13 High-End Home Theater Designs

Add star quality to your screening room with these audio and visual ideas.

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Photo By: Photographer: Harvey Smith

Photo By: Jackson HIll

© 2011 CEDIA. Used with permission.

Whether you're converting a space or building a new home, these theaters are sure to inspire as you plan your own dedicated theater:
A 360-degree custom oceanic mural was the springboard for the design of the theater pictured here. An asymmetrical ceiling creates the impression of a smooth rolling wave, and the screen seems to float before the audience (they're actually attached to custom-made quarter-inch steel brackets attached to the back wall). Dimmable LED lights glow behind the screen and spill down the walls, providing the sensation of being in an aquarium. The thick-pile carpet and pad absorb some of the sound energy in the room.

The front speakers in this theater are hidden behind an acoustically transparent screen, an arrangement that provides a very accurate sound stage and optimal visual impact. The entire room is treated with just the right amount of absorption and reflection, completely disguised behind sound suede fabric attached with an invisible track system. The 12-inch riser for the rear row of seating is filled with insulation and framing running from the front to back of the room, with the front face left open to act as a bass trap; the carpet hiding the opening allows low frequencies to be absorbed under the riser.

This theater achieved an architectural consistency with the ornate trim and plaster details in the rest of the house while maintaining a subdued level of finish that wouldn't detract from the video presentation. And moving the right wall in 30 inches allowed room for a buffet that blocks the entry door from view for the seating area.

This room was designed to seat the entire extended family comfortably, combining bar stools, motorized reclining seats and large throw pillows, custom-made to match the wall fabric, for seating grandkids on the floor. The speakers are concealed behind acoustic fabric in the columns, and the center channel is behind a perforated screen. Fiber optics provide the starry night on the ceiling.

This theater boasts a stage large enough to host classical-music concerts for charity. At the front of the theater, a red main-stage curtain opens for live events. For movie presentations, the main-stage and Roman screen draperies open to reveal the 16-foot-wide screen at the command of a timer. The theater-style architecture is appropriate to a home with an extensive art-deco collection. Due to large surface area of the side walls, all are covered with soundproofing drywall for both isolation from external sounds and improved bass response.

High-mass materials and mechanical isolation were used on the walls, ceiling and floor of this theater to create a sound-isolation envelope. All trim, acoustic materials, platforms and stage materials were chosen based on their soundproofing qualities. Acoustic materials included specialized diffusion and absorption products, some of them custom-designed for the space. Surround speakers reduce seat-to-seat variance in sound, and the seating platform was designed to function as a bass trap. The design of the solid mahogany ceiling facilitated high- and mid-frequency diffusion while also preventing image reflections from the screen.

This theater's distinct seating "zones" include dual-motor theater recliners and, in the front of the room, living-room-style seating, resulting in an attractive yet functional design. The theater's integration with the home's tropical design involved the use of acoustical plaster on the domed ceiling to defeat sound-focusing effects. The loudspeakers are positioned within a specially designed baffle wall for optimized imaging and to defeat comb filtering behind the perforated screen.

Custom-fabricated acoustic panels absorb and diffract sound in this theater, in addition to concealing the surround speakers and the subwoofer. And double drywall board provides a degree of sound isolation.

A cabinetmaker was called in to help create a design in which the hard surface detailing on the wood in this theater would disperse sound and minimize the wood’s impact on audio performance. Significant sections of the walls are covered with fabric, and rich cashmere with excellent acoustical properties conceals the surround speakers and acoustical treatments.

This theater's decor follows the rustic Tuscan theme of the house and adds a custom-fitted star-field ceiling made of more than 1,000 fiber strands of varying thicknesses. The strands are stood off from the acoustically transparent ceiling on spikes to allow placement of acoustical treatments and avert over-deadening the sound. The stretched fabric dress and custom-finished woodwork structure float 7 inches in front of the sheetrock and conceal acoustical treatments, speakers, the projector and wiring. Motorized acoustical transparent drapes hide the 120-by-68-inch woven-microfiber screen, also acoustically transparent. The front speakers are mounted in curved baffles for best bass-response coherence, and the center speaker is behind the screen.

This mountain-chalet theater features decoupled inner-wall and ceiling construction to minimize sound transmission into and from neighboring rooms and the floor above. The interior acoustical materials offer a balanced sound field despite the small size of the space. The variegated acoustical palate is neatly concealed behind a stretch-fabric system.

To create both the great sound and the clean look of this theater, acoustically transparent fabric was used on the walls to cover acoustic treatment that's 6 inches thick in some places, including absorption, diffusion and reflection materials. The entire space was lined with a heavy vinyl barrier and two layers of soundproofing drywall, and all joints were acoustically sealed.

Massive rough-hewn lumber, stone, hardwood floors and hand-applied plaster are prevalent throughout this lodge-style home, and for the theater, faux-finished box beams and supports were created to match. The columns were placed strategically so that the rough, open joint cladding would be appropriate acoustically. The room features full decoupled construction. The floor is entirely floated with an engineered system. The walls are decoupled and then rest on the decoupled floor. Inner wallboards are mounted on a treated resilient channel system that prevents vibration and enhances the already smooth bass response of the room.

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