Our DIY Home Theater

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve never officially shown pictures of Matt’s home theater on the blog.

I think he’s noticed, too…so it was time to fix that.

 

 

 

While it doesn’t look like the rest of our home (who’s seen a white home theater?), we love it and Friday family movie nights are becoming a regular happening around here.

DIY home theater at perfectly imperfect

Matt did most of the work himself…

diY home theater at perfectly imperfect

 It’s come a LONG way, baby.

I answered some questions on the attic renovation here (back when I began this blog and my pictures were quite lacking).  In case you missed that attic reno process, we put in the plywood floor down when we built our house, and added a stairway so we could finish it out one day.

That attic renovation was mostly what started this blog.

That and my desire to talk it all out.


 

 

The insulation/unfinished part you see in the before is where the theater sits.  Our air conditioning unit was moved (we hired that out–and the basic construction of the theater, playroom, and writing room) and Matt and I did most of the finish work ourselves (laying the floor, adding bead board, lighting, baseboards, etc.)

And, of course, the decorating.

diY home theater at perfectly imperfect

Matt built the risers (I definitely held one of those massive things on my back while Matt wired it all for rope lighting), the screen, the sound box, and the LED star field.

Yes, he did pull hundreds of led lights through tiny little holes in the panel he built (he + 2 more buddies)…and then hung it from the ceiling.

He’s such a handy man.

The seats were purchased on clearance in the scratch and dent section at Rooms to Go.

diy home theater at perfectly imperfect

That Christmas, we didn’t do many gifts…I did get him the popcorn machine and some movie posters….movie room essentials.

diy home theater at perfectly imperfect

We rarely get to fill every single seat, but four of the chairs are used quite regularly.

By the way, via the movie room, The Smurfs is my new favorite.

*other after’s in this post were taken by our good friends, Kevin & Layla Palmer

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61 Responses to Our DIY Home Theater

  1. Sarah January 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Wow it looks pretty amazing! I’m quite impressed :)

    • perfectlyimperfect January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks, Sarah!! :-)
      shaunna

    • Radika Awasthi October 14, 2013 at 12:03 am #

      I love your idea and Sarah is very true. This home theater is very different and amazing.

    • Designer Home theater chair August 8, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      This thought wonderful for movie theme rooms. I love your post and your efforts to this blog. you really do hard work. Thanks for that.

    • Tony September 26, 2014 at 4:54 am #

      I like the star field, albeit it’s a little too small of an area. Sounds like you guys spent a small fortune on the room. If thats the case it doesn’t fit in with the concept of your website. You prolly should preface this post by letting us know that you didn’t do this room on a budget. Nor that you guys did very much of the work yourselves. You say Matt did most of the work but you only point out just a few things he did. Who installed the walls, sheet rock, electrical wiring to your termination points, duct work to the room (surely, the room is tied in to the HVAC), tiered platform, projector (and synced), speakers, audio and video wiring, etc?

      • perfectlyimperfect October 7, 2014 at 11:08 am #

        Hey Tony,
        I’m glad you like it. To us it was a small fortune, however, finishing the upstairs actually added a little more than 1,400 sq ft. to our home, at less than half of the cost per foot it cost to build our home originally, thereby lowering our total per sq ft cost we have in our home… Sorry if that doesn’t make any sense, but basically, it cost quite a bit, but we did quite a bit of the work, and the rest that was hired out, was at a pretty good deal. We had a local contractor who did the rough frame out, and sheetrock, however I helped a some with the wiring of all the plugs and lights. The duct work was the probably the biggest expense, and that was done by a company out of Montgomery. Rest assured that the whole upstairs is tied into the 5-ton unit that we originally had, and they installed an aprilair system added some louvered ducts, so that we can run each area of our house, as if it has its own unit. I built the platform for the seats, including the stained trim out, which we did, and wired it up with the plugs for the electric reclining seats, and the step led lights, and then the guys that installed the carpet, put a piece over the top of it for me. I also built the led star field, and sheet rocked it, and had about 5 guys from my work help be hang it :) that was quite interesting! I also built the Audio Cabinet, and installed it, as well as the projector, the screen, and the speakers. My buddy Parks, and I ran all of the speaker wiring before the sheetrock was hung to make it a little easier, than trying to pull 300ft of speaker wire :). It is actually pre-wired for 7.1 surround sound, as soon as I get the other 2 speakers. I don’t know if that was the info you were looking for, but if you have any other questions, just let me know.

        Thanks,
        Matt

  2. Terry Moore January 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    This room is 2-die-4 and needs to be in everyone’s home. Overall, it is cheaper in the long run than going to a movie based on the prices and drink and popcorn. This totally rocks.

  3. Chance @ Designed by Chance January 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    That is amazing!!! I really want to make my basement into a theatre room, but hubby and I like to cuddle so we will probably just get a big sectional. Do you have a large TV or a projector?

