Home Theater Seating Guide

in Home Theater Design, Home Theater Seating

You’re ready to build your home theater. Awesome! You know you are going to have a massive screen, an amazing projector, incredible sound, controlled lighting, and then you realize you need to also figure out where you and your guests are going to sit. So you start to look into home theater seating, and pretty quickly it becomes clear that you have tons of choices, and the prices can get out of control very fast. Want to spend a few thousand dollars per seat? No problem, you can do that very easily in a home theater. In this library entry, we’ll talk about the basics of home theater seating, and you need to get this right. After all, you might be sitting in that seat for long movie marathons and for years and years… How Big Is Your Room? Where you will likely start is considering how much room you have to work with, literally. Meaning, how big is your room? How wide is your theater room? How deep is your theater room? You have to know this basic information to even start the process of determining what seats you will have in your theater. Don’t forget that when you are considering your room size, you need to be thinking about the interior finished dimensions. Lots of rooms have several inches of acoustic treatment, or other finishes, on the ‘inside’ of the room, so you can easily end up with a room that is 6 inches smaller than you might have first thought. Inside the room, you also need to consider that you have to have space around the sides, essentially aisles. Not all theaters will have an aisle on either side of the seating, one aisle on one side is also very common, but that ‘space’ needs to be planned out. You don’t need the width of a regular hallway, meaning you do not have to have three feet of space as an aisle next to your seats. However, you do need enough room to get by without squeezing between the seat and the wall. Likewise, you also need to plan for the space between the rows. Now this will be greatly impacted by your actual seating choice. In other words if you use non-recliners you need far less space between the rows than if you have full sized reclining seats. As a side note, also keep in mind the dimensions leading into your theater. The size of the doorways, hallways, windows, and so on… It is not unheard of for people to purchase seating for their home theater room, only to find out the seats are too large to make it down a stairway, hallway, through a doorway, or around a corner. How Many People? In addition to knowing how big your room is, you also need to think about how many people you want to have seated in your theater. The options for seating 12 people are not the same as the options for seating 6 people, in the same sized room. When you are thinking about how many people, it is pretty common for folks planning a theater to overestimate the number of people. You should not build/design your theater for the maximum number of people that you think might be there someday. Planning a theater to seat 16 people for the once per year Super Bowl party is not the best way to plan a theater. You should plan the seats for what you are expecting will be your normal use. If the room can support 16 people, using more traditional non-recliners, but 99.9% of the time you are using the theater it will be just you and one other person, it doesn’t make sense to fit 16 seats in there. It makes much more sense to build the theater around you and that other person, and allow for additional seats (even folding seats) to be brought in during those rare times you need more capacity. You’ll enjoy your theater much more with seating that is really designed for your primary use first. Seating Styles When it comes to the styles of seating for your theater, the choices are really as wide and varied as any other place you have seating. Some owners use couches, some use sectionals, some even use over-sized beanbags. That is all based on your own design and style choice. There are some main styles of home theater seats however, and one of these styles is what the majority of theater owners will select. Traditional Theater Seating When people think of these seats, they tend to think small, cramped, and uncomfortable, but that is really incorrect these days. Traditional theater seating has come a long way over the years, and today you can find very comfortable seats in this style. If you have a bit less space, or you really do want to have lots of seats in your theater, then you should give serious consideration to this style of seat. They are less expensive than the home theater recliners, and have evolved quite a bit. Home Theater Recliners Full-sized home theater recliners are currently the most popular type of seat in the home theater. These are similar to a stand-alone reclining chair, only for the theater they are manufactured to be put together in rows, sharing the armrest space between the seats. With recliners, you need to make sure...