Ah, the humble movie cinema, home of sticky, slightly suspicious carpeting, overpriced popcorn, and annoying teenagers who won't stop giggling no matter how many times they're shushed.
Don't get us wrong, going to the movies can be plenty of fun, but with today's on-demand and streaming video services, the thought of forking out $20 of your hard-earned cash for a ticket (plus an extra $20 for snacks) to the latest flicks is becoming less and less appealing.
Fortunately, there is a better way. With a few clever investments, you can transform your living room into the kind of movie-buff's hideaway that would make Quentin Tarantino drool.
Step One: The Screen
First things first - you need a decent screen that will do justice to the big budget flicks you'll be enjoying. You have two options here, you could either opt for a traditional television, or look to really capture that cinema experience by investing in a cinematic projector.
If you decide to go down the first road, you'll be spoilt for choice, as the latest TV models by big-name manufacturers like Samsung and LG offer better picture quality than you'll have ever experienced before.
Alternatively, a projector can be a fun and worthwhile purchase if you're looking for a cool way to watch your favourite films. The only problem is you'll need a dark room - any sunlight that is allowed to filter in will dull the image quality and ruin the experience.
Check out the following reads to help you find the best screen for you:
Step Two: The Sound
Now that you've sorted out your picture, it's time to organise your audio. While most televisions these days come with pretty good speakers built-in, a surround sound system will really take your home theatre to the next level.
A good set of speakers is a great long term investment - as long as you take care of your audio set-up, you can count on it to last for years. That said, speakers and audio set-ups aren't one-size-fits-all. You'll need to take into account the kind of content you'll be playing through the speakers, as well as the layout of the room they will be installed in.
If you're just going to be using your system in a small room, with four walls and not a lot of space, then a simple soundbar coupled with a wireless subwoofer is a strong, affordable choice. However, if your home theatre is going into a large room, and you're committed to achieving complete audio immersion, then a full-size speaker and amplifier set could be the option you're looking for.
Either way, it's a good idea to talk to an expert first to get some advice on the best setup for your needs. With a little help, you'll be well on your way to achieving the home theatre you've always dreamed of (and ensuring you never have to step foot in a cinema ever again). You can also check out some of the articles below:
Step Three: The Lighting
A great screen and sound system gets you most of the way there but you're not at the finish line yet. To truly bring home the movie theatre experience, you need the right ambience and this comes down to the right lighting. If you're watching during the day, blackout curtains or some heavy-duty blinds are key – nothing kills the mood faster than a glare on the screen during the climax of a thriller.
Next up, consider some dimmable smart LED lights. These will give you full control over the level of brightness and if you've got RGB ones, even better! Want to go all red for a horror flick? Or how about some chill blues for a cool sci-fi saga? You can really play around here and set the perfect mood for whatever you're screening.
Best suited to creating that home theatre experience are RGB strips such as the Yeelight LED Strip Pro which you can place around the skirting of your walls, around/under furniture, or even behind your TV for an ambient glow that doesn’t distract from the screen. Alternatively, you can start with a more simple option such as an LED light bulb to begin with.
Just remember – no matter how cool your lighting is, make sure it doesn’t outshine the main event!
Step Four: The Snacks
This next step is a biggie – the snacks! No movie marathon is complete without some snacks. The best thing about having a home movie theatre is your choice for snacks increases tenfold (after a quick visit to the supermarket) and you'll only pay a fraction of the price.
Now, hold onto your seats, because the game-changer here is none other than the versatile air fryer. Sure, it'll pump out the classics—velvety fries, nuggets, chicken wings that could make you weep—but did you know your trusty air fryer can also pop the meanest batch of popcorn?
To make popcorn, just line the bottom with some aluminum foil, throw in those kernels, and let the hot air work its magic. It's healthier, significantly cheaper, and it’s quick. Don't know what air fryer to buy? We share some of our top picks in this article.
And there you have it: the blueprint to your very own home cinema. So dim the lights, crank up the sound, and press 'play'. Welcome to the premiere of the rest of your movie-watching life, where every night is opening night and the popcorn never runs out.