Trends in Home Theater Seating

From fabric seats to leather recliners, get tips on choosing chairs for your home theater or media room.


© 2011 CEDIA. Used with permission.

Photo by: William Psolka

William Psolka

© 2011 CEDIA. Used with permission.
By: Terry Ulick

Seating comfort and viewing angle are critical in a home theater. The most theater-like experience is where each person has their own seat, complete with table or cup holder.

Seating choices run from recliners to theater seats and can include couches and love seats. Seats can be movable or mounted and in just about any material that meets your design scheme. What is important is that they are comfortable. Most movies last over two hours, and any seating should allow comfort for long periods.

Reclining seats are ideal. They allow custom seating angles and also adjust to viewing of the screen from different distances. For this reason, recliners are a popular option. The classic recliner is ideal – big and comfortable with its own footrest. Some models now have built-in drink holders.


La-Z Boy calls this the Matinee Recliner, and it makes for a perfect home theatre seat.

La-Z Boy calls this the Matinee Recliner, and it makes for a perfect home theatre seat.

Going beyond recliners, you can purchase actual theater seating. They have the same qualities as the recliner, but have a bit more "theater" quality and feel. Theater seating is high quality and designed for durability and comfort, and unlike recliners can be mounted on the floor. This is a good option when you have tiered or raised flooring since you will want the seat to be anchored and not slip off a tier.

If you're ready to choose theater seats, here are some features you should consider:

  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Reclines with "zero wall clearance" to not interfere with seating or walls behind it
  • Substantial in weight or floor mountable
  • Comfortable for long seating sessions
  • Has built-in drink holder or storage


Premiere Popcorn machines are a classic that provide the look, and smell, of a movie theater.

Premiere Popcorn machines are a classic that provide the look, and smell, of a movie theater.

Theater-Specific Furnishings. In addition to seating, other elements are important to have in a home theater. A popcorn stand, concession stand and even theater "now showing" marquee all add to the theater experience.

When planning your home theater layout, remember that even such theater accessories require power connections and lighting for use. It is good to think through which items you wish to have, where they will be in the room and plan for power and lighting for them early in the process.

Theater accessories can be found in a variety of places, but there are many online sources that have a wide selection. You will be surprised how many varieties of popcorn makers and concession stands are available.

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