    • perfectlyimperfect January 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Matt ordered a projector from eBay…I think. But it’s definitely a projector and Matt bought the items to build the screen himself. Hope that helps…go for it! :-)
      shaunna

      • Brick September 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

        You just buy the screen and put it together. Just like buying a child’s toy. You open the box, pull out the parts and put it together. You don’t have to make everything sound like you’re from-scratch, do-it-yourselfers. It’s ok to say you’ve bought things, ready to assemble. Don’t worry all, Matt clears everything up in the below post.

    • Captain 7 September 26, 2014 at 5:09 am #

      Yeah, basement is a much better idea, imo. Depending on what part of the country they’re in, I bet it can get very, very, hot and stuffy in that room during the middle of summer. Hope Matt or whoever, ran enough AC vents and was enough of a “handyman” to think of installing a ventilation return into the room.

      • perfectlyimperfect October 7, 2014 at 10:50 am #

        Hey John,

        I wish we could have built a basement when we built our house, but due to erosion and ground control, it wasn’t an option. And your right it can get quite warm up there in our, rather toasty, Alabama summers :) We did try to make this not happen, by paying the extra money to have the whole thing done in spay foam insulation, however, it was not don’t properly, and we didn’t get the R-value we were anticipating, even though we did put 2 returns upstairs, one of which is in the back of the theater, and several vents, it still doesn’t cool like we wanted it to. Thanks for you thoughts and questions, if you have anymore, let me know.

        Matt

  4. Stacey@ A Sort Of Fairytale January 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Wowwee Zowwee!!! That is so super cool! I have to show my husband this, not that he has the skills to even build a square box, but he will just think it’s so awesome. If you’re having trouble filling up the chairs, I’m always willing to come over for mObie night… ;)
    Wonderful job your husband did on this!

    • Back Breaker September 26, 2014 at 5:21 am #

      Don’t think it takes much skill to hire a subcontractor to do 99% of the work. Where’s the wall foam? What are the specs of the projector? What type wiring did you use? Is it a total analog to digital? Give us some info! Otherwise it looks like a overblown, bloated and trite rip-off.

      Expensive sofas, a projector, a pre-made screen and an expensive popcorn machine, is not what makes a theater room.

      • perfectlyimperfect October 7, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        Hey,
        You’re right we did hire quite a bit out, because between each of us basically having 2 jobs, and homeschooling the kids, we knew it would take years to finish if we did it ourselves, and truth be told, I don’t believe Shaunna trusted me to frame up something would eventually hold 25-30 people in it 20ft off the ground :) We got a company out of Enterprise, AL to do the spray foam, however, looking back on it now, I believe that might have been a mistake, because the foam was not done exactly right, so we didn’t get the “R-Value” we were promised. Anyway, the projector was a Sony VPLHW15 Full HD Projector, with a quite impressive contrast ratio… (But remember this we done about 4 years ago…) Yes, it was all Digital, from the Projector, to the Onkyo receiver, and the nice speaker craft speakers that I got from a dealer.

        If you have any other questions, let me know!
        Thanks,
        Matt

      • J Rock October 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

        Stop being so negative. The room looks great. When compliments are given stop being jealous and say things like it does not take skills to hire a contractor. Who cares the room is in there house and its awesome.

  5. Stacey@ A Sort Of Fairytale January 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Um…movie night”, not mobie night…lol…whoops!

  6. Holly January 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    You will never go to the theater again. Would love to do that. The wall color fits that space perfect.

  7. Lesley January 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    what size TV is that? My husband and I keep debating about what size we should get for our basement/movie room

    • Matt West January 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      So, Lesley, this is Matt, the somewhat lesser known member of the West family, the screen is 120″ I did get it off of ebay for about $200 and put it together myself, which saved $$$! The projector is a Sony VPL-HW15 which I saved up for and used some Amex points as well, and got it for about half price. As far as size goes, I say it can never be big enough! The company on ebay also has 130″ and a new 150″!!!! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330650158577#ht_4409wt_1413
      kinda crazy, but awesome! Just think, the 130″ is the same as 4- 70″ TV’s all stuck together!!!!
      I know that is more that you really wanted to know, but I had to get my geek on for a minute! Thanks for your comments!
      Matt

      • Lesley January 12, 2012 at 8:15 am #

        WOW! I thought you were going to say maybe a 70″, 120″ is crazy but it looks awesome and very well proportioned. My husband may now like that I read blogs all the time. I kept thinking a 55″ would be large enough but I can see now that he has won this debate and I will let him choose whatever size he wants.

        Does hi-def work on projection screens? I don’t know much about them. We primarily watch sports and HD is a must. However with a screen that large maybe it doesn’t make a difference.

