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Home Cinema Design - When Luxury Meets Performance

Updated: Jan 22

More than any other room in today’s homes, cinema and media rooms require a combination of aesthetics and performance. Bringing together the expertise of interior designers and AV specialists to ensure we deliver beautiful spaces which also deliver on performance.

Luxe Smart Homes are a home cinema and home automation integration business based in Cobham, Surrey. They are expert installers of home cinema in luxury high-end residential homes and have delivered many immersive home cinema experiences to homeowners in the local area.

Q. Covid has changed the way we live in so many ways, do you think this has created an increase in the demand for dedicated home cinemas rooms?

A. Definitely, as soon as people had spent a couple of months at home during the first lockdown, homeowners were re-evaluating how they were using the space they already had. We received several enquiries from people who wanted to convert an unused bedroom at the top of their home into an entertaining space and/or dedicated cinema room. We were able to deliver an entertainment room that was previously used as additional storage that had accumulated over the years.

We have also seen that new builds, especially with a basement, seem to be specified with a cinema or media room as standard now. In the early days of COVID, society as a whole pulled back from social situations where you were in close proximity to others inside a building for prolonged periods of time. Commercial cinemas are almost a perfect example of this and sadly the high street cinema footfall hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels yet. During this time the film studios also started to shorten their release times of major movies, which meant people could watch films at home much sooner than pre-pandemic times. Both these factors have meant people are prepared to invest in a home cinema that they can enjoy with a smaller circle of friends and family.


Q. The range of products and systems available is huge, how important is it for clients to experience cinema systems at a showroom before you specifying and install?

A. It’s hugely important, in most cases people are not sure what they want or may not even know what is possible. We always start with a site survey where we meet the client and evaluate the size and shape of the room.

Understanding how they will use the room and what kind of entertainment they are likely to consume is the starting point. Once we have decided whether the visuals will be through a projector or a television panel, we can start to map out the minimum amount of speakers that would be required, at which point we can provide a very loose estimate in cost. Taking clients to one of our distributors’ showrooms is a great way for them to understand the different options available, once they o experience the rooms for themselves, it’s only natural that they will become really excited and we can narrow in on finalising a budget to meet their needs.

Q. Can you explain the difference between a dedicated cinema room and media rooms?

A. We differentiate the two types of room by assessing what else is happening in the room and how much natural light there is. If the room is going to include a bar area, snooker or pool table or adjoins another living space, then this is a media room. If the room doesn’t have any of these attributes and does not contain any windows and requires at least two banks of seating, I’d say that would be a dedicated cinema room. You can have immersive audio-visual experiences in both scenarios but the difference, for us, is how many purposes the room has.





Q. How important is it to integrate the interior design and AV process and how does a collaborative approach improve the space?

A. The aim for both the home cinema installer and interior designer should be to deliver an exceptional immersive audio-visual experience for the client that temporarily suspends their connection to the outside world whilst they are watching a film. This is achieved through immersive audio-visual content delivered in a space of comfort and relaxation. We see it as a perfect opportunity to collaborate with the interior design community. They are more skilled in collating a scheme of fabrics, colours, textures and surfaces that combine to deliver the sense of comfort and relaxation. Our role is for the soundtrack to move you physically or emotionally as the film director tells a wonderful story. Films can make you jump, cheer, laugh or cry and this is ‘the ride’ we are trying to take the client on. This involves complex engineered speaker and projector placement as well as acoustical treatment of the room so that the audio is not too loud or quiet in a certain location within the room. This can bring up comprises sometimes and this is where the collaboration is so important.


Q. Technology is constantly evolving, where do you see the future of AV in the home cinema?

A. As previously mentioned, home cinema is definitely becoming more popular in all it’s various forms. Dolby Atmos has been around for a while, but it is picking up far more traction through services such as Kaleidescape, Apple TV and streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+. ‘Atmos’ is only deliverable when there are speakers in the ceiling as well as around you at ear level when you are sat down. One interesting development in the last two years has been Apple’s ‘Spatial Audio’ as well as Dolby Atmos on Tidal for music streaming. Rather than just listening to audio through a pair of speakers in front of the listening position, you can now hear music from a full Atmos surround sound speaker system. Artists and music producers are also creating their content with this in mind so that can build a soundscape where the lead vocalist could be standing right in front of you, the pianist and guitarist to the left of you, the drummer and back vocalists behind you with the bass player to the right. You would never be able to achieve this by going to a music concert. Close your eyes and it sounds as if Adele and her band are in your living room.


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