Tips for Designing the Ultimate Media Room

Learn how to makeover your living room or family space into an enviable media room.

We're dreamers, over here. Today we're dreaming (and creating) the perfect media room. Keep on reading to see some sure-fire media room ideas that you can incorporate into your home, whether small or large, ordinary or amazing.

Living Room Fireplace With Wood Mantel and Built-in Shelving

Modern Living Room Fireplace With Rough-Hewn Mantel and Shelves

A bump-out fireplace is made to look built-in with the addition of a timber-beam mantel and a set of side shelves. The rough-hewn timber mantel extends past the fireplace to give the room a gorgeous focal point and provide a surface to display artwork and glassware.

Photo by: Frank Paul Perez

Frank Paul Perez

Let's start with the basics. You have a squishy couch, flat screen television, a cable/satellite box, and a pile of cables and accessories from the last decade of collected technology. Just me? I sorted out what I knew I no longer needed, neatly wrapped other cords, and organized them into a single, transparent storage container.

Mounting your TV on the wall is one of the most prevalent media room practices these days. Families benefit from the security of having the heavy television off a tabletop, making it less apt to fall on curious kids, and at the same time are able to make better use of their living space.

  • If you're shopping around for products with which to mount your TV, remember that you can choose swiveling and articulating or a flush mount for your screen. It all depends on how high your screen is mounted, or if it needs to tilt to be visible from different areas in your room. I selected and installed a flush mount for my family's television because it doesn't need to tilt to be viewable.
  • You can avoid dangling power cords by running them through the wall, downwards to an accessible outlet. This is safer, and also makes for a cleaner overall presentation.

Continue the theme of safety and presentation by concealing accessories that would ordinarily sit below the TV behind the mounted screen. Products by HIDEit Mounts are really good for this, and I think you'll like them too – you can attach anything, such as your heavy video game systems to your lightweight Apple TV or Roku flush to the wall behind the television. This can eliminate the appearance of dangling cords, hides the products, and theoretically, could eliminate the need for any storage unit beneath the television, whether you're used to using a cabinet with doors, or an open mantle space.

  • My own living room storage configuration uses several hidden HIDEit Mounts (PS3, Roku, and Wii), but because the television screen is flush mounted very close to the wall, I've integrated these storage tools into the floating cabinet beneath the TV. It works really well, and our under-cabinet organization makes for a better media room experience. The cabinet primarily serves to disguise the electrical cords that pop through the drywall and plug into an outlet, but also houses games and cords and other related accessories. I attached the mounts to the wood on the top inside of the cabinet where they're secure and out of the way but also don't take up any of the lower shelf space for our games and movies.

Constantly missing your remote? You're not alone. Create a spot behind your TV for remote storage. Use heavy-duty Velcro – one piece attaches to the backside of the remote, and the other to the drywall or back of the television. Organization for the win!

Home audio systems aren't something to be overlooked – especially considering that many televisions have the speakers projecting to the back, which causes the sound to bounce off the wall when a TV is mounted.

  • For a single TV, a sound bar speaker system is an easy solution. These long, narrow speaker systems can sit above or beneath your TV, and some models even have wall-mounting accessories and wireless subwoofers, all in the name of helping your entertaining space look streamlined.
  • Bluetooth is enabled on many newer TV models, which makes hooking up wireless surround sound systems easier.
  • When it comes to choosing surround systems, you'll likely be inundated with products designed to sit on shelves, attach to the wall, or higher end systems that actually get installed into the drywall (the most permanent of the products). In the past, I've had the best luck narrowing down the best options by reading reviews and talking to product experts in store.


If you want a big screen movie experience, I totally recommend investing in a projector and wall or ceiling-mounted screen. The projector itself is an investment, but once you have it, you can use it in lots of different ways.

Transitional Media Room With Blue Velvet Sofa & Brown Leather Chairs

Cozy Media Room With Projection Screen

A few walls and doors were reconfigured to create an enclosed media room in the basement. An open basement plan was slightly reconfigured with the help of an engineer, and the final product is a cozy media room with seating for 12.

Photo by: John Bessler

John Bessler

  • Projectors can be mounted to the wall or ceiling and wired through the wall similarly to your wall-mounted television.
  • You can also leave a projector sitting on a corner shelf or tabletop and still have it display where you want it to in the room. The keystone correction feature in most high-tech projectors will allow you to adjust the output image, so the projector doesn't have to be directly in front of where it displays anymore. This really comes in handy when you want to tuck that projector more out-of-sight, like on a corner shelf, and still project where you want to display.
  • We keep our projector unmounted and sitting on a shelf for convenience; we host outdoor movie nights, and can easily relocate the product into the backyard so that it can display on a large canvas "screen."
  • If your walls are large and white, you can probably get away with having a projector with no screen forever. If you're with the majority and don't have the space to project without a screen, consider a wall- or ceiling-mounted projection screen for your home. You can buy them in a variety of sizes to suit your media room space, and installation is pretty easy once you have a location selected. The screen easily pulls down for viewing parties, and retracts to be a minimal feature in the room when not in use. Projectors work best in a very dark room (night time!) and screens are definitely not intended to be a blackout solution in instances of direct sunlight, but we hung our screen in front of our window and it works well for us (it's used after dark most of the time anyway).
  • If you think your living room is just going to feel like a corporate board room, trust me – you haven't lived until you've played your favorite old school video games or had a Property Brothers marathon on a 12-foot screen.
Install Projector Screen Media Room

Install Projector Screen Media Room

Make the most of your home’s media room experience with the addition of a wall or ceiling-mounted projector screen.

