So did you complete your homework and figure out where your sweet spot is? If you’re like most people, you’ll find that you probably sat fairly close to the center of the room, maybe even just a little further back than center.

Some people prefer sitting in the last few rows, while a very select few really enjoy that “in your face” feeling from sitting in the front row. Any way you look at it, knowing what YOU prefer will help you make that first step in planning out your new home theater.

Meld Preference With Reality

Now that you know where you want to sit, you can determine what works for your room. If you liked the middle of the theater, we’ll work off of the standard 2-3x rule. What I mean by this, is that your seat will be 2-3x the distance back from the height of your image.

Why is this important?

Most people initially want to put the largest possible screen they can fit up on their wall. Why you may be fortunate enough to be able to hang a 200-inch screen, your room may not be deep enough to make seating comfortable for such a gigantic image (although you’ll give your neighbors one heck of a show!).

On the flip side, this will also prevent you from going too small. Ever walk into a house and notice that the piece of art hanging in the foyer just doesn’t seem right? It probably isn’t filling the space the way it should. The same rule applies in home theater design.

Homework Assignment #2

Start with the image size that you think you want to go with. The easiest way to test the size of the screen before investing the money to buy it is to follow these 4 steps:

  1. Pick up a roll of blue painters tape at your local hardware store.
  2. Mask off the area you are thinking of on your wall and then step back to take a look at the image.
  3. Next, put your seat in the room. It doesn’t have to be a couch or recliner – any old seat will do. Measure the height of your taped image. Now compare it to the distance from the wall to your seat.
  4. If it’s not in the 2-3x range, move the seat back or forward until it is.

Want to go bigger or smaller? Experiment by taping off some additional sizes as well.  Play around with screen size and seating position until you find something  you’re comfortable with.

Once you’re happy with these numbers, write them down. Take note of the screen width, height, and diagonal measurement from corner to corner. Also record how far back your seating it. All of these numbers will come in handy with the next step in the process – SELECTING A PROJECTOR.

(photo credit Scarleth White)

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