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My Little Bat Cave - Bigger is not always better!

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Hi all, although no-one ever really "finishes" a project, I have got my little room to a pretty decent point that I am ”mostly” happy with and thought I would take the time to share some info about it to show what can be done on a relatively low budget.

So, in summer 2010 we had the garage converted so that the front remained as storage, leaving a room (about 8ft by 9ft) in the remaining space. Got the builders to prepare it to bare plasterboard walls and we did the painting and flooring ourselves.

The room cost about £1500 and a door into the room was £700 so, including paint and laminate flooring, probably about £2,500 all in.

It was initially painted all "natural hessian" (Dulux) with a matt white ceiling. We got a couple of cheap chairs from Ikea and used a £5 table top on a £10 breakfast bar leg attached to the back wall to act as a shelf for my old Sony projector. All of that was about £100.

We also got some cheap units from Ikea for shelving and DVD/BluRay/HD-DVD storage down one side. (£70 IIRMC)

84 Inch Pull down screen from the classifieds on this forum for £40

I had built up a set of 5.1 speakers (Wharfedales as per my signature) over the last few years, so just used them in the new room, while later adding the extra front height speakers. 9.0s as fronts (£50), centre was about £120, sub was £299 and rears were about £100, additional front height were another £60 I think.

The left front speaker is hidden behind the bat cave tent (see below) so the sound has to be adjusted slightly to add a bit of extra punch to the left, but the front heights also help fill the gap and give a good solid front performance.

PS3, Xbox, Toshiba EP-30 feeding into a Denon 2310. £260, £190, £120 and £600 respectively but, as with the majority of the speakers, I had all these already, so not sure if they count when "valuing the room"?

I read a little on the forums about contrast and then thought about trying to eliminate some of the light reflections from the walls. The room was free from all light other than that of the projector itself - although that is obviously quite a lot of reflected light when the walls and ceiling are light coloured.

So, I painted the wall behind the screen a "chocolate colour" and then proceeded to make my "tent".....essentially three black sheets from Wilkinsons, suspended from the coving in the room. The photos show the curtain wire fed through the hem of the sheet with a hook at either end and strategically placed hooks around the room.

The tent can be put up and taken down very easily - about 5 minutes - and, with the Chocolate wall makes a big difference to the light that flies around - the "Fox" photos show the fox logo "before and after" and, although not the greatest pics, do show how much light is cut out by the sheets......I have also replaced the white AV "rack" with a darker wood/black glass combo that cuts down more reflections......although you can't see it from the pictures i can vouch for the fact that cutting out that light gives a much better picture.

The most expensive part of the room now is probably my new(ish) JVC HD350 projector which now takes pride of place atop a new £70 set of drawers from Ikea. Having a Bat Cave meant I had to buy a JVC to get the best out of the dark room.... :devil::rotfl:

I have also acquired various posters and pictures that i have added to the walls over time to give it a “filmic feel”!

Oh and we replaced the IKEA chairs with a nice pair of leather armchairs that my wife found for the bargain price of £100 each!

So I am now viewing a 1080p 84inch (diagonal) image from about 8.5 feet - which is about the minimum really, but it looks impressive and I don't have a problem at that distance….any closer and the grid lines start to show – and I guess the same would be for a bigger image……although I will never know unless I do another room as I won't get a bigger screen in here!

Compromises have been made to keep swmbo's treadmill in the room and to keep it in such a way as the tent can come down to allow the room to be used as a normal room as well.

Ultimately I am happy with what I have managed to do in such a small room and on a small budget even where compromises on painting the walls black need to be made:).

Obviously if you have to collect everything from scratch, including projector, receiver etc then it is going to be more expensive but, essentially, as I had all the equipment already, the costs of getting a home cinema were probably under £3k - only extra costs were probably front height speakers, new unit to stick the PJ on, new AV rack and the PJ itself - of courses none of these were essential.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling post, and badly organised poor quality pictures….but it is difficult to get good pictures in such a small room! :blush: I'm not going to be getting any CEDIA awards anytime soon, but hopefully will have helped convince a few people that size doesn't necessarily matter and you can do pretty well with very little.

Happy to answer any questions about the room/equipment or getting it al together if anyone has them!

