When it comes to your home theater, your seating decisions are probably the most personal ones you will make. There are so several important questions to consider and options to weigh before you make your decision.
When selecting your home theater seating, it is essential to consider the following factors:
- Room/Audience Size – How many people will be using the space?
- Budget – What can you spend on these seats?
- Features – What features and amenities should the seats include?
- Design – How is it going to look and function in your space?
- Comfort – Can you imagine sitting in this seat for a long time?
- Quality – Do you feel confident the product will last?
It’s critical to consider the home theater as it exists so far, or as you have it planned. The seating, room, and equipment will all come together to create your personal home theater experience. Think about the big picture as you are selecting your home theater seating!
How to Choose Home Theater Seating – Step by Step Process!
1 – Consider the room and audience size when deciding how many seats you need for your home theater. This is the absolute best place to start.
2 – Once you know how many butts you need to account for, determine a budget. You might end up with a range, and that’s totally okay.
3 – After you know how much you are ready to spend, start researching features and familiarizing yourself with the cost. Determine if the bells and whistles fit into your budget – if they interest you at all!
4 – Now that you know what you’re looking for, start imagining the seats in your space. What do they look like? Modern? Regal? Leather? Fabric? The choices are limitless!
5 – By this point, you should have found exactly what you are looking for. That means it’s time to test the comfort. Does it feel good? Can you imagine spending hours upon hours in this seat? Is it relaxing? Do you absolutely love it?
6 – Finally, before purchasing, you want to ensure the product is of high quality. Check out any reviews you can find online, research the company that makes it, and make certain there is a somewhat flexible return policy. You don’t want to get stuck with something you don’t love!
If you follow those simple easy steps, you should have the seat of your dreams in no time!
Remember, shopping and designing your home is supposed to be fun, and not a headache! Enjoy the process, and get to it!
Considering Room Size for Seating
The first question to consider is the size of your home theater. Will you be watching movies mostly alone, or do you want to accommodate someone else? Is there going to be a wide range of people who enjoy your home theater? Will there be kids?
If you are building your home theater as a solo experience, then the most important thing is to find the perfect seat for you. An individual recliner that feels good and matches the aesthetic of your home theater is a great place to start. Something like the Pulaski Larson Theatre Recliner is likely a great choice.
If you are going to have a regular companion or two, One of the more popular choices in home theaters today are these three-seat recliners. The three-seat reclining option is widely used and therefore one of the most commonly distributed seating product. They are modeled after that authentic movie theater experience, often having features like footrests, cup holders and even table trays.
Adding Rows for More Seating
If your room is big enough and you plan on having more than a few movie-watchers regularly, you can also double up and create two rows of these recliners for six seats in total. If the room is wide enough you could even go for two in each row.
When you end up creating two or more rows of seating, visibility can be an issue – which is where risers come in. As you might expect, risers are designed to elevate your furniture several inches. Depending on the seating option you are using, you might be able to get by with corner risers like these, but if you need an entire section lifted from the ground will you likely require much more expensive area risers.
It’s important to keep in mind the seating position when selecting your furniture. If you configure your home theater correctly, the best sounding area will likely be in the center of the room. In an ideal scenario, you will have room around the furniture itself, and your home theater seating will not be pushed up against any walls.
Budget – Home Theater Seat Pricing
Many other considerations come in to play when you consider the budget. If you must have real leather for your seats, then you’re going to pay a higher price than options with cloth or faux leather would cost, for example. If you buy a 3-in-1 set of recliners, it will likely cost less than 3 individual recliners.
The most efficient way to figure out which home theater seating options are best for you, after factoring your room size, of course, is deciding on a budget, as well as on the lighting of the room (more on preventing excess lighting in our tutorial).
Once you have your budget and you know how many seats you need in your theater, the rest will be more straightforward to figure out. There is no use shopping at Goodwill if you are ready to spend $50,000 and only need a couple of seats, just like there is no reason to start shopping for real leather, electric recliner massaging chairs if you’ve only got $300 to work with!
If you have a smaller budget, discount furniture stores and second-hand stores can be a great option. In fact, even if you have a large budget, you might want to explore those options in specific scenarios!
Maximizing Your Budget
Let’s say you have a reasonably large theater room and mostly expect to use it with your spouse and one other person. However, you’d love to be able to accommodate a few guests every now and then.
In a situation like this, it might make sense to purchase a single 3-recliner set up like the one shown below. Maybe you don’t want to invest the same amount in seating that will only be used occasionally. In this case, it might make sense to look at cheaper options. This is of course only if it doesn’t compromise any of your priorities, such as aesthetic, features, space, etc.
- Leather Gel: offers the look and feel of top grain leather that is both durable and elegant
- Powered Headrests & Recline: take your comfort to the next level with the push of a button
- Fold-Down Table: center with two USB charging slots and two 110V outlets and overhead lights
- Convenient Features: USB charging ports, hidden in-arm storage, free tray table for each seat, and lighted cup holders
- Dimensions: 43 H x 84 W x 37 L, reclined length 65 L, seat depth 22, seat height 20, see specification sheet for more details
Most importantly, don’t forget to shop around. Once you have made a decision on the seating option that’s best for you, check for different prices. At the very least, search the product name on Google and check the manufacturer’s website. Particularly if you aren’t purchasing the latest model from that company, there is a good chance of finding a discount somewhere.