      • Brick September 26, 2014 at 3:05 am #

        Is it sooo important to let everyone here know that you’re such hardcore DIY’ers that you have to painfully point it out numerous times? Matt gets busted with the store bought screen, so he has to justify it by saying that he saved money by buying a store bought screen. Dodged that bullet, aye m8? Oh, and thanks for telling us about using AMEX points and getting it half off. I was beginning to think this whole thing was a sham. I was thinking to myself, “And they call themselves penny-pinching do-it-yourselfers”! You shouldn’t try to mislead the people that visit your site, peeps. Oh, but why do I bother posting. None of my sarcastic, yet truthful posts, will make it through this websites “moderators”.

        • perfectlyimperfect October 7, 2014 at 11:20 am #

          Hey Brick,

          I appreciate your comments, and you’re totally right that we bought a screen that I had to put together, because I don’t know how to make the fabric that reflects the light the right way :), and I bought the best deal I could find on a projector, it was the biggest expense in the room, other than the room itself, but I thought that was the place that I wanted to splurge a little. I know that there are many HD projectors that you can get now for less than $500, but that wasn’t exactly true 4 years ago. I hope we didn’t mislead anyone on here that we never spent money on this addition to our house. That we did :) however the places that we could save money on an addition like this, we did. As I commented earlier, I was dying to do this addition all by myself, I had every board and piece of sheetrock quoted out, however we got a few quotes and decided to let a local contractor do those parts for us, because It probably would have taken me about 3 years to do that, between my travel for work, and helping coach my kids soccer. So, sorry if this post was misleading to you or anyone else, we did do all of the parts that we could feasibly do by ourselves, but had we hired a theater company to come in and do our room, it would probably have cost $40-50k, which was more than the whole addition, office, playroom, theater seats, projector and all cost. I did check with a local home audio/video installer, and he came and looked at my room, and his quote to do it all was around $10k, just for the video and sound, and we did it all, seats, star field, projector, and screen for about half that. So I don’t want anyone to think that we nailed every board, and mudded every seam of sheetrock, by no means, we just did the things we could do, to make it look like we wanted, and stay as much on a budget as we could. If you have any other questions please let us know.

          Thanks,
          Matt

  8. Jamie January 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    My husband would die! What an amazing theatre room. And I love how you have the candy and popcorn displayed in the back ;)

  9. Kacey January 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Super cool! Who wouldn’t want a theater like that in their house?! Now our Friday family movie nights are going to seem a little less cool… ;)

  10. Kristen January 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    If I only had the space…one day! Where did you get the old wooden coke pallet…I’ve been on the hunt.

  11. jessica@fourgenerationsoneroof January 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Ok. Now, I don’t know what the heck is going on down there in Alabama but OMG OMG OMG. I thought this was your inspiration photo and as I kept reading, I’m like, “you have got to be kidding me” “this is her theater”! WHAAAAAA? My husband would DIE for a room like this. I might actually like to hang in there also and I’m not a big movie buffer! Girl, what the heck have you been hiding this for…… ummm, hello, this is amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! :) What other rooms in that house of your s are you hiding!!!!!?

  12. Heidi January 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Wow, that made me want to pop some popcorn and watch a movie!!!!

  13. Nancy Mueller January 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    wow…quite a room! Very comfy seats! What fun! Thanks for sharing!! But, I am not showing my hubby…..

  14. Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Please, oh pretty please… any chance of a post on how to build the screen??? I’m the handy one here and my husband would go nuts if I built this for him! I think a lot of ‘home theatre’ rooms come off as either a little over the top, or else they look a little TOO ‘DIY’ – but this is absolutely phenomenal! What an amazing job! WOW!

    • perfectlyimperfect January 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Hey, Jennifer, This is Matt, the one who tricked Shaunna into marrying, thank you so much! I commented to someone else that I bought the screen from ebay, yes I kinda cheated on that, but I had build one out of sheets that I had sown together before, which worked ok, but this one was awesome! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330650158577#ht_4409wt_1413 This is the link for one that is a little larger than ours, which was a 120″, but they have them range in all sizes. You still have to put it all together, which takes a little work, but not bad at all, you’ll just need a screw-driver and a couple of pairs of hands to help stretch the screen properly. But it is better that ones that are 3-4 times as much $. I have a buddy that decided to use some special paint and paint either the wall or some canvas, I can’t remember which, and that worked too, if you are trying to save every bit you can. But I will say that the ratio to which this screen reflected the light, and the velvet border which absorbed the light was an amazing value! Sorry for the Geek talk, but if you find that you need more information on the light reflection and absorption rations, you know where to find me…Good luck! If I can help anymore, just let me know!

