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5 Ways to Turn Your Living Room Into A Movie Theatre

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Wouldn't you love to come home after a long day, curl up with a bowl of buttery popcorn and catch a flick in your own personal movie theatre? What's stopping you?

No longer reserved for just the rich and famous, at-home movie theatres have become increasingly popular in homes throughout North America.

Let's face it, a trip to the movies can drain your wallet – fast! There's the sky-high prices for tickets and the markup on popcorn, drinks and hard-to-resist box of candy. For families of four, your total can easily tally up to $100 - not exactly chump change, now is it?

Even if you spring for a babysitter, that's an additional cost to factor in.

With your own theatre, you can enjoy a flick in your pyjamas, partake in a refreshment of your choosing – nobody is going to kick you out for having a glass of chardonnay or a frosty pint – and you don't have to worry about those pesky 'Tommy texters' or 'Sally seat kickers.'

Here are six ways to create your own cinema magic.

1. Location

Location is a key element in home theatre planning. Ideally, you'll want a spacious rectangular, well-insulated room to accommodate your big screen and ample seating that is free of reflective surfaces. If the room does have windows, a great set of blackout curtains that block out sound and light will do the trick. Don't worry about going overboard with the sound insulation – most high-quality sound systems don't have to be cranked to get the authentic movie theatre experience. When in doubt you can speak with a home theatre design specialist about that right space.

2. Seating

If you're looking for the ultimate kick-back-and-relax piece of furniture, look for a couple recliner chairs. Tilt backward in one of these ergonomic beauties after a long day at the office and kick up your heels on the footrest that extends simultaneously in the front.

A comfortable leather recliner is the perfect addition to your home theatre. Warning: after watching the big screen from your customized chair, you may never feel like going out to the public movie theatre again.

Alternatively, you can opt for lounges that consist of a row of two or more recliners. Most usually come with a convenient cup holder to place your refreshments.

3. Equipment

There are two choices when it comes to screens – the pull-down ( this can be rolled up like a window shade) or a fixed screen. While both options have their perks and pitfalls, make sure you choose the correct size for your room. A itty-bitty screen will look sad in a big room and vice-versa.

Along with your new screen, you'll want to invest in a good projector –these are quite a bit different from the standard TV you probably already have in your living room. While the combined cost of a screen and a projector are in the same ballpark as a good HDTV, you'll have different factors to take into consideration such as: throw distance, lamp life, contrast ratio, resolution and projector brightness, etc.

Home audio is another significant element in creating an enjoyable movie experience. Yes of course you'll want to hear your movie, but with great sound, you'll be able to feel it, too!

There are home theatre systems, also referred to as HTIB or an audio package (usually one receiver and speakers) that come with everything you need to hear and feel surround sound audio.

4. Decor

This can be a fun and creative process that let's your showcase your personal style and taste in movies. Posters are an easy and cost-effective way to decorate those empty walls.

If it's the classic flicks you love, throw up a few framed movie posters of popular features like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca – perhaps even a vintage film reel. Other decorative items can include movie collectives (eg. Star Wars, figurines), autographed memorabilia and retro movie signs. Scout out garage sales, auctions and e-bay for these hard-to-find treasures.

5. Refreshments

What's a home-movie experience without hot buttery popcorn? This must-have snack can be made in the microwave, but let's face it, it won't be as tasty.

The good, authentic stuff requires the right equipment and ingredients. There are numerous machines out there that have that vintage movie feel that are inexpensive and easy to use. The beauty of these babies is you can keep them in your theatre room since they double as decor. Another option is the counter-top hot oil popcorn machine – you probably have one hiding somewhere in storage.

With these five components in place, you'll be ready for some lights, camera and action in the comfort of your own home. Enjoy!

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