First Home Cinema Project - your advice appreciated


Novice Member
Dear Experienced forum members,

First Home Cinema Project - your advice appreciated

I am about to reclaim ownership of my 1 bed, leasehold, top floor flat (2nd floor). It’s of a decent size, floorplan is attached along with some other (bad) photos of my lounge – new photos and floorplan to be uploaded in the next few weeks. I have an architect coming round next week in order to create some accurate and detailed drawings for me and to also poke his head into the loft (yes – I have the loft above me all to myself too access via the hallway) with a couple of ideas of removing the wall between the kitchen and lounge – who knows what he may suggest for the loft! However, what I may or may not be able to do in loft or with kitchen is subject to planning regs and submission to my freeholder…and of course, budget.

I’ve owned the flat for 12 years and it has been tenanted for the last 11…I purchased it 2006 and one year after moved in with the (then) missus into her place, then into a joint house. Ffwd 10 years and I am now divorced and looking forward to moving back into my own permanent space with the ability to make my OWN design and function decisions! “Don’t put that speaker there, that TV’s too big, hide those wires, why do we need surround sound – I can’t tell the difference” ALL of those questions are a thing of the past and what I’m looking forward to most? A blank slate…

I will look to keep the post updated and provide before, during and after pictures. So my question for assistance comes into a number of areas – and imagine that I am just about to start clearing and gutting the lounge of old furniture, if you were to learn from your mistakes? What would you do…what if you had a blank slate for an average flat? Anybody have a home cinema setup in an open plan room?

1. Orientation of the screen and seating. My window faces SE and it does attract a decent amount of light. I would look to use some form of perfect fit, black out venetian blinds as easy to use and install (I’m crap at DIY). Only an electric fire – will rip that piece out for flat wall.
a. Do you have experience of installing a similar item? Or are curtains preferred to blinds?

2. Use of textures to enhance audio within the space. There is cheap laminate flooring within in the lounge currently, this will come up to be replaced by snug carpet.
a. Does paint have an effect? I need to completely re-paint – it’s peeling/crackling badly in places.
b. I’ve seen some “soft” panels installed on walls to enhance sound – worth it?
c. Lighting – tips and tricks?
d. Interested in an L-shaped sofa – but would consider large cinema style chairs if the are versatile enough – your experience?

3. Functionality of the room. It will be for me, a mid-thirties single guy. However;
a. I am looking for a relaxing environment for average evening/weekend TV use
b. The rooms provides “an experience” when I am Gaming (PS4, desktop) or watching a film.

4. My current Tech requirements. I own a PS4, I play desktop games via laptop (may need to change this to desktop for increased quality), I will want to watch plenty of sports and have the guys round for beers.

a. I am currently thinking of a 55”+ TV…AND also a projector with pull down screen(made first purchase from the forum on here (Sapphire 106" Manual Screen). Been looking at last years TV models for Panasonic – DX802 & DX902, keeping my eyes out for a deal. Looking at a projector for Under £1,000 too – I could be swayed to not bother with a TV at all…your experience?
b. I really want to get involved in NAS/Media server – but I don’t think I have a large enough library to warrant this. I use Amazon Prime mostly at the moment
c. I fancy getting some smart tech Items in the home (mainly lights, no gas heating). Anybody have smart tech in the bathroom/kitchen? Thinking of future proofing…
d. I am a premium spotify member, enjoy listening to music.
e. I have neighbours beneath me so can’t go mental with music

5. Cabling: Should I consider future proofing my flat now with some decent cabling?

a. How can I future proof if I’m not 100% sure what I need?
b. Do sparkies also provide Network cabling information or should I get a local audio/cinema firm round to review and quote?

I did have a poke around the FAQ for building a home cinema – but there didn’t appear many links? Is it a work in progress?

I liked the look of the following home set ups;

First Time Man Cave Project

Home Cinema/Lounge in-wall Kef Ci-5160 - this looks like a classy finish to me…

Dolby Atmos lounge updated - this one just looks soooo comfortable – a Look I would like to achieve

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to give me advice – I truly appreciate it.

lounge from hallway.jpg
Towards kitchen wall.JPG
Towards Kitchen, bedroom walls and hallway.JPG


Active Member
Based on your viewing habits (social / gaming) I think open plan would be best suited. It will be a compromise on sound / harder to get perfect but the positives of a more usable space is likely to out weigh this.

With regard to equipment, I would focus budget on getting space right. Wiring for as many options as possible etc, this will make upgrades much simpler in future.

I would also stick with TV and PJ. Again will make the space a lot more usable all the time.


Novice Member
Thank you cherrywood for your info and viewpoint, helpful.

Progress has been made - tenant and their stuff has gone - updated picture attached showing space (& importantly light) of the lounge.

Also attached, two examples of open plan designs that my Architect has given me - I really like the first one, but am considering adding a bar in the kitchen to provide additional seating when required, and also I may be forced into keeping the separate kitchen entrance which will act as a fire escape. Still waiting for the freeholder to get back to me on what I can and cannot do structurally.

I will go with Cassette Black Out roller blinds for the window, that is for certain - one decision made at least! What would you recommend in terms of the wall to put the screen on? The room would become "longer" if I used the wall that backs onto the bedroom...

Did any members have a preference when designing their setups? Walking into the set up side-on through a door or walking into a set-up already looking at the screen?


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