      • Brick September 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

        Nice theater room. Add some sound dampening foam to the walls. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Projector screens are inexpensive and simple to install. Sheets sewn together? Special paint? Jeez. Glad u didn’t taint this theater room with that garbage. What are your black levels and contrast ratios currently running at? Are you doing 7.1 or have you thought about giving 10.1 a whirl? You throw around the phrase “geek talk” pretty often here. Just assuming you’re an actual geek and not one of those pathetic wanna-be’s, who acts like a geek only when it’s convenient for them, like when their posting on a site that’s populated by mostly females, who won’t call you out on your own bull-shite. Sry for trolling m8 and I realize this is an old post but if the Geek gods are fair and just, and I know they are, you’ll see this and find a way to kick yourself in the balls as your penance. 4 shame.

        • perfectlyimperfect October 7, 2014 at 11:28 am #

          Hey brick,

          As I mentioned earlier, we did do the spray foam insulation, as well as add about 10″ of regular insulation between the floor and the downstairs ceiling. WE also had the sheetrock doubled, to help with the sound. I wanted to do more, but just couldn’t quite justify the added costs at the time, as you mentioned earlier, we did hire quite a bit out, and we didn’t have a limitless budget :) We did run wire for 7.2, even though we only have 5 speakers and the sub right now, but hopefully we can add the other speakers at some point, and to be perfectly honest I didn’t even know anything about 10.1 at the time, so we are already clearly outdated. If you have some other thoughts or ways to improve our room, I would love to hear them, because I searched around for months and talked to quite a few people to try to get the most for the least.
          Thanks,
          Matt

  15. Shelley January 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Holy cow!!! Now THAT is a home theatre! I couldn’t imagine ever leaving the house to see a movie again. And hey, you don’t have to smuggle in snacks!

  16. Melinda Martin January 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Shame on you for keeping this from us! What an incredibly handy man – what a team you two are. Keep each other. :o)

    Melinda

    http://javatalkme.blogspot.com

  17. Jessica January 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I am so impressed (and envious) of your theater room, with all its little touches and yes, the LED lights. Way to go Perfectly Imperfect Family!

  18. Chrissy Floyd January 12, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Holy Macaroni! This is just awesome. Matt – you rock! I’m loving those LED lights on the ceiling. Amazing!

  19. Ryan January 12, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Very fancy. Nicely done.

  20. Hometipster.com January 12, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    That is so cool. How long did the whole project take. From the photos it certainly looks like all the effort paid off.

  21. Andy Johnson January 12, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    That is an incredible set up! I don’t think I will be able to watch a film at home again without being reminded of this set up. Now just need to empty my box room…

  22. Lana January 12, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Wow,
    Beautiful home theater. I would love to watch a movie there.

  23. Pat January 12, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Wowsa! My hubby wants one…heck, I want one! We won’t even talk about our teens! What kind of budget does one need to do this?!

  24. Connie Nikiforoff Designs January 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    WOW! It’d be great to watch movies here…but I still might like going out to a movie every now and then. This is fantastic!

  25. Beth@A2Z January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    So amazing and like some other people have mentioned you have me wondering what else you’re hiding from us in your home?! Love it and how fun!

  26. Jessica Singletary January 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    AMAZING! I love everything about your home…. I dare not share this post with my husband because he’ll be wanting his home theater sooner rather than later!

  27. Shelley January 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Very nice! We have a media room set up very similar to this and I’m loving your choice of brown paint! Can you tell me what you used? :) Thank you

  28. Amie January 15, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    Beautiful beautiful theater! It is all perfect! What is the approximate size of the room and how far away is the first row of seats from the screen? Thank you!

  29. Pat January 19, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    Wonderful!!!

  30. nubiancrafternc January 23, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful space, as others have stated my DH would be in heaven if he had a room like this!! Matt, thanks for sharing your tips. Great job..

  31. Lauren January 28, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Wonderful! I love it….so where did you find the leather chairs? That is our big issue, the price on those…Thanks!! :)

    • Lauren January 28, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      whoops, just saw the comment about the clearance place! Thanks

  32. Pbchitchat March 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    You have given me so many Ideas. We are getting ready to start a Home Theater room we dont have as much space but it do able :). So Glad I came across you site.

  33. Matt June 8, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Great result! Nice job.

    //Matt @ the Custom Home Theaters

  34. tyler September 28, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Looks excellent. Wonderful DIY job!

  35. Vicky @ denon receivers March 12, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    What a great idea, that is awesome !! For a long time I really want one of my rooms could be a theatre room, but it is not affordable so far… :(

  36. Home Theatre December 16, 2013 at 1:43 am #

    Very impressive…

  37. Aubrey March 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Hello,
    your “here” link doesn’t seem to be working regarding answering previous attic finishing questions.
    Anyway, my attic looks extremely similar to yours. Can you give me a basic estimate how much it cost your contractor to do the basic finishing?
    Thanks so much! So inspiring!

  38. Monte March 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Very nice job… from a fellow Home Theatre DIY’er.

    Monte

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