How to Design Home Movie Theater Seating

Your home theater is a significant investment. You’ve thoughtfully selected the perfect screen and audio set up – now it’s time to add the finishing touches. The seating arrangement and design materials of your theater are just as important as the technical components. You’ve spent significant time and resources curating your home theater – now make sure you’re comfortable using it. Here’s how to design the perfect home theater seating system.


Choose a Seating Placement Approach

The first consideration in home theater seating design is deciding on the number and type of seats. Your seating choices will influence acoustics, subwoofer placement, and more. There are two general approaches to seating placement: “inside out,” or “outside in.”


Inside Out

Using an “inside out” approach involves choosing the number of seats you want, deciding which type you prefer, and arranging your seating into rows. From there, you can specify the dimensions of the room and other specifications. This is referred to as the inside out approach because it only works in a new home or addition, where you have more flexibility with a room’s dimensions.


Outside In

If you’re working with fixed dimensions, such as a pre-existing room, an “outside in” approach is more appropriate. This approach takes your room’s existing dimensions into account when determining the maximum number of seats and their arrangement.


Primary and Secondary Seating

One of the first things home theater builders consider is the maximum number of seats they require. To determine your number of seats, consider your home theater’s “normal” use. Some people make the mistake of only considering high use cases, such as Super Bowl parties. However, the main uses of your home theater will involve smaller groups, primarily entertaining your immediate and close family.

Planning wisely for normal use can save you time and money. Consider adding 6-8 seats, and adding secondary seating (beanbags, etc) for parties and special occasions.


Organize Seating According to Best Practices

The next step is to organize your seating arrangement in accordance with performance. Consider the following:

  • Commercial cinema best practices designate ideal viewing angles between 36 and 50 degrees to fill a field of vision.
  • Risers help ensure that every viewer will have a clear view of the screen, as well. This is essential for those home theater systems with more than 1 row of seats.
  • Surround sound speakers should be at least 4 feet from a listener’s head. This helps ensure that one viewer won’t hear localized sounds from one speaker louder than the rest.

Applying these best practices to your seating will help ensure that every viewer has an immersive experience.


Choose Your Favorite Seating Type

The next, and perhaps most enjoyable, step is choosing the type of seating (or seating combination) you want in your home theater. There are several types to choose from:


Reclining Leather Home Theater

  • Home theater recliners are the roomiest, but take up the most space. They may be constructed of leather or vinyl, and recline independently. Because of their size, they may not be an ideal option for a smaller home theater. For those who can accommodate these seats, they communicate luxury.
  • Stadium seating is most similar to the type of seat found in commercial movie theaters. They take up less space and some may recline partially.
  • Bar seating may be a nice addition for a home theater if you’re hosting a larger event (ex. Superbowl or World Series party). They are low cost and space efficient.
  • Reclining couches are comfy and communicate an intimate feel. They’re informal space savers that can make gatherings with family more fun. We love these theater seating models from Palliser.


Leather Reclining Home Theater



Designing your home theater seating should take consideration, but it should also be enjoyable Whatever configuration you choose, make sure it’s a reflection of your own personal style and preferences. Happy home theater designing!

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