If you closed your eyes and envisioned your dream home, you'd probably rattle off a list of certain features you've always wanted. Would a custom-built media room or home theater be on that list? It should be. It's the perfect place to kick back and relax, entertain guests, or enjoy a movie night with the family.
You can hand pick everything from the room's decor to every last high-tech amenity — and there are plenty. These recreation rooms can range from a basic, family-friendly media room to a multi-million-dollar theater that looks and feels like an actual movie theater. With thousands of options to choose from, you might not know where to start.
Take a look at these examples from CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association, broken down by price, to get an idea of what's within your range.
$20,000 - $30,000
This media room features a relaxed, open environment, suitable for watching movies and playing video games. The 133-inch screen creates an immersive environment, while media equipment is stored out of the sight, though still easily accessible. Dynamic A/V, Inc. of Granger, Ind., worked to incorporate all the homeowner's desires, including a projector that provides great audio performance and a clear picture in any light.
$30,000 - $75,000
For this project, Dynamic A/V, Inc. remodeled and upgraded an existing theater to feature the latest technology. The control system allows for easy, full-featured use, and a custom screen was added to allow for an optimum viewing experience in a room that is shallow in depth. The clients were able to get exactly what they wanted — a beautifully upgraded room complete with user-friendly technology.
$75,000 - $150,000
This award-winning home theater was designed to serve as the centerpiece of a model home in an affluent Southwest Florida community. In order to allow custom-home-sales professionals to show the home to prospective homeowners, the user needed to be able to control all systems at the touch of a button. One of the most notable features of this project, designed by Accent Electronic System Integrators of Bonita Springs, Fla., is the one-touch "on" button for the whole home, which allows for convenience and control.
$150,000 - $300,000
This theater room is housed in a large, enclosed concrete space below the home's garage. The home itself features tons of dark-cherry wood, which is continued into the design of the theater. The room accommodates at least 12 and presents an elegant appearance even when not in use. Home Technology Systems of Wichita, Kansas, made special considerations to accommodate electrical, communications and HVAC components within the room design.
$300,000 - $500,000
This home theater was designed to create a high performance space for movies and sporting events that emphasized a high-quality, immersive experience. La Scala of Vancouver, B.C., worked to isolate the room acoustically, including an audio package with 20 discrete channels — the main left, center and right speakers; four side surrounds; two back wall surrounds; and 11 subwoofers. And to ensure the guests are comfortable and the projector maintains an optimal temperature, the room has a dedicated air-handling and cooling system that is independent from the rest of the home.
$500,000 - $1 million
The owner of this home theater decided his first theater wasn't large enough for the extended family, so he decided to build a house around the new theater. The new theater features a 180-inch screen, exclusive projector, star field ceiling, seating for 15, surround channels for each row of seating, custom built speakers and audio/video components that rival the real theater experience. The large projector had to be placed within the room, so Admit One, Inc. of Edina, Minn., created a ticket booth to disguise the projector and to create an acoustic barrier between the projector and the audience.
Designed by Future Home of Los Angeles, this stunning home theater was a challenge from start to finish. The homeowners wanted a world-class screening room in a neighborhood where that is the norm, and they wanted it finished quickly so it was ready for a star studded pre-Oscar party. The most talked-about feature of this room, which resides in the basement of the guest house, is the two-and-a-half-inch-thick acrylic windows that look into the 98,000-gallon pool. An example of the homeowner's no-compromise approach: Instead of wanting chairs like those in Radio City Music Hall, the chairs installed actually were from Radio City — and all carpet and wall materials were custom dyed to match.