At their worst, media rooms are crowded with cables, overwhelmed by large-scale TVs and speakers, and hidden in basements or far-off rooms — but at their best, media spaces bring comfort and create rich, shared experiences for families, couples, and groups of friends. Here, we talk with Dering Hall professionals who understand the challenges associated with designing beautiful media rooms, and know how to meet them head-on. Read on for their advice.
MAKE IT COMFORTABLE
A comfortable viewing experience is key for a media room, where clients want to sit back and immerse themselves in their favorite films, TV shows, and music. “The seating should be quite deep and covered with lots of throw pillows and blankets,” says
Comfort can also be achieved through creative technology-driven additions, like dimmable lighting and remote-control curtains, the latter of which “always thrill people,” Bonis says. Likewise, placed against a dark wall dimmable sconces “lend a theatrical twist, which gives the feeling of a high-end design.” For those on a budget, the designer suggests dark colors to decorate the walls and floors paired with oversized seating.
Above, a plush theater by
INDULGE IN ART DECO
In the 1920s, the first “talkies” were produced in the United States, kicking off the Golden Age of Hollywood, which would last until 1960. As Paul Wiseman of
“Movie theaters were in their heyday during the Deco period,” says Wiseman. “Our collective memory seems to be best served when there is some reference to this period, no matter what the technology is in the room. I’m not saying that every theater should be Deco, but having an abstract reference to the Deco movement legitimizes their media space as a real theater. A cramped, Victorian train car is not a theater.”
For a home theater in Hawaii,
BIGGER DOESN’T MEAN BETTER
The easiest way to create a media room that isn’t crowded with loose chords is to build cabinetry. “In environments where the opportunity to have an adjacent space to house the technology does not exist, I build into the space by about 24 inches to house the technology guts,” says Nancy Leffler-Mikulich of
However, Leffler-Mikulich notes that when working with clients, they often select a larger-than-life TV screen that overwhelms the space, as well as the clients’ senses. “I always start with advising client on proper screen size,” she says. “There is math and science to this.” Once she, the client, and the audio-visual designer decide on the size of the screen, she determines the height the screen should be, as well as the height of the seating arrangement and its distance from the TV.
In the above space,
DECIDE ON THE FUNCTION OF THE SPACE
For multi-purpose rooms that function both for entertaining and entertainment, it may be best to hide the TV. “We often hide the TV behind art or wall panels so that it’s not on display,” says Audrey Carden, co-founder of
A living room and TV area in a French chalet by
USE PANELS TO HIDE THE TV
To keep technology to a minimum without totally forgoing it, Kristine Irving of
In a converted church, Kristine Irving of
CUSTOMIZE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Unique details that are carefully fitted to the space can take a design from average to outstanding. “The design and architecture of the room is purposeful and custom or customized to it’s function,” says Roger Owen of
A decadent home theater from