Indoor Movie Theaters

Try to recall, if you can, the last time you went to the movies. The smell of popcorn, the surround sound, the cushy chairs- it's quite an exhilarating experience to watch the new releases on the big screen. What if you could enjoy your favorite movies from the comfort of your own home? We're not talking about clicking the Netflix button on a small tv and sidling onto the couch for a normal night of binge-watching. Though that is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy tv, it doesn’t quite capture the same sparkle as enjoying a movie on a big screen. Why not redecorate a room or basement for the express purpose of capturing the magic of going to the movies? That’s right! We are talking about the magic of building a home theater! Plenty of people have made this dream a reality. All it takes is a plan, a budget, and a little bit of gumption to turn a room if your home into an experience rivaling the silver screen!

Think about how you've themed the other rounds of your house. Do you typically base design decisions off of a color or pattern? What about an era or animal? Some people have homes that are ideally made up and match fabrics to paint quite well. The theater room can be done the same way, or you can take the liberty to have a little fun! Is there a movie that you quote constantly? Or maybe you are a fan of a tv show or book series? Now is your moment to let your nerd flag fly. There are virtually limitless options regarding a style or theme, and since room is meant for entertaining, it's totally acceptable to push the envelope.

One of the most popular ideas used when creating a movie room is theming the room around Star Trek. There is a home theater in Colorado that has made a point of allowing guests watching the movie to watch from the Starfleet bridge! It’s a pretty sweet setup, with posters made to look like various screens, glowing wall paneling, and details such as computer stations for the crew. This is not the first time that a Star Trek control room theater has been the goal of a homeowner. Many people have used this idea, along with mannequins made to look like various characters from Spock to Klingons, or mannequins that display various costumes and space weaponry. One homeowner even create a ceiling of stars.

If this sounds like something you would love in your home theater- whether you are a Trekkie or just love the idea of a night under the stars- this effect can be easily mimicked in various ways. One of the less expensive ways is to buy some sheetrock and drill holes in various spots. Then, using holiday lights, carefully pop them into the holes allowing for the light to shine through one side but keeping the wiring on the other. For a more sporadic star feeling, try buying holiday lights with various sized bulbs. Once done, carefully install.

There’s always something special about drive-in movies. Whether it’s the back to back showings of films, the many different cars all in rows, or the ability to hop out of the car and head to the concessions stand, drive-ins are an experience in their own right. Recreating the feel of a drive-in indoors, however, was the dream of one homeowner in North Carolina. This home theater can be inspiring for anyone who longs for a drive-in experience but doesn’t live close enough to one for that dream to come true. Plus, it makes for a very fun theme. In the indoor drive-in, Tracie Stier-Johnson has details such as the bed of a truck, lights that mimic porch lights, and a mural of a field and horses. On the opposite side of the room from the screen, there is a door that leads to a concessions stand which is actually a small, separate room decorated to look and feel like a barn. It’s complete with a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine, a snack bar stocked with movie theater candies, and a sink for cleaning up. If a drive-in theater sounds like a dream to you, it’s quite possible to make that dream a reality. All it takes is a bit of creativity to figure out a layout and setup that will work in your space. Some websites (such as offer to build couches out of old cars- perfect for a drive-in themed theater.

Of course, if neither of the other options strike your fancy- and you are into a more classic feel for your home theater- a classy, theater style room can be an ideal way to elegantly add a big screen to your home. Painting the walls a shade of scarlet red or a neutral such as black or tan can provide a nice backdrop to some long wall curtains. Tiered seating can allow for many more people to view the screen. There are places that sell theater bucket seats such as could be found in any theater across the nation, but a unique twist would be to use sofas and loveseats in the place of separate chairs. This provides a chance for movie attendees to lay down or sit up as they please. Add a small snack bar with a popcorn machine and possible a soda machine and you have yourself a full-fledged movie theater- hopefully minus the sticky floors.

If a theater overhaul is in your future, be sure to pump a bit of your personal design flair and personality into the room. Add movie posters announcing your favorite shows, put up a lighted marquee with show times, or pick a theme that will make you smile. You can’t go wrong with your design choices as long as you love them, so have some fun and grab some popcorn- the show is about to start!


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