Home Theater Popcorn Machines

Get all the info you'll need on home theater popcorn machines, and get ready to create a truly cinema-like experience within your entertainment space.


Home Theater with popcorn machine for fun nights with the kids. RMS user : kks

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're looking to install a home theater or refurbish an existing one and want to give guests an authentic movie-house experience, you may want to explore the options for home theater popcorn machines. Apart from the action on screen, freshly popped popcorn may be the most essential element required for an enjoyable movie-going experience—so offering it to guests in your home theater can be a blockbuster idea.

Oscar-Worthy Home Theaters

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Smooth Sailing

We wanted this theater to mirror the inside of a yacht, says David Scott, principal of David Scott Interiors in New York City and a Zillow Digs Board of Designers. "High- gloss teak on the ceiling beams and around the 110" movie screen, white patent leather wall panels, and sconces that mimic portholes add to the look." The reclining chairs can be easily moved around the room, while the end tables—finished in a metallic glossy glaze—provide the perfect spot for popcorn and drinks. "Ultra suede on the ceiling and an Edward Fields wall-to-wall carpet help with the room's acoustics," adds Scott.

Photo By: Michael Moran via Zillow Digs

Movies on Tap

The homeowner wanted to combine a home theater with a bar and microbrewery, says Norm Lecuyer, president of Just Basements in Ottawa, Canada. "So we divided the space into three sections — a theater with a 110" screen and seating for six, a lounge area with a four leather Barcelona chairs and a bio-fueled fireplace, and a bar with three kettles and wine storage." The chalkboard over the draft tower features the beers on tap.

Photo By: doublespace

A Room With a View

The theater's soothing blue-and-white color scheme works in harmony with the calming views of Lake Michigan, says Peter Gluck, principal at GLUCK+ in New York City. "The scalloped cutout in the ceiling was covered with a sheet of flexible PVC called Barrisol, a stretch material that changes color depending on how it's backlit," notes Gluck. Forbo, a cork-like material that never crumbles, runs along the length of the wall so the owner's kids can post their artwork. Modular leather chairs make it easy to rearrange the seating.

Photo By: Paul Warchol

From Bright to Night

This sunny living room transforms into a dark movie theater thanks to the blackout draperies hidden behind the sheer curtains, says Mark Cravotta, owner of Cravotta Interiors in Austin, Texas. An extra-deep sectional sofa seats six comfortably ("ten if you're friendly," laughs Cravotta), while the steel, brass, and glass pendant — a modern version of a sputnik fixture — and Picasso-inspired wall art pay homage to the room's midcentury design.

Add a Bit of Romance

"I prefer sectional sofas over stadium seating because most of my clients prefer to lie down while watching movies," says Norm Lecuyer, president of Just Basements in Ottawa, Canada. Powerful subwoofer speakers are hid den behind the 120" screen while the projector is concealed in a niche in the ceiling. The gas fireplace, surrounded by terracotta ledgestone, adds warmth and a romantic vibe to the room, notes Lecuyer.

Photo By: Stephen Harrison

Looks Like a Lounge

The goal was to create a movie theater with a men's lounge vibe, says Robert Turner, president of the interior design department at Phil Kean Design Group in Winter Park, Florida. The brown leather headrests on the hand-stitched sofas adjust for movie watching, while a refrigerator concealed within the built-ins makes it easy to grab a snack or beverage. "Sea grass paper on the walls and ceiling absorb sound while the ripple fold drapes — silk on the front, blackout fabric on the back — prevent light from entering the room," adds Turner.

Photo By: Michael Lowry Photography via Porch.com

Hidden Theater

"The homeowner wanted to conceal a home theater behind his second floor pub," says Garrison Hullinger, owner and principal of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design in Portland, Oregon. "Push a stone to the right of the fireplace and a door opens to reveal the home cinema." A loveseat, reclining leather chairs, 102" movie screen, and double layers of soundproofing make this the perfect hideaway for movie watching.

Watch an Outdoor Movie

This home theater opens up to an outdoor patio area so you're able to watch movies on the drop-down 110" screen whether you're inside or out, says Robert Turner, president of the interior design department Phil Kean Design Group in Winter Park, Florida. The ebony-colored wall panel houses a gas fireplace, storage cabinets and the projector's speakers. "The chairs are close to the pool so we covered them in an all-weather Donghia fabric," adds Turner.

Photo By: James Wilson courtesy of Phil Kean Design Group

Set the Mood With Lighting

The owners named their theater "Miwa" which means "peace" in Japanese, says Robert Turner, president of the interior design department at Phil Kean Design Group in Winter Park, Florida. "We used lighting to create a calm environment." Hidden in the room's floating ceiling: a mix of recessed, LED, and fiber optic lighting. Ripple fold draperies lined in a blackout fabric create a room darkening experience while acoustical wall panels help with the sound.

Photo By: Photographer: Harvey Smith

Doubles as a Family Room

The owners are empty nesters and wanted a multi-purpose room their entire extended family could enjoy, says Norm Lecuyer, president of Just Basements in Ottawa, Canada. Included in the open space design: a theater with a 120" drop-down screen, a pool table, gaming table, and bar with bistro seating. "A fireplace surrounded by terracotta shadowstone provides the perfect spot for relaxing and catching up," adds Lecuyer.

