll want to invest in. By incorporating each of these living room home theater ideas, you can turn your living room into an entertainment oasis. 

You will need:

Home Theater System Equipment

Four vertical speakers surrounding three shorter speakers with a home entertainment system receiver

The most important feature of your renewed space is the home theater system you use.

Here are some products you’ll need for your home theater system setup:

Television

It would be hard to create the perfect entertainment oasis without a TV, which is why it is first on our list.

While some people might want a projector screen and projector, a TV is going to offer the clearest picture and fit more easily into your space.

If you don’t have a TV you want to use for your new theater — maybe you want a larger size than what you have now — check out our guide to buying a new TV and then look at this list of the best TV deals happening now.

TV Wall Mount

Large, flatscreen TVs don’t always fit within entertainment centers like they used to due to their screen size, and by not purchasing an entertainment center you can save yourself quite a bit of money.

If you get a large enough screen, the best option is to have a living room with a mounted TV. You can purchase a MantelMount pull down TV wall mount so you can adjust the screen to the optimal TV-viewing angle, which we’ll explain in more detail later.

Here’s more information on which TV mount to buy based on the size of your TV.

Cable, Streaming Service, or Blu-Ray Player

The next piece you’ll need for your home theater system is a way to play your favorite movies, TV shows, or sports games.

If you have great Internet, you can subscribe to one of the many streaming services available today. If your Internet isn’t that great, get cable, a satellite box, or a Blu-Ray player for your living room home theater.

Speakers

Next on our list of equipment are home theater speakers. There are several options for this:

  • A Soundbar - In smaller spaces, a soundbar is a great choice. They even have some soundbars with a surround sound feature.
  • Surround Sound Speakers - If you want a truly spectacular audio experience in your living room home theater, you can get a surround sound speaker system. This allows for incredible audio that can make you feel like you’re in a real theater. Just keep in mind that most of the best home theater sound systems with surround sound require a separate audio receiver. See our section on receivers below.
  • Subwoofer - Something that really makes a trip to the theater special is the BASS. A subwoofer is required to deliver the deep audio that movies are known for, like the sound of explosions in an action movie, and create an immersive experience. A subwoofer can be added to any other speaker system to create a high-quality sound. If you really want to “feel” the audio, consider buying two!

When it comes to your sound system, here are some of the best sound systems to use:

Once you have your sound system, you can start thinking about where you want to put it all and the right sound settings to set up. 

For a true surround-sound experience, place your speakers throughout the space. 

Home Theater Receiver

Many home theater aficionados swear that the home audio system is even more important than the picture. And the receiver is the heart of that sound.

A home theater receiver is what will give you a better audio experience at your family or friend movie nights. The receiver splits the audio into many different channels to deliver a surround sound environment and provides power for passive speakers.

The most basic of home theater receivers support 5.1 audio, or a system with 5 main speakers and 1 subwoofer. More advanced systems like Dolby Atmos even add height channels into the ceiling.

Shop Crutchfield for home theater receivers.

Living Room Home Theater Furniture

Two people blurred sitting down on a yellow couch in the background with a small circular table in the foreground filled with beer bottles, popcorn, and plastic cups.

Next in home theater design is the furniture. Your home theater setup wouldn’t be complete without some comfy chairs to sit on, proper lighting, and a place to set your snacks and drinks for the movie.

Seating

Despite what you might think, you don’t have to purchase expensive leather recliners for your seating, but many seating options will depend on the size and layout of your space.

Spacejoy does a great job of breaking this down by type of space you’re designing:

  • Open Living Room - For an open living room, use a single recliner and a traditional couch. You can also shop for a recliner sofa that fits well within a traditional living room space while also providing several guests the option to recline.

    Shop reclining sofas at Wayfair.
  • Closed Living Room - If you have a closed living room, this is where you could invest in more theater-type seating, which will offer a true movie theater experience.

    Shop home theater seating at the TheaterSeatStore.

  • Small Living Room - To maximize the space of a small living room, use a sectional that fits well within the space and add some ottomans or bean bag chairs.

Lighting

A great way to DIY your home theater room is the lighting you use. You can easily add lamps to the room to offer that cozy theater room feel. You don’t want anything too bright; and you’ll want something you can either dim down or can be on in the background without casting a glare on the screen.

With this in mind, if you have a lot of windows in your living room, you may want to invest in some black out curtains to prevent a glare on the TV as you watch television during the day.

If you don’t want to buy blackout curtains, another benefit of having a living room with a mounted TV is that our pull down TV mounts can tilt whichever direction you need it to go, even if that means away from natural light coming in from your windows. It will just depend on the location of your TV wall mount and the windows in the room.

Coffee Table and End Tables

Want to prevent spilled drinks and snacks on your living room floor? Add a coffee table and end tables for your guests. If you decide to purchase theater seating recliners, many of these come with cupholders and snack trays you can use.

Furniture Arrangement

When you arrange your furniture in your home theater space, pay attention to the proper distance and angle of the furniture relative to the screen.

Octane Seating explains the viewing distance is often dependent on the resolution of your screen, but they generally recommend a viewing distance of 3 to 5 feet. The higher the resolution of your screen, the shorter your viewing distance should be.

Once you have established the right viewing distance for the optimal TV-viewing experience, you’ll want to consider the right viewing angle.

Mock up of four chairs and where they are placed, dimensionally, to the television.

Source: Octane Seating

Horizontally, the sweet spot of TV viewing is a 40-degree angle. Place the center of your seating arrangement here and build out from there.

Then, consider the vertical viewing angle—or optimal height to place your TV. The screen should be at eye level for optimal viewing. One of the great features of the MantelMount pull down TV mount is that you can easily pull the TV down to eye level so the height at which you mount your TV doesn’t matter as much.

Home Decor

Corner of a room with evergreen colored walls, a lamp that looks like a parrot, and a gray couch with a yellow pillow

Your home theater system and furniture are the highest priorities for a living room home theater, but don’t forget about the decor! These are decor ideas you could add immediately or later based on your DIY budget.

Some ideas MyDomaine offers that we haven’t already mentioned include:

  • Paint your living room a dark color. Whether you want to paint your entire living room a dark color or just an accent wall or two, this helps bring the focus into your television for a full media room experience.
  • Create a grand entrance. How you execute this will depend on your living room layout. Frame a few movie posters and get a Theater sign. Hang these at the entrance to your living room. If you have more of an open concept, use these same home decor pieces by hanging them around the room.
  • Add a concession stand. If you have a small blank wall on one side of the room, or an awkward corner space you aren’t sure what to do with, create a small concession stand area with snacks and candy guests can grab before the start of the movie.
  • Frame your screen. Another great idea is framing your TV screen so the eyes are immediately drawn to it. You can do that by adding a couple of wall sconces on either side, building a wooden frame to surround your TV, or adding curtains on either side.
  • Add an accent rug. Find a bold rug you can lay down in front of your home theater seating.

We hope this guide provided the inspiration you need to create a truly wonderful entertainment space. And don’t forget to get your MantelMount pull down TV mount or motorized drop down and swivel TV mount to make it even more enjoyable.