How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

How to Build a Personal Indoor Movie Theatre

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Living Room > How to Build a Personal Indoor Movie Theatre
How to Build a Personal Indoor Movie Theatre

Watching movies at home on the screen can be a ho-hum experience, lacking the visual and audio impact thanks to the lack of design and sophistication of your living room. If this isn’t working for you anymore and you’re ready to move up to a more dynamic level of viewing, perhaps a personal movie theater in your home will fit the bill.


There are many things to consider and include, such as surround sound, a digital receiver, acoustics, seating and even light-blocking shades on windows.


As you research and plan how to build a personal indoor movie theatre, you’ll find that the time and effort was worth it when you kick back in your home cinema to watch the latest flicks.

  1. 1.Surround Sound

    Surround Sound

    With carefully placed speakers around the entire room, the sound coming from the television will surround and engulf you. The effect of the new sound experience makes whatever you’re watching come alive with more energy. The size of your speakers can vary – they don’t have to be mega monsters on the walls and standing in the corners. Instead, they might even be tucked away neatly on shelves around the room. You may find you have room for a couple of tower speakers also to enhance the quality of the surround sound.

  2. 2.Dolby Digital Options

    Dolby Digital Options

    As you plan a home theatre, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to go with Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic. Dolby Digital 5.1- channel is a state-of-the-art form of encoding for audio data as it’s stored on a DVD and then reproduced for viewing and listening. Audio includes five channels of sound with each channel going to a specific speaker in your theatre. Dolby Pro Logic is an older technology, but still in use in many homes. This encoding involves four channels that also go to specific speakers installed in the room.

  3. 3.Equipment Overview

    Equipment Overview

    To route the encoded audio in your home theatre, you’ll need a DVD player or a satellite service that brings the signal into your home. From there, a digital receiver decodes the audio channels to play them back in your theatre. It’s also crucial to have a crisp, clear screen for viewing in your home cinema. A television is one option, but you also might consider a screen with a projector. Your budget and individual desires will determine the display device you choose. Video cables are required to move the video signal from the source to the television. To achieve the highest quality signal, consider HDMI or DVI video cables. It’s imperative that your DVD player or satellite service and television are compatible for video cable requirements. Next, the speakers and subwoofer are an integral part of the set-up, necessary for surrounding you in major sound. To connect the speakers and subwoofer, get speaker wire – available for purchase by the foot.

  5. 4.Projector and Screen

    Projector and Screen

    With a projector mounted on the ceiling, the images project from behind toward a screen in the front. This can create an atmosphere that closely replicates a real cinema. The screen size you install will depend on the distance between the screen and your seating. The standard viewing distance involves multiplying the screen size by three. The result is the recommended distance between the screen and the seating. Purchasing a screen is one option, but there are other alternatives that won’t dent your budget quite as much. Consider applying “Screen Goo” to the wall – it rolls on like standard paint. This material reflects the images just like a standard screen.

  6. 5.Professional Installation

    Professional Installation

    Installing the wiring and cable is not for the faint-of-heart. Unless you have technical savvy in this area, you might consider hiring an expert to help you out with this phase of the project. In addition, if you’re using a ceiling-mounted projector, a professional installation will ensure secure and high-quality results.

  7. 6.Acoustics


    To create a home theatre that absorbs sound, you’ll need to think about acoustics. By installing acoustic tiles on your ceiling and acoustic boards on the walls, you can improve the sound quality in your home theatre dramatically. You might even consider installing black tiles and boards to add to the authenticity of your theatre. Carpet is a must for a home theater – hard flooring will not absorb the sound. Be sure to add a thick pad beneath the carpeting to further absorb sounds and add to the luxurious comfort of your home theatre.

  8. Lighting


    The ability to dim the lights during viewing will enhance the quality of whatever you’re watching. Lights on the ceiling and walls should direct straight down on the walls to the floor – never directed to the ceiling. Consider a remote control device that enables you to control the lights from your front-row seat.

  10. Furniture


    There are furniture options for every budget. If you’ve got deep pockets, you might wish to install specialty home theatre seating with comfortable armrests and reclining features. For the budget-conscious, recliners work equally well. If you’re really on a shoestring, a standard couch would also serve as comfortable seating.

  11. 9.Additional Amenities

    Additional Amenities

    Depending on your budget, you might add a few extra features that will add to the comfort and design style of your home theatre. A fireplace adds to the cozy ambiance and makes the room more comfortable. Remote-controlled curtains make it easy to close and open the curtains from the comfort of your seat. Adding a mini kitchen or full bar to your theatre makes it convenient to serve snacks and drinks during the movie. Consider storing your extensive movie collection on computer memory as well to streamline your viewing and storage experience.


    While installing a personal indoor movie theatre involves time, effort and expense, the lasting value you get from the project can make everything worth it. Your home’s overall value should increase with the installation of a home theatre – it’s a premium feature that many buyers would love to have.

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.