The Entertaining issue

20 Home Theater Design Ideas Perfect for Movie Night

A home theater with a massive wraparound couch topped with pillows and blankets

Kendall Wilkinson

A movie theater may not be a necessity in any home, but it’s certainly a delight. If your family gatherings revolve around movie night—or if you love the experience of snuggling up with a great film—a home theater may be worth the investment.

Sure, it can be hard to find a space suitable for movie viewing. But the truth is, home theaters can live just about anywhere in your home. With a little imagination, you can turn your basement, attic, or living room into a cozy movie-watching nook. And you can deck it out as much or as little as you want to.

To help you envision how you might craft your own movie haven, we’ve rounded up 20 stunning home theaters worth taking cues from. From elaborate theaters dripping with Hollywood glamour to versatile living rooms that can double as cinemas, these home theater ideas will flood your mood board with more inspiration than you ever dreamt of.

01 of 20

Set the Scene With a Dark Paint Color

A home theater with charcoal walls, taupe carpets, and a large film screen

Claxton + Marsh

When painting our homes, many of us shy away from dark shades like charcoal gray and navy blue. But since movie theaters are supposed to be cozy and dim, they’re excellent candidates for the darkest colors on the spectrum. So take a risk on a dark paint color you might otherwise shy away from, and let the shade set the mood in your cozy home theater.

02 of 20

Cozy Things Up With a Wraparound Couch

A home theater with a massive wraparound couch topped with pillows and blankets

Kendall Wilkinson

Most movie theaters are designed to maximize space, making room for as many theater seats as possible. But unless you’re planning to sell tickets to your next movie night, you’re not bound by this same constraint. So trade the folding seats for the coziest couch you can find, and enjoy the experience of lounging while you watch your favorite films.

03 of 20

Invest in a Grand Entrance

A grandiose hallway leading into a home theater, which is lined with lights, movie posters, and a "theater" sign

Design: Rayva, Photo: Phillip Ennis

Make your movie nights feel more ceremonial by decking out the hallway leading into your theater. Line your walls with framed movie posters, cover your ceiling with theater lights, and if you want to go all out, bring your grand entrance together with an eye-catching “theater” sign.

04 of 20

Transform Your Space With a Blackout Curtain

A home theater with window-lined walls, which are covered by blackout curtains

Jon Encarnacion Photography

If you don’t have a windowless room to work with, you’re not out of luck. By hanging an elegant blackout curtain, you can keep the sunlight from ruining your theater experience—and you can also add a touch of glamour to your space.

05 of 20

Add Drama With a Statement Ceiling

A home theater with a statement ceiling lined with textured silver tiles

Landmark Custom Builder

Statement ceilings make a fun addition to any space—but they’re particularly fun in a home theater. Since the room is so thematic, you can get incredibly creative with your ceiling décor. Consider painting your ceiling a striking color, illuminating it with cove lighting, or covering it with textured tiles.

Don't forget to consider how well the tiles will absorb sound. Movie theaters can get pretty noisy, and you want your acoustics to sound great.

06 of 20

Mix and Match Your Seating Selection

A home theater with lounge seating in the front and bar seating in the back

William Guidero Planning and Design

When it comes to theater seating, you don’t have to stick to just one option. So line the front of your theater with lounge-worthy sofas, and tuck bar seating into the back. This segmented approach will give you the flexibility to watch movies however you want to. And it’ll give you the space to host plenty of guests on your most popular movie nights.

07 of 20

Line Your Ceiling With Faux Stars

A home theater with sculptural walls and a black ceiling lined with star-like lights

Design: Rayva, Photo: Phillip Ennis

One easy way to make your home theater feel more romantic? Cover your ceiling in faux stars. By lining your ceiling with tiny recessed lights, you can craft a statement ceiling that looks delightfully celestial.

Since the lights will be so small, you can likely leave them on while you watch your favorite movies. (And of course, you can always turn them off if you prefer total darkness.)

08 of 20

Make the Most of a Tight Attic

A small home theater housed in a small attic with a slanted ceiling

Design: Shearer Designs, Photo: Meagan Larsen

Finding the space for a home theater can be tough. So consider which rooms have gone underutilized. If your home is topped with an attic so snug it can’t quite become a bedroom, try transforming it with a TV and a little plush seating.

Since home theaters are supposed to feel cozy, they can live in spaces that are too tight to house other kinds of rooms.

09 of 20

Build Your Own Concession Stand

A home theater grand entrance equipped with lights and a concession stand

Design: Nicole Camp/Detailed Designs, Cabinet Design: Designs by Craig Veenker, Builder: McEwan Custom Homes, Photo: Jared Medley

No movie night is complete without some seriously great snacks. And with a little creativity—and a grandiose sign—you can transform your home bar into a concession stand worthy of any movie theater in town.

