How Much Does a Home Theater Cost? The Ultimate Guide
How much does a home theater cost?
According to the national average, it can cost as low as $2,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it can go as high as $33,000.
As you can notice, it has quite a big gap. Why is this so?
That’s because so many factors go into the total cost of building a home theater. Let’s take a look at all of them below.
1. Start With the Most Important Part: Electronics
There’s no doubt that electronics are the heart of a home theater. After all, we can’t have it without at least a TV. So, let’s tackle how much they’ll cost you, first.
At the least, you’ll need a 40-inch flat-screen TV. Even if you’re on a budget, the quality still matters, so LED is the least you should buy. You can splurge on a bigger and better TV if you have a little more budget.
The good news is televisions are getting cheaper. You’ll find great televisions for around $500, and if you go toward $1,000, you can get a bigger screen with 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and smart TV capabilities.
If the viewing experience is your priority, you’ll have to go over $2,000. High-end set-ups might even cost you up to $10,000.
You should also consider getting a projector instead. This gives you a closer theater experience. However, we’re not talking about the types to go into the meeting rooms for presentations.
The cheapest you can buy for your home theater is around $1,500, while you can go as high as $60,000 if you have the cash for it. Don’t forget the labor costs of installing it, which is around $60 to $80 per hour.
In the end, the size of the screen that’s right for you also depends on the size of your room. You don’t have to spend much on a bigger screen if you have a smaller room, for example.
Next is the audio system, which is important as you want the speech and sound effects to be as clear as possible.
The ideal set-up is surround sound, so you’ll need around 5 speakers and a subwoofer. For larger rooms, you can buy a set-up with up to 9 speakers.
For the center channels (the main three), you might want to spend at least $400 for each one. For the remaining two (or more) speakers, you can settle for $400 a pair.
The center channel, in particular, is important because this is where 80% of the speech comes from. They’re more important than the rear speakers, so splurge a bit more here.
For the subwoofers, you can get good models at $500. If you love action movies, though, you’ll want to get the best you can afford. Get two if you can so you can have the most even bass.
If you have a lower budget, though, $750 to $900 for a set will get you a decent sound system. You can even buy a soundbar for much less.
Better sound systems are around $2,000, while you can go as high as $10,000. High-end systems will give you the most authentic theater experience.
Don’t forget that you need a media viewing device. How else are you going to play movies?
You don’t have to worry much about the cost, though. Almost anything will do—even your gaming console can play movies.
One consideration, though, is the brand. There’s an advantage to buying the same brand as your TV. It’s to ensure you can use all the features of your DVD or Blu-ray player.
You can also use other devices, like an Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and so on.
You’ll need an AV receiver, too, which acts as the central hub of your home theater. This is where you’ll plug in your devices, like speakers, Blu-ray players, and such. You should budget around $200 for this.
Of course, you’ll also need lots and lots of cables.
2. Pick Your Furniture Wisely
Next, you’ll need good seating to complete your home theater.
Of course, we’re all dreaming of recliner chairs with cup holders, but that will set you back around $500 per chair. And, that’s for a basic model. As a home theater is best for the whole family or groups, you’ll need far more than two chairs.
If you want more features, like a snack tray and reading lights, prepare to spend at least $1,000 per chair. Luxury models are even more expensive—around $2,000.
They’re the ideal chairs for the optimal cinema experience, but they’re not a must. You can still have a home theater with a couch, for instance. Comfortable armchairs are always welcome in home theaters, as well.
Making do with what you have in your home will leave you more budget for the TV, sound system, and soundproofing. To make them more comfortable for watching movies, you can buy new pillows and blankets.
You can also go the DIY route, like creating tiers of seating. You can put a platform in the second row, a higher platform in the third row, and so on. Wood pallets are great for this, topped with cushion and some pillows.
There’s also the option of staying on the floor. Lay down a nice, soft rug and get some bean bags. Scatter some pillows and blankets for when it gets cold.
What’s important is that everyone has a comfortable spot for the whole duration of the movie.
As movie time isn’t complete without snacks, make sure each person has access to a surface where they can put their snacks and drinks in the dark and while distracted with the movie.
This isn’t a problem with most theater-style recliner seats. Although, you’ll have to pay attention to it more when you go for other seating options.
3. Is There Another Home Theater Cost to Consider?
When building a home theater, the things above would likely suffice. If you want it to give you an experience as close to an actual theater as possible, though, you’ll have to consider other things.
Soundproofing and Acoustics
Ever wondered why the audio sounds so much better in a theater? It doesn’t only depend on the quality of the sound system. It’s also because of the acoustics of the room.
Decent room acoustics in the room can make the most basic sound systems sound great.
The acoustics of the room refers to how sound waves interact with the room. You’ll have to ask around for the price of getting an acoustics treatment in your home theater room. For basic panels, though, you can spend as little as $500, although you can go as much as $30,000 if this is a priority for you.
In general, you’ll want to spend around 20 to 25% of the price of your sound system on acoustics.
You’ll also need soundproofing so that no sound goes in or out. Good enough soundproofing can cost you around $1,000, but you can spend an upward of $5,000 on it alone.
Lighting doesn’t have to be expensive; you can always use whatever you already have in your room. You can upgrade it a little and get dimmable lights and that will already work great.
However, lighting adds a huge effect on the ambiance of the room. As such, many homeowners also want to splurge on lighting whenever they can.
Recessed lighting is a popular choice in home theaters. You can get kits for as low as $50 so you won’t need to over $500 to get great lighting. The best lighting system will cost at least $2,000.
For the ultimate home theater experience, you might want to add special somethings. Examples are a popcorn machine, candy bar, and so on. If you have a leftover budget, you can even get another refrigerator for beverages.
Such additions add to the overall experience, and they’re sure to be a hit among kids and guests. They’ll add to the total home theater cost, but they’re worth it.
Props and décor are also great ideas. Spend a little more on posters of your favorite movies, for instance. Look for home theater trends to get some ideas on how to decorate the room.
Flooring is also an important consideration. Hard surfaces like wood aren’t good for the acoustics.
That’s why carpet is the most preferred for it preserves the integrity of sounds. It also gives you that movie theater feels. Carpeting can cost around $2,000 to $10,000 and up.
You’ll also have to consider the manpower it takes to build your home theater. From the installation of the projector to the installation of the carpet, you’ll have to account for these costs.
Build Your Dream Home Theater Now
So, how much does a home theater cost? As you can surmise, you can build a home theater with whatever budget you have.
You’ll have to compromise on a lot of things if you have a lower budget, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that you’ll have a home theater of your own. Although, you’ll have to learn how to prioritize your wants and needs.
Of course, you’ll also have to learn how to take care of it and which accessories to add to optimize it further. We’ve got you covered with more guides available right here!
Thank you for reading!