Why a media room could be the perfect alternative to a home cinema


If you’ve never considered a media room you might just be missing the perfect solution for your home entertainment needs.

We all know what a home cinema is – it does what it says on the tin – but most people have never heard of a media room. Or if they have, they use it synonymously with ‘home cinema’ which would be way off the mark!

There are some stark differences between the two, and if you’ve never truly explored what a media room is, you might be missing out on the best home transformation you could wish for.

What is a media room?

A media room is a living space that can be adapted to suit all media entertainment purposes. In contrast, a home cinema is a space optimised for theatrical experiences.

Typically, a home cinema will have a few unique qualities:

  • a room without windows
  • a 5ft+ cinema screen on the wall
  • acoustically-treated walls for sound control
  • ambient lighting
  • tiered seating
Typical cinema room setup - tiered theater seating and acoustic paneled walls
Typical cinema room setup – tiered theatre seating and acoustic panelled walls

Media rooms tend to be the complete opposite!

They can offer the same visual and audio amenities as home cinemas but with a proportionally smaller area of space, making them ideal for apartment living or those who might not have a spare room to convert.

Creating a media room requires careful planning and installation of multi-purpose technology that can be used for various activities. You can’t very well place 5 floor-standing speakers and massive subwoofers in a communal living space. However, there are alternatives that can transform an existing living space into a superior entertainment hub. All without compromising your day-to-day activities.

There are a lot of benefits of a media room – we’ve picked out our top 5…

  1. A media room is a great multi-purpose space

Not everyone has enough space in their homes to build separate rooms for different activities. If you don’t have an extra bedroom or the space to house a dedicated cinema room, a media room makes one room a versatile entertainment space; you can combine several functions under one roof by using multi-purpose furniture designs, accessories and technologies.

Media rooms are usually located in areas of the home that have already been set up to accommodate media entertainment. For example, a living room or snug room, so as to transform the existing living space. The outcome is a room that can be used for various activities, such as hosting guests, having play dates with children, getting together with family and friends, watching movies or playing video games.

Hidden bar displayed behind a fabric panelled wall that is controlled by touch sensor
A bar makes a media room a multi-purpose entertainment space

In addition to a home cinema system, a media room could have a bar area or even a pool table. This makes the space enjoyable for families and friends, even when they are not watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

2. Hidden TVs make media rooms easily adaptable

The biggest question we get asked by clients is “won’t a huge cinema screen look ridiculous when I just have a friend over for coffee?”

Luckily, there’s the option to hide cinema screens (and speakers) in a number of ways.

Projector screens

One option is to install a projection screen that rolls down from the ceiling. This means when it’s not in use, you can easily tuck it away like it never existed.

Thanks to automated technology, you won’t even need to lift a finger. Hook up the screen to your central control hub and you can make it appear or disappear from a remote control.

TV walls

A favourite of ours is installing a TV within a wall. And we don’t just mean chiseling away at the plasterboard and setting the screen back into a wooden mount. We mean a luxurious fabric wall for your TV to disappear into. When it isn’t on show, this gives the illusion of just being a fabric panelled wall, as if you’ve had a high-end interior designer style out the room. But, at the click of a button, you can bring out the screen.

A recent render of a bedroom TV wall using grey fabric paneling
A recent render of a bedroom TV wall using grey fabric paneling

Not only does this ensure your room looks aesthetically pleasing, it also keeps your TV screen away from damage – a great solution if your media room also doubles up as the kids’ playroom!

Invisible speakers

Another option is to go for invisible speakers. This technology has come a long way in recent years. If your media room is tucked away within an existing living space, you can hide speakers in walls, behind mirrors or in shelves without it looking like you’ve cut holes in them. And when they’re not in use, simply turn off the power and everyone will be none the wiser!

3. Media rooms are a cost-effective alternative to a home cinema

A media room is a less expensive way to enjoy audio-visual entertainment than a dedicated home cinema. Fitting out a media room with all of the latest film technology is never going to be ‘cheap’ but it’s certainly more affordable in comparison to building or setting up a custom-made home cinema space.

With media rooms becoming more common, it’s getting easier to update your technology and equipment. Not to mention it’s at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred for a dedicated home cinema.

Media room seating

First of all, you can make use of your existing seating. This instantly avoids the cost of dedicated home cinema seating such as reclining leather seats with cup holders, phone chargers and all sorts of other fancy gadgets. These typically clock in at around £1,500 per chair. So, opting to use an existing sofa, or even buying a brand new one, will save no end of expenses.

Media room lighting

A typical home cinema room will showcase under-seat lighting and ceiling shading, but a media room doesn’t need to be quite as extravagant.

Cinema room floor, wall and ceiling lighting
Cinema room floor, wall and ceiling lighting – a media room doesn’t need this extent

You could still opt for DMX lighting so you can control the moods and settings but there’s not quite as much expense as there is with kitting out a whole cinema room.

It’s enough to use ambient shading from well-placed lamps and dimmable lights in order to achieve multi-purpose lighting that you can control on a case-by-case use of the room.

  1. A media room can feel more cosy

As a media room is more like a living room, they function as an extension of your living space but with all the mod-cons you’re after – think plush sofas, comfortable armchairs and even ottomans at every seat.

Plus, creating an entertainment system within the media room will give you access to all your favorite movies, music and video games without having to leave the comfort of your living space. This means it can be designed to blend into the rest of your home so it doesn’t feel like a separate entity from your main house. While a home cinema often has a very distinct style of its own, a media room tends to fit in with the rest of the house.

Media room matches home decor and allows more functionality
Media room matches the home decor and allows more functionality

Media rooms can also be more convenient than a dedicated home cinema as they’re located in areas of the home where you already spend most of your time. This means there’s no need for you to trek up to the attic or down to the basement as media rooms are located right in the centre of where you need them.

5. Media room technology is constantly evolving

As people spend more and more time at home, media room technology has quickly caught up with its demand.

Just because you’re using a smaller space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the movie-viewing experience in your home. You can use your media room to pack premium features such as high-end audio and video into one cosy living space.

Blackout blinds

Forget needing to find a completely silent room with no windows for a home theatre – instead, you can install black-out blinds so that when you do use the media room as a home cinema, you get that true cinema experience of being sat in the dark in front of the big screen.

Media room utilising black-out blinds at windows to ensure multi-purpose use of the room
Media room utilising black-out blinds at windows to ensure multi-purpose use of the room

Projector quality

Laser projectors have come on in leaps and bounds, using lasers to natively distribute a wide range of more natural, detailed and brighter colors. This means you can still watch your favourite movie in pixel perfection even though you don’t have space for a 6ft cinema screen! No need to compromise on visual quality.

Surround sound

Using a surround sound system means that wherever you sit, you’ll have high-quality audio.

A system like Dolby Atmos will give you speakers surrounding your seating arrangement, plus two in-ceiling speakers that will fire sound downward, creating a 360-degree audio effect.

So, is a media room right for you?

If you’re still not sure, ask yourself the following:

  1. Do you have a spare room to dedicate entirely to a home cinema system?
  2. What sort of budget are you working with? (Bearing in mind that a media room typically starts from £10,000 upwards and a dedicated home theatre from £25,000 upwards)
  3. Do you want to create a versatile space for the whole family or a single-use room?

If you’re looking for a way to bring entertainment technology into your home but don’t have space for a dedicated home cinema room, then a media room will allow you to have the best of both worlds.

They’re cosy, easy-to-use, versatile and feature high-end technology solutions such as audiovisual – making them the perfect alternative to a home cinema without all the hassle.

Get in touch for Trusted Technology design and install your dream media room!

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