Go with comfortable furniture that suits your family.

  • A sectional sofa will provide lots of seating if you have a big family or like entertaining. Our sectional is extremely modular, and we can adjust its shape and configuration to suit our needs in minutes.
White Living Room With Gray Sectional and Neutral Patterned Rug

Modern Living Room With Gray Sectional Sofa

The centerpiece of this minimalist living room is a gray sectional sofa situated in front of a large wooden entertainment center. A metallic floor lamp adds a sleek touch, while a neutral diamond patterned area rug completes the look of the space.

Photo by: Allison Lind

Allison Lind

  • We also make use of a couch with a pull out bed quite often – the kids like to lay on it when they play games, or snooze on it during movie nights. Add in lots of throw blankets, and get snuggly.
Colorful Blue and Yellow Playroom

Colorful, Transitional Playroom with Fun Paint Treatment

Gradient color on two accent walls gives punch to this creative playroom. A rug and kid-size work table define an area for crafts and playtime, while a small sofa offers a family-friendly spot for TV watching.

Photo by: Kristen Forgione

Kristen Forgione

Family-Friendly Home Theaters

See All Photos

Rustic Comfort

This basement home theater feels more like a cozy living room and less like a traditional home theater, thanks to the extra-large sectional, rustic decor and family mementos. Design by RMS user stiles

Royal Blues

A home theater deserves just as much love as any other room in the house. The owner of this regal entertainment spot used gold crown molding and trim with a deep navy-blue wall color to create a cinema-like space for the whole family.

Photo By: Jim Kruger

Everybody's Welcome

Lack of seating or space is certainly not an issue in this eye-catching home theater. Five long rows of traditional cinema seating offer plenty of room for the entire family, plus a large group of friends, too. Image courtesy of David Vincent Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of David Vincent Design.

Neutral Drama

Although coated in a primarily neutral color palette, this home theater still elicits plenty of drama with black accents. Several rows of high-end recliners and a stadium-style platform keep the true cinema feel as evident as possible.

High-Tech Design

With state-of-the-art lighting and equipment, comfortable seating, a cozy fireplace and a never-ending movie selection, this family will never want to leave. Image courtesy of David Vincent Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of David Vincent Design.

Living in Luxury

With a stage curtain, wall sconces and ample seating, this home theater is set up just like an elegant 20th-century cinema. Although the room offers cinema-style recliners, the best seating in the house is definitely the cozy couches in the front row.

Photo By: iStock


In this dramatic home theater, you can watch movies any time of the day. All-black walls and shades prevent screen glare from sunlight and ensure a top-quality movie-watching experience.

Photo By: iStock

Movie Nights

When planning this home theater design, RMS user HTnut wanted to ensure the room had plenty of seating to host large group movie viewings. Plush, red recliners and stadium seating bring the traditional theater feel right into the home.

Creative Showings

RMS user MacyGirl created a rich, Hollywood-inspired media room by integrating red, velvet curtains and modern light fixtures with the black walls. Classic film reels and a restored popcorn machine serve as decorative elements while pulling in those memorable details of a cinema experience.

Unexpected Details

True stadium seating and rows of plush leather chairs invite the whole family to join in on movie night. Elegant coffered ceilings bring an additional architectural element to the room, as well as a refined air with family appeal.

Conversational Cinema

Unlike typical home theaters, RMS user Mary Blair turned her cinema into a multipurpose room. The space not only offers an extra-large projection screen and comfy sofa seating for a home-theater feel, but also features intimate conversational areas and a ceiling of stars for ambience.

Next Up

Quick and Easy Closet and Drawer Organization Tips

Declutter once and for all with these ideas on how to store smaller items within cabinets, drawers and closets.

 14 Tips for Preventing Indoor Allergies

How to make your home a getaway from allergies.

Cozy Ideas for Decorating Around the Fireplace

Designers share how to restyle and warm up your room so that you and your guests can linger by the fire this winter.

10 Things to Put Above Your Sofa

Get creative ideas to fill that empty wall behind the couch.

Ways to Add a Pop of Color for Under $100

Show your love for a favorite hue with these easy designer tricks and DIY projects.

Wall Decor Tricks: Decorating in Threes

Grab a trio of items for a quick and cheap (even free) way to freshen up your decor.

Copy This! Ways to Use Large Wall Art in Any Room

Get expert ideas for unexpected ways to decorate your walls with baskets, rugs, photographs, maps, murals and more. 

Ultimate Media Room Technology

Gaze into the future of the Ultimate Media Room. Here, we uncover 10 hot new innovations to give you the home entertainment experience you crave.

Home Theater Design Basics

Learn how to lay out a home theater and what materials you should use in order to get the best the visual and sound quality.

The Perfect Home Theater

A technology expert offers tips and tricks on how to create the perfect home theater.