Photo By: Steve Cain

Sit Down and Relax

"Most people don't want an armrest between them while they're watching a movie," says Ron Perruzza, owner of Rad3Sixty in Ontario, Canada. "In this theater, chenille- covered sofas along with ottomans that can be used as footrests or beverage holders provide a more comfortable seating experience." A 165" curved screen, wall panels wrapped in acoustic-friendly silk, 19 subwoofers ("most home theaters have two," notes Perruzza), and fiber optic ceiling lights add up to a professional quality theater experience.

Photo By: Ron Perruzza

Hook-a-me up!

"The homeowners wanted their theater to mirror a hookah den," notes Kimberley Seldon, designer and owner of Kimberley Seldon Design Group, with offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. A caramel-colored sofa covered in popcorn-friendly wool-and-poly fabric creates flexible seating in front of the large screen. "I purchased the Buddha hand at a Paris flea market and the colorful calligraphy pens in Japan but offered them to my client when I saw how perfect they worked in this space," notes Seldon.

Say No to Dungeons

I always design with light in mind because nobody wants to hang out in a home theater that feels like a dungeon, says Lambrini Palmieri, principal of House of L in Aurora, Ohio. "The homeowner is a curator of Egyptian ancient artifacts and wanted his home to mirror the architecture and color palette of the places he has visited." A ceiling accented with horseshoe-shaped curves reminiscent of Moroccan arches, curry-colored reclining leather chairs, and 28" gold sconces reflect his travels. Bonus: there are snack and beverage centers on either side of the 120" screen.

Photo By: Pete Maric/Triplet 3D via Porch.com

New Use for an Old Space

"My client wanted to include the original 100-year-old brick wall in his basement home theater," says Wesley Morris, sales and marketing manager for Graytek Solutions, LTD in Coquitlam BC. "So we kept the brick exposed and created a drop ceiling to maximize the room's height." Two subwoofers (along with surround and channel speakers) and a 120" screen provide a professional theater experience, while a pool table in the back of the room encourages guests to stick around once the movie is over.

Designed for a Theater Pro

"My client owns a home theater company and wanted to showcase his mechanical and technical wares — like this 120" screen — while also creating a contemporary-looking space," says Christopher Brandon, president of Brandon Architects in Costa Mesa, CA. Raised panels in shades of tan, khaki, cream and beige add texture to the walls and help with the acoustics while a chenille-covered sofa and chairs seat six comfortably.

Photo By: Jeri Koegel

Musical Theater

This home theater needed to double as a listening room for music, which wasn't an easy task considering the room was created using lots of steel, says Josh Christian, marketing manager for VIA International in West Hollywood, California. "We covered the ceiling beams with transparent fiberglass, then wrapped them in fabric to help with the acoustics." The 144" screen is micro-perforated with tiny holes so sound can travel from the speakers (located behind the screen) throughout the theater.

Watch Movies in Bed

My clients wanted a home theater with an unorthodox design, says Sunny Ham, owner of SHI-Design in Richardson, Texas. "So I covered a queen-size mattress in a striped leather fabric and accessorized the bed with removable headrests and side tables." The 108" screen, a dome ceiling with 1000+ fiber optic lights, 3-color LED panels on both sides of the room, and a 15-foot glass bar in the back of the theater give the room a unique look.

Photo By: Hyun-il Hahm

A Nod to the Sea

This home movie theater looks like it could be part of an elegant floating ship, says Josh Christian, marketing manager for VIA International in West Hollywood, California. Overstuffed mohair sofas, chairs, and animal print ottomans allow the owners and their guests to relax in comfort. Acoustic-friendly silk panels and draperies surround the huge 192" screen, adds Christian.

The Zebra Steals the Show

The walls are covered in quilted leather and the floor in a wall-to-wall animal print carpet to help with the room's acoustics. "The modern and electric look are hallmarks of LA-based designer Xorin Balbes," says Josh Christian, marketing manager for VIA International. "Circular chair pods covered in ultra suede can be moved around the room."

Photo By: Mary E. Nichols

A wide range of popcorn machines can be found for use in a home theater; some machines are specifically designed to replicate a cinema-like feel, and others will feel just as welcome in the kitchen or kids' playroom as the home theater. Which type you choose will ultimately be determined by the style of home theater you're planning, as well as considerations like the available space and your budget.

If you're looking to create a truly authentic, cinema-like experience for your guests, you may want to consider an at-the-movies style popcorn maker. These can be purchased from online or brick-and-mortar restaurant supply or specialty stores; they also are available from some home theater specialty retailers. These are industrial-level machines that can churn out barrels of popcorn for as many guests as you can accommodate—so while they will definitely give you the most pop for your buck, they may be overkill if your home theater is a small space that can only accommodate a few guests. They're also quite expensive, generally falling in the $1,000 - $2,000 range, and they can be quite large as well—generally either taking up a large swath of countertop or resting on a wheeled cart.

One tier down from the movie-house machines, you'll find a range of relatively inexpensive but still quite powerful countertop popcorn makers. These generally fall in the $100 - $300 range and can be purchased from many big box stores and just about any home theater specialty store. In general, these will suit the needs of most home theaters—only the largest and most elaborate designs, with the need to regularly serve large numbers of popcorn-hungry guests, will require more output from their machines.

Finally, for a more low-profile but still delicious option, there are small countertop machines, in the $25 - $50 range, also available from big box stores or home theater specialty retailers. They can rest comfortably on a counter or be situated in a vacant corner of the home theater; they can easily serve a small number of guests with the equivalent of a bag or two of popcorn per sitting.

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