10 of 20

Put Your Chairs in a Semicircle

A home theater with seating that's been embedded in the floor and arranged in a semi-circle

Design: Cameo Homes Inc., Photo: Alan Blakely

Putting armchairs in a semicircle may seem a bit strange, but it’s an incredibly efficient way to lay out your home theater. By choosing a semicircle over a straight line, you can sneak in extra chairs without disrupting anyone’s view. And if you snag chairs with adjustable armrests, you can even transform your armchair chain into one massive curved couch.

11 of 20

Frame Your Screen With Sconces

A home theater with sage green walls and a sconce-framed screen

Executive Electronics

Many movie theaters are outfitted with wall-to-wall screens. But your home theater may not need a TV quite that big, so if you opt for a smaller alternative, look for ways to fill the space around your TV.

Could you paint your walls a dark color, or frame your screen with matching sconces? Since your goal is to draw attention to your TV—and not to distract from it—you’ll want to keep your decor dark, sleek, and simple.

12 of 20

Take a Risk on a Bold Carpet

A home theater with a checkerboard carpet floor

Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography

Carpets do a great job of insulating sound, so they’re a must-have in any home theater. And remember, you don’t have to stick with the most basic option on offer. A retro statement carpet can lend your home theater a little classic Hollywood glamour. So complement your most dramatic curtains with a bold checkerboard rug.

13 of 20

Use Steps to Stagger Your Seating

A home theater with two levels of seating, separated by steps

Design: Miller | Roodell Architects, Photography: David O. Marlow

If you have room for a couple rows of couches, consider using steps to elevate the row in the back. No one wants to deal with an obstructed view, so keep your movie nights comfortable by giving every seat in your theater a clear glimpse of the screen.

14 of 20

Keep Blankets at the Ready

A home theater filled with sofas and fluffy blankets

Design: KAM Designs, Photo: Ryan Garvin

Blankets may not be part of the traditional movie theater experience. But you can certainly make them a staple of your at-home movie nights. So top your cozy theater seats with the plushest blankets you can find. And when you’re planning to host a crowd, keep a handful at the ready in a nearby basket.

15 of 20

Snag a Drop-Down Projector Screen

A living room that doubles as a home theater, thanks to a drop-down projector screen

Haustech

Keep your home theater flexible by trading the massive TV for an adjustable projector screen. This swap should save you both money and install time, and it will enable you to use your space in a few different ways: When you’re finished with movie night, simply retract the projector screen and turn your theater into a living room.

16 of 20

Add Flexibility With Plush Ottomans

A home theater with a line of leather armchairs in the front and a line of fluffy ottomans in the back

Unscripted Interior Design

Ottomans make an easy add to any home theater. For starters, you can use them as footstools—propping up your feet to turn any seat into a lounge chair. And when you need to accommodate a bigger-than-average audience, you can expand your seating selection by using the plush stools as chairs.

17 of 20

Line Your Walls With Mood Lighting

A home theater with walls adorned with geometric shapes and geometric lighting

Boswell Residential

You can do a lot with home theater wall decor. But one great option is to line your walls with interesting lighting. Turn the insulation lining your walls into a decorative accent by tracing each bit with light strips. You can also dress up your walls with luxurious sconces fit for an Art-Deco-era hotel.

18 of 20

Stock Up on Classic Living Room Furniture

A home theater that doubles as a living room, thanks to versatile furniture

Design: Morrison Interiors, Builder: Devco Homes, Photo: Shade Degges

Your home theater doesn’t have to be just a theater. With a little thoughtful décor, it can easily double as a living room, enabling you to use the space in multiple ways.

Stock up on cozy seating you can easily rearrange, and snag a TV that’s big enough for movie night. You can use curtains to flexibly adjust your lighting set-up, and you can use sleek décor to bring your space together—without disrupting your viewing experience.

19 of 20

Cover Your Screen With Velvet Drapes

A home theater with a film screen framed with velvet drapes

Design: Yellowstone Traditions, Photo: Derik Olsen Photography

Do like the professionals do, and cover your movie screen with a set of velvet drapes. Make it easy to open and close the drapes whenever you want to, and make unveiling the screen part of your movie night ritual.

20 of 20

Invest in Cozy Finishing Touches

A rustic home theater with plush rugs and fluffy pillows

Devon Grace Interiors

It’s the little things that make spaces truly special, so spend time on your finishing touches. If there’s a pillow you love clutching during high-intensity thrillers, keep it on your movie-watching sofa. And have tissues on-hand during your more emotional film screenings. 

Instead of trying to recreate the movie theaters you’ve visited, craft a space that’s built with you in mind. After all, if you’re going through the trouble of designing a home theater, you deserve a space that meets all your needs and preferences.