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Elephant Traps in Home Cinema Setup #4 – Room Layout

We are frequently asked to help advise on positioning of equipment in a TV room or home cinema. This is generally straight forward if the room is dedicated, however where the room is to have  shared use for example as both a general sitting room , and as a home cinema. This can often cause conflicts, and so a compromise is often required.

The most frequent problem area with room layout revolves around a fireplace – these are often large solidly built structures as part of the building, and don’t move easily. Frequently, we have found that people end up with the TV over the fireplace, and this is not one of our favourite compromises.

Often it is better to position the TV beside the fireplace, and effectively to create a wider focus to the room if space permits. For larger cinema systems, it is frequently possible to have a screen that drops from the ceiling in front of the fireplace (provided the fire is not hot!), in this way the focus of the room is preserved, and the seating stays the same. Most commonly however, we end up with a dual aspect room layout. Fireplaces are often across the widest wall, and frequently for a cinema system, the length of the room is employed as a strategy to permit a larger screen and more comfortable viewing.

If the windows are not too low, another consideration, is to put the TV at low level below a window – this can often work well as the windows are another natural focus to the room, and it is easy to keep the eye level in line with the TV.

Fireplace moved

In the picture above, we ended up moving the fireplace to the corner of the room, using the void created to house the equipment, sub-woofer and DVDs. However this is rather unusual.

TV Over Fireplace

The typical room layout compromise with a fireplace – The TV goes over the top – not so bad if the fireplace is not too high, however ideally you want your eye height to be within the picture height of the screen, when you are sitting watching it.

Layout with TV beside FireplaceIn the Lounge room layout above, the TV used to be in the top left hand corner of the room. This meant it was a long distance from either sofa, and was at an acute angle. It also meant that the loudspeakers were all over the room. In this instance we moved the TV to beside the fireplace, with the front left and right channel speakers either side. It meant the TV was much easier to see, with more comfortable viewing across the width of the room, and a far better listening position for better quality stereo music, which was part of the brief.

 Contact us if you are considering a TV or cinema room – we’re bursting with ideas, and enjoy a challenge!