DIY Network

How to Prepare a Basement To Become a Home Theater

Learn how to convert a bare basement into a home theater that can be enjoyed for years.

More in Decorating

convert bare basement into home theater Watch Video
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Make Sure the Space is Acoustically Friendly

If any walls or the floor are concrete, that is not acoustically friendly. The concrete is tough the low-bass frequencies, so do what is necessary to get some base absorption. It may be necessary to raise the floor, do some acoustic treatments to the floor, and then on the block walls do some drywall construction techniques and maybe some insulation techniques to help soften them up.

The solution to taming the concrete is to create bass absorption, acoustically treatments to the floor and special wall treatments, which includes hanging two layers of drywall using a different thickness for each layer. "Floating floors" are a great way to absorb the bass as well.

make sure space is acoustically friendly

Step 2: Create a Layout

With the plan for the concrete under control, a layout for the home theater must be created, and one of the first decisions to make is where to place the big screen. One thing to consider is the entrance to the room. Consider a rear entrance to the home theater because there will be less interference with the projected images, and it creates a grand entrance to the room. For the room in this example:
Pocket doors will be installed at the back at the main entrance.
The electronics will be housed in a smaller room (marked "A/V Storage" on the graphic) just outside the pocket doors.
Another smaller door, which leads to the garage, is at the back of the room.
The big screen will take center stage at the front of the room.
Media storage, with lots of shelves, will be built at the back of the room.

create layout for home theater

Step 3: Make Sure the Space is the Right Size

When building a home theater, it's important to make sure the room is the right size because room dimensions affect room resonance, which can cause certain frequencies to sound too loud or too soft.
Room resonance can be minimized by building room dimensions that are not divisible of each other. Avoid even-room or same-room dimensions. For example, for a room that has 10' x 10' dimensions, the best thing to do is move a wall in at least 6 inches to break up the dimensions. This helps the bass frequencies from resonating in the room and creating a booming sound.

make sure room is right size