10 top home cinema tips for making the most of your pokey lounge

If you've got money to burn and a big enough house to allow you to turn a room into a home cinema that's all well and good, but what about the rest of us? What about those of us who live in quaint houses where we just don't have a room to turn into a "Cinema"?

We sat down with Philip Warris, director at FAB Audio Visual, one of the UK's leading Custom Audio Visual Install companies, to find out how you can make the most of, perhaps, not the most ideal of lounges.

Tip 1 - Rectangles good, squares bad

"A square room is the worst thing you can have for a cinema”, says Warris. Rectangles work best, that means you need a room that is longer  than wider. A good size for example is 5m long by 4m wide and 2.7m high, advises the CEDIA qualified designer.

Tip 2 - Ceiling height is important

You've just managed to make your room rectangular rather than square and now you've got to make sure the height from floor to ceiling isn't the same size as the length. "Cubes are worse than squares", adds Warris. It's not one that is likely to affect you, but it's worth bearing in mind if you want to be right about these things.

Tip 3 - Get a rug

You've spent hundreds if not thousands on a nice laminate floor or original floorboards and while they look great they are actually really bad for your home cinema set up. "Floorboards bounce sound", says Warris "and that's bad". The solution? Get a nice big rug to cover them up. If you can stick with carpet, that's even better.

Tip 4 - Buy some thick curtains

Just like your floorboards a big window will kill the sound in your setup sending it bouncing around the room like Thing One and Thing Two in the Cat in the Hat. Call in the mother, the mother-in-law, or more likely John Lewis' haberdashery department and get yourself some thick heavy-duty curtains to cover that window up. Black-out ones are even better as they kill the light as well.

Tip 5 - Change your door

If, like most, you've got a door in an awkward spot in your lounge and really want to make the best of your home cinema set up then look at changing it for a fire proof door says Warris. Doing so means the door is treated more like the wall rather than a sound bounce-friendly door and should solve some of your audio issues.

Tip 6 - Don't be swayed by 7.1

It might sound like an impressive number to brag to your mates down the pub but in most lounge situations it's not needed claims Warris. "5.1 is good enough and it's got good wife acceptance factor", Warris tells us.

Tip 7 - Your speakers don't have to be big

"You don't need to have massive speakers, in fact five small satellites all the same size with a good sub-woofer is just as good", Warris says. "You must have a subwoofer though for the full effect".

Tip 8 - Don't put your TV too high

If you aren't ready to get a crick neck when watching television then Warris tells us that your TV shouldn't be higher than 15 degrees from your eye height, which when sitting down is around 1.1m. That means you should think twice about placing that flat screen over your mantle piece if you've got a small living room. Of course if that's the only place in the lounge so be it, but it might be worth looking into raising your sofa to compensate.

Tip 9 - Ditch dynamic mode

Chances are you've got your TV set to dynamic mode, which while bright and powerful isn't actually the best image setting for your TV. "Dynamic mode is designed to impress you in the shop", says Warris. You should instead go for "standard" or "normal". "It might not look as pretty at first glance, but it's a more natural look and more akin to what the picture should look like".

Tip 10 - Sound is almost everything

"If the sound is good, you will be sucked into the picture", Warris tells us. That means it's worth spending a little bit more on getting a decent sound offering rather than just making sure you have the biggest TV on your street.

Tip 10a - Call in someone to do it for you, or move

If you're too lazy to do any of the above yourself you can call Philip Warris and his team in. More information can be found on their website. Alternatively you could always just move house. 

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