How to Build a DIY Home Cinema Room on a Budget

So, you’ve just moved into a new place and you have a spare room. You’re probably wondering, what can we do with it? You already have room for guests to stay comfortably and the kid’s bedrooms are big enough to host playtime. It’s time to think about you and what you want. Many want to build a DIY home cinema but resign it to being just a pipe dream; a luxury only afforded to the extremely wealthy.

Well, it may surprise you to find out that there are economical, alternative ways to build a DIY home cinema. You may not have the huge plasma screen TV but you can easily get the blockbuster feel.

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How to Build a DIY Home Cinema Room on a Budget

Step 1: Choosing the Room

Firstly, you need to pick the room that you want to transform; and it’s not as simple as choosing whichever is spare.

The room needs to have a wall of an appropriate size. A spare box room won’t be big enough; remember we’re aiming for blockbuster… not box busting. Choose a room that has a spare wall that measures at least 12×12 feet.

Also, if the room is devoid of windows it will work better for creating that closed in, theatre feel. However, don’t worry if your spare room has a window – you may just need to invest in blackout blinds or curtains.

Step 2: Preparing the Room

The next step will be the most time-consuming. If you’ve recently moved into the house, or the room has only just become available (perhaps one of your children has moved out) then it’s likely that the room isn’t ready to build a DIY home cinema.

Start by gutting the room so that it’s completely empty. Then, if the wallpaper is patterned or textured, it will need be stripped. Don’t worry; you can follow our wallpaper stripping guide. Ideally, your “cinema wall” needs to be as flat as possible; so be meticulous to remove all scraps of paper and any residue glue.

Now you need to paint the room. You have two colour options: white or medium grey. White is the classic blockbuster screen style and is used because it’s a normal bedroom colour (which is great if the home cinema is a multifunctional room). Medium grey, however, will create a better picture because the grey will boost your contrast by absorbing ambient light ensuring the black level is maintained.

Matt emulsion paint should work, but if you’re prepared to spend a little more to get the best results you can buy projector screen paint – designed exactly for the job.

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Step 3: Build a DIY Home Cinema

Before any DIY challenged readers start worrying, there’s far less building in this section than you’d expect.

First port of call will be to buy a projector; this is where you’ll need to do your research and ensure you get the best product for your budget – this is ultimately what will be creating your cinematic experience.

Next, research home cinema bundles. These should consist of multiple speakers that you can place around your room for a surround sound experience, DVD and blue-ray player plus wireless (and wired) connectivity to laptops and TVs so you can stream anything you like.

Now that you’ve got the basic gadgets, you need to get something comfortable to sit on. You can either opt for big Lay-Z boy style armchairs – which you’ll be able to pick up at any old furniture store. Or, you can add a contemporary (and economic twist) and invest in bean bag chairs instead, add a bunch of throw cushions and blankets for a casual and comfy result.

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Step 4: Optional Extras

Popcorn Maker

If you’re planning to go the whole hog (and you’ve got the spare room and budget to accommodate), a retro popcorn maker will complete the room perfectly. The only debate left will be salty or sweet?


Another issue you should consider if you’re planning on using your cinema room late at night, very loud or have neighbours very close (possibly through a wall on a semi or terraced house), is soundproofing. This isn’t something you should be daunted by, soundproofing rooms for functions like using a loud TV are fairly straightforward (and much easier than a home music studio for instance).

For this, you can get hold of panels that will attach directly to your wall with plasterboard adhesive and only reduce the living space by 45mm. The only additional job is your cinema screen wall you may need to re-plaster over the soundproof panels to create a flat surface again. You can opt to do this with the remaining walls or simply paint or cover them with tapestries.

A Cosy Supply

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The best thing about creating a DIY home cinema will be the satisfaction of sharing it with your friends and family – so if you’ll be hosting marathons regularly then ensure you’ve got a good supply of blankets and slippers for everyone!

And there you have it – how to build a DIY home cinema. Completely kitted out with creature comforts and all for less than £1000; reserved for the uber-rich no more.

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