Living Space: TV time: Media room decorating pointers
Ever since television was introduced, families have been gathering around the screen. Today's living rooms and family rooms often revolve around the TV, and with the phenomenal growth in screen size, a home media room might be a better spot to enjoy television, movies and games.
But a media room isn't just a living room with a big TV; it's a special space dedicated to television viewing, and with the right decor and organization, users will have a richer entertainment experience. Ideally, your media room should be closed off from the rest of the house.
Color is key on the decorating list. Darker hues help create a theater experience and are light-absorbing. Light or bright colors can create glare. Paint should be in a flat or eggshell finish.
Because media rooms are designed for watching TV and movies with all their high and low sounds, a good sound system is a must. Some home theater sound systems require speakers to be wired in around the room, and while this guarantees great sound, such systems can be expensive and difficult to install.
A simpler option is sound bars. Placed underneath the TV or on the entertainment console, the bars often match the look of the TV. Setup is quick and easy, and best of all, bars are available from $75 and up. The average price for a good mid-range system would be about $200.
As for the TV itself, as a rule, the bigger, the better. Today's large, flat-screen TVs are easy to mount on a wall, but there are also options for drop-down screens and large entertainment cabinets, plus an endless variety of viewing options. If your media room is small, a flat-screen TV makes sense. If it's large, a drop-down projection screen is an attractive option.
Make sure you account for wires and storage for DVDs, games and other items. A universal remote that handles all your players and TV is ideal. Otherwise, a small basket or a storage ottoman can corral all the remotes.
Soft, overstuffed upholstered chairs or sofas are great for marathon viewing sessions. Include some large pillows for those who like to camp on the floor and add some cozy throws. To keep the room from becoming too murky, balance the dark paint with lighter-toned upholstery and drapes. Layer window coverings so the light level can be adjusted.
Be aware that the electronic components in the room heat up, attracting dust, so frequent cleaning is important. Use dust sprays made specifically for electronics.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.