Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Home Theatre for the Holidays: Key things to consider when blendinghome electronics with décor

By Paul Fitzgerald, Special to the QMI Agency
A well designed family room with a home entertainment system will add value to your home,your lifestyle and décor.
While many may assume that having a home theatre system in the hommight be ugly and unaffordable, well think again, according to Clinton Howell.
All homeowners need to do to get the best bang for their buck is understand what they are looking for and they, along with family and friends, will be more than entertained, says the popular home theatre expert.
Simply put, great solutions can be designed and you don’t need to live beyond your means.
Having a family room with a home theatre system is a great way to entertain, especially at this time of year where homeowners are hosting family and friends during the Holiday Season. As well, home theatre systems prove to bring families closer together. Spending time watching movies and enjoying entertainment creates a bonding experience in so many ways.
A home theatre system can easily be created in the living room or basement.
“Your space defines everything,” says Howell. “Once you identify where you want your home theatre to go, then just simply work from there,” adds the owner of H2 Systems Inc. in Burlington, ON
There are four pillars in creating the ideal home theatre system in an open space roomvideo, audio, furniture and décor.
The first is identifying the kind of HDTV you need and this is done based on the size of area you are working with.
“If you have a very large room, well then I would consider going with 60” to 80” TV, and if it’s a smaller area then go with a 40” to 55” TV,” says Howell. Think of the TV and its placement as a work of art in terms of what size will have the right scale and work well with your space; there are plenty of options on the market that will fit your budget, says the founder and owner of H2 Systems Inc.
HDTVs of all sizes can be wall mounted or placed on various kinds of shelving units, and these are fairly inexpensive.
On the audio side, there are many choices when it comes to picking the right speakers in order to get the best in sound. Believe it or not, you don’t need to go out and spend thousands of dollars on speakers and related gear. You would be amazed on deals out there for audio and you really don’t need to break the bank.  “Some less obvious, but very effective ideas for sound include recessed in-wall speakers which are paintable and putting the surround sound speakers in the ceiling.  Subwoofers can be hidden behind couches or other furniture and wireless speakers areanother possibility” he says.
For HDTV and audio, there are plenty of ways to hide the wiring, such as fishing them inside walls and removing and reinstalling baseboards or shoe molding,” he says. “Many people don’t realize that RF remote controls work through walls and allow you to put equipment in another room, closet or basement which keeps the look of your family room clean and uncluttered.”  
When it comes to furniture the choices are endless, really. “Open space rooms with home theatre systems can be complimented with couches, small cushioned chairs, and even bean bags for seating,” he says. “The seating should be laid out for socializing as well as being focused on the main source of entertainment in your room: the TV.
On the décor side, there is plenty that can be done without spending a wad of money. Paint your room with dark, rich colours. This helps of course with the quality of viewing on your HDTV.
Howell says enhancing the décor is a fun and innovative process and great examples to be inspired by can easily and cheaply be gathered by searching online for the style you are looking for and then clicking the images tab in your browser.
“Go ahead, add architectural details,” he says. “Try moldings and pillars that are decorative and which can be purchased at various places.”
Take things one step further and add in new lighting. Installing sconces on the wall adds for additional lighting and brings out that cozy feeling for when watching movies, TV shows or sporting events during the evening. Installing dimmers is also a great trick for fading out the lights before movie time.
As well, pick the right kind of drapery or blinds that blend in well with the room. Thicker drapes and blinds also helps keep sound in the room and more defined.  Carpets and area rugs will greatly improve the sound quality and acoustics of your space.
There are also motorized picture lift mechanisms that can be installed. With the click of yourremote control, your art slides up and your HDTV is exposed and ready for use, making it a real wow factor.  “Affordable luxury options for your space and can be achieved for less money than you think and far less than a custom wall unit which looks quite dated these days.”
“In all, follow your space and your budget when building a home theatre system in an open space family area,” says Howell. “There are many choices out there, so take your time, shop around and build for your needs.” 
He adds, “This is a very popular time of the year to install a home theatre system in a family area as this is the season to entertain. As well, having an open space room with a home theatre system looks impressive and shows you have made an investment in your home.”

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