You don’t want to kick yourself a few weeks down the line when you see your brand new furniture somewhere else for 30% less than you paid!
Home Theater Seating Features
Which features do you need for your home theater seating? Is it necessary for you that the chairs recline? Do you need cupholders? Maybe you want the best of the best, and you want USB chargers for each seat, a wine caddy, and a sound shaker!
It is very likely that a couple of the suggestions above will sound excellent and crucial to one person, and laughable and superfluous to the next. If you are merely trying to enjoy a movie in the comfort of your home, then you are going to want to focus more on features geared towards comfort than technology.
Features like powered recliners, adjustable headrests, and memory foam seats are becoming more and more common. If you have a spouse to watch with you, maybe you want an armrest that folds up so you can cuddle.
In addition to those basic features, you should consider if other features will increase your enjoyment. It’s likely that there are seating options out there that you never even dreamed about.
Have you considered having electrical outlets built into the armrests? Did you know that some recliners come with overhead reading lights? If you want to be a really great host, you can find options that have storage areas on the side or underneath the seat. A great place to keep snacks and refreshments for your guests. These are features that will make for an extremely luxurious experience!
Technology is continually changing and adapting. As a result, it can be intimidating to invest in the latest and greatest because it could be outdated or obsolete or significantly cheaper at any moment – but that’s the price you pay for having the best!
Seating Design and Aesthetics
There is so much to consider when it comes to design. Size, material, features, build quality, structure, shape, color – these are all equally important factors when it comes to design! Budget is going to play a significant role in determining how much customization you can do with the design of your seating. If it’s important to have a ‘WOW’ factor when people see your home theater, be prepared to spend significantly more money just for the design!
This is an area where it will likely come down to making smart choices. Is the cost of upgrading from faux leather to real leather really worth it? Do you need an unusual color palette to match your vintage sci-fi posters?
You might want something that feels really modern, like these chairs that look like they could be at home on the Star Trek Enterprise. You may want something more elegant and regal. In that case, this row of Anthem recliners by Seatcraft should scratch the itch. If you want a totally unexpected option, these cuddle chairs belong in The House Of The Future!
There will be something out there that can match your taste, even if it takes a little work to find it.
Seating Comfort – Why It’s Important
Our last topic to consider is certainly not the least important. Who wants to spend time in an uncomfortable seat for the duration of a whole movie? I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! Unfortunately, comfort can be a difficult thing to determine when buying online.
If at all possible, find a way to test your seats ahead of time. Some companies have showrooms, and if not you can try finding local distributors that have the product you are looking for. It’s completely acceptable to use brick and mortar stores as testing grounds while still ordering online for a better price. (I would suggest seeing if the local store would price match, but that’s a different matter!)
Another option for ensuring comfort is to see if you can find a “no questions asked” return policy. As online shopping becomes more and more common, companies are becoming more accommodating. It’s not unusual for a company to allow you to try expensive furniture with a full refund guarantee simply because you don’t like it. If you cannot find products to test in person, this should absolutely be your next choice.
Consider your guests!
You should also consider the comfort and flexibility of your guests and other movie watchers. If there are a lot of children involved, you may not want adult-sized individual recliners. If you expect a lot of couples, love seats or collapsible armchairs make cuddling way easier.
Comfort is an extremely personal matter, so what works best for you could be a terrible choice for someone else. The best thing you can do is to think through how your home theater will be used, and who will be using it!
Home Theater Seat Quality
Quality matters. It obviously matters to you if you’re here doing this research! You obviously want to make sure you have a chair that looks and feels great, but you want to be sure it’s durable. There is nothing worse than investing all this time and energy into researching exactly what you want, only for the product to fall apart or fail after a few months.
There are several things you can do to ensure your investment lasts, and you get the quality you are paying for.
Always Read Reviews!
Unfortunately, poor quality can be hard to detect when shopping for products – especially if you are going to buy online. This is why it’s important to read product reviews.
Just because something looks comfortable does not mean it will be comfortable. You might find out that the USB charging ports you paid several hundred dollars for stop working after a few months.
Nothing is made perfectly, but thanks to the internet we can learn from each others misfortune, and help others avoid poor purchases. It’s a great idea to read a handful of reviews from multiple different sources when possible. Some companies write fake reviews on their own websites and pay for reviews on others. Always check as many sources as you can find.
Always Check Return Policies
Another way you can protect yourself from a poor purchase is by making sure the return policy is at least fair. It’s important to do your due diligence, as many return policies feature exceptions. For example, if you measured your room incorrectly and can’t fit all your furniture, you might be out luck.
Most return policies, especially for reputable companies, will at least cover any manufacturer defects that present themselves after a year of regular use. Compare return policies listed through different vendors, as sometimes the distributor will have extended warranty options.
Who doesn’t love hosting family and friends when you have a comfortable, killer home theater to show off? And who doesn’t like visiting the person who put that much effort into entertaining? If you spend time planning before you buy, you’ll have a much better chance of creating a wonderful experience for yourself and everyone else who gets to experience your creation.
Check out our article all about how far or close you should sit to a home theater screen. The distance from the display to the seating is extremely important in home theater design!