The lure of big-screen glamour: Movie rooms are a box-office hit10/07/2023
How to create your own home cinema, as movie rooms become box-office hit
- Global spend on home cinemas is set to rise from £20.2bn to £49bn by 2026
- You don’t always need an extra room – a cosy corner can also be converted
- We look at what kit, furniture and accessories make a top-notch screening space
There’s nothing like seeing a Hollywood blockbuster on the big screen. But, as the nights draw in, a home cinema could be worth adding.
Certainly, the concept has become big box office success; developers and estate agents report that new homes in particular have fantastic movie-watching rooms, with 50 in TVs and 4K anamorphic projector screens the new must-haves for many.
The push for bigger and better home viewing was boosted by the pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2019, some 11.4 million UK households had Netflix, the most popular streaming service for movies; by the first quarter of this year, the figure had hit 17.3 million.
Grab your popcorn: You can have a dedicated movie room or transform a cosy corner
Global spend on home cinemas is forecast to rise from £20.2 billion now to £49 billion by 2026, according to projections from The Business Research Company.
‘Many homeowners spend huge amounts for top-notch screens, the latest projectors and seats that vibrate to the sound of a film,’ says William Saunders of estate agency Jackson-Stops.
‘Home cinemas are an easy way for people to make a house that they’ve lived in for a long time feel fresh and much more interesting.
‘We are living in properties for longer, where entertaining guests is key, especially as we enter the colder months.’
High-flying agents dealing in multi-million-pound properties say home cinemas are now widely expected when a potential buyer views, but the trend is creeping into other sectors of the market, too, especially new-builds.
Increasingly, owners are dedicating a room to TV and film, partly for the adults to watch in a plush environment, but also to allow teenage children to entertain friends in their own space. It also has the merit of keeping games consoles and other devices out of the living room.
Costs of creating and equipping a home cinema will depend on your budget and ambitions — a few thousands to eye-watering six-figure sums.
Here’s a six-point guide to creating one, whether you want a pop-up film night or a permanent Oscar-winning home entertainment hub.
Choose a room
Some owners convert a garage or spare bedroom to become a permanent screening room.
‘We think a buyer would expect a dedicated room — they work well in basements or attics. We’ve sold several properties with a home cinema in one of those,’ says West Country estate agent John Couch.
Costs of creating and equipping a home cinema will depend on your budget and ambitions — a few thousands to eye-watering six-figure sums
But if space is in short supply, a room with one purpose during the day can take on a new role in the evening.
‘As technology has advanced, home cinemas need less cumbersome kit, so you can create one in a cosy corner of the house rather than dedicating an entire room,’ says Lucy Crane, from Strutt & Parker.
TV or projector?
Projectors playing DVDs or films streamed via a laptop are generally small and cost much less than a large-screen hi-spec TV, but require a projector screen. Very slim 50 in, or larger, wall-mounted TVs are most popular for home cinemas.
Sound it out
Audio specialists Richer Sounds says super-slim TVs typically have poor quality speakers, making at least a soundbar — a small single-box speaker — a must-have.
For a surround-sound experience, try multi-channel amplifiers that power separate speakers around a room.
Top-of-the-range audio systems bounce sound off ceilings to get the sort of 360-degree experience you’ll enjoy in a multiplex, but it’s best to fit sound-proofing to prevent noise affecting the rest of your home or neighbours.
What will you play?
Blu-Ray 4K discs give higher picture quality than Netflix or Amazon Prime, but many streaming services offer Ultra High Definition shows and movies for free. You can use a home cinema for immersive gaming as well as movie nights.
Take a seat
You only need normal sofas, but if cost is no object there are real cinema seats with cup holders, trays, auto-recliners and blue base-lighting, just like those in your favourite movie house.
Do people buy these? You bet. ‘We’ve acted on the sale of a house where the home cinema and sound proofing cost £750,000.
We had several buyers sit in the cinema room for a demonstration so they could appreciate the experience,’ says Marc Schneiderman, director of London agency Arlington Residential.
Don’t forget snacks!
Small fridges, popcorn makers, gob-stopper vending machines and nacho-warming cabinets all cost hundreds of pounds.
Film fans on a budget can head online to buy special film-night boxes from confectionary suppliers like Joe & Sephs or Sweetworks on Amazon.
Savings of the week Dining tables
Furniture Village’s The Earth (pictured) is now £1,245 and includes four padded dining chairs
If you have sharpened up your culinary skills, and want to try out some new dishes on friends, you may need a new dining table.
And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Range, for example, has the compact but funky Quebec Wave Edge table in a black and grey, or oak finish for £149.99, down from £179.99.
It also offers the country-look Highgate table in cream, navy and grey, with two benches, for £224.99, reduced from £310.99.
Habitat has cut the price of its Etta table by 20 per cent to £440. The elegant Scandi-style piece, in black or oak veneer, extends to fit eight people. Its Jerry table in oak or white is down from £450 to £225.
Furniture Village also has a pop-up extending table — The Earth. It was £1,595 and is now £1,245, but includes four padded dining chairs in graphite.
Whatever their price, all these tables say the same thing: ‘Come dine with me’.
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