Cheers

Mark
 

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Marky1973

Well-known Member
Cheers! Well we do have some small chairs for the nippers that come out for family viewing, although they usually end up on our laps! The kids that is, not the chairs......I did think about mounting the PJ on the underside of the alcove, but it just wouldn't be safe without a lot of work.....also thought about a recessed space in the back wall to house the PJ.....going back into the other part of the garage, but not sure enough of my DIY skills to do.that.....but might be a plan for when the kids are bigger and we need a sofa in there.
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Cheers! The added bonus is that the good lady wife lives it as well, so she is always keen on improvements......well most of the time....black walls are still a no-no! :)
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
I'm working on it, but I can kind of see her argument against using her treadmill in a pitch black room....... :)
 

Richard Fenn

Active Member
Very nice mate!
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
We are quite chuffed with what we have managed to cram in! It is a shame it is so small that it is so difficult to get decent pictures! :) hopefully it will inspire a few more people to have a go despite perceived restrictions with space.....
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Cheers.....just need to figure out a good way to illuminate the ALIEN film cells......then I might get a couple more! :).....
 

alz2605

Well-known Member
I'm working on it, but I can kind of see her argument against using her treadmill in a pitch black room....... :)
The treadmill should be in the kitchen so it's closer to the sink anyway :rotfl:

That's a great space and set up you've got and I enjoyed reading your write up :smashin:
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Cheers mate - will suggest that to swmbo and see what she says.....might get her more in favour of black walls....or black eyes.....;):laugh:
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Looks superb, loving the movie posters around the room.
Just as an update as I couldn't remember originally, I got the posters from iposters......just checked and they do them framed for £30 with delivery....good quality and quick delivery......other poster websites are available.....:thumbsup:
 

danoliver1

Active Member
James1D said:
Very nice...just a shame you don't have a seat in the middle...my OCD would not like that !
Me too, i would wall mount the projector and have a middle seat. But very nice all the same.
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
I will one day, although more likely to recess into back wall. Alcove is all plasterboard and would not be able to support the PJ without some considerable reinforcing......I enjoy DIY, but what I see in my head rarely looks the same in reality......so will have to build up to that!
 

mckee74

Well-known Member
Very inspiring indeed. Looks brilliant.
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Thanks!......the worrying thing is that, although it is pretty much where I want it for now, I still can't stop thinking about bits to upgrade!
 

danoliver1

Active Member
Marky1973 said:
Thanks!......the worrying thing is that, although it is pretty much where I want it for now, I still can't stop thinking about bits to upgrade!
Haha join the club!!
 

1979scotte

Novice Member
Thanks!......the worrying thing is that, although it is pretty much where I want it for now, I still can't stop thinking about bits to upgrade!
It is always there that nagging in your ear. Upgrade me! Upgrade me! Doesn,t matter what i buy couple of months down the line i want something new. Thinking speakers this time but always looking at new projectors. Can`t help myself.

Really need that lottery win. Anybody got any tips?
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
All my kit is probably as good as it needs to be a room that size, but doesn't stop the itch....
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
Cheers mate......might quote you next time the wife moans about me filling it up with gadgets! :)
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
It can get hot, but only really been a problem once or twice in the height of summer.....this time if year it needs heating before you start!
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
I am aware that this thread is a little old now, but I did say somewhere else I would update after some recent changes as I think they give more examples of what you can do with a small room!

An opportunity arose recently to repaint the walls and ceiling, so I took it and the ceiling and coving went dark purple (as opposed to white) and the walls went from magnolia to a lighter purple, but still darker than the magnolia.

I also took the black sheets down for the last time and replaced them with dark purple suedette curtains on proper curtain rails, so they can stay up, but be slid back and forth when a film is being watched.

All in all a pretty cheap update (all under £100) for a further gain in relation to contrast levels in the room.

A few photos included for info!
 

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Bitzal

Standard Member
nice setup :)
 

Marky1973

Well-known Member
The treadmill should be in the kitchen so it's closer to the sink anyway :rotfl:

That's a great space and set up you've got and I enjoyed reading your write up :smashin:
Woohoo! Nothing that a cheap gym membership won't cure! The treadmill is now out of the room and in the garage pending a sale! :thumbsup:

The room is mine...all mine!!!!:D
 

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