How to fit the big TV into a small house
By Gretchen Roberts
As fAmilies move through the seasons of
life, some rooms in the house outgrow their
original purpose. A home office might be
converted into a nursery, or a game room into
a guest room. With fewer people trading up
for bigger homes or even adding on to their
existing homes, revamping a room to reflect
how you want to live is a smart investment,
says Kathryn salyer, Costco member and
owner of myDecoratingCoach.com, a website
that helps women make decorating decisions.
“i’ve seen a recent trend of turning the
bonus room or extra room in the basement
into a media room,” salyer says. “it’s a great
way to promote family togetherness, because
the kids aren’t holed up in their own bedrooms watching Tv.”
Want to create your own media room in
a not-so-big house? Here’s a step-by-step plan
to get started.
Choose the room
Because you’ll probably want to cut the
lights and blast the sound, an enclosed space
is ideal, says michelle meredith, Costco
member and principal of michelle meredith
& Associates, a design firm in Dallas. “A
media room should have a theater-like envi-
ronment. You want to be able to shut out the
world and black out the room with shades
or blackout drapes.”
A spare bedroom, if large enough, can be
a good media room, as can a finished base-
ment or room over the garage. You could also
simply give the family room—where every-
one hangs out anyway—a multipurpose rede-
sign so it can quickly convert into media
central on movie nights.
Start with the TV
A good media room starts with a good
television. salyer’s clients often gravitate
toward a 55-inch flat screen—big enough to
have a theater feel, but not overwhelming in a
smaller room. A pull-down screen and projector is another option. “You want a screen
that has a presence in the room and makes the
movie look good,” salyer says.
media rooms in the past had racks and
glass-fronted cabinets to store messy electronic
equipment, but now you can hide it all in a
closet or cabinet. “When planning the layout of
the room, make it your goal to hide everything
but keep it accessible and close,” says Brittany
Taylor, a Costco member and a design associate at michelle meredith & Associates.
Add comfy furniture
salyer swears by l-shaped sectionals,
which seem to dominate a room but actually provide more seating for the square
footage. “sectionals give you lots of good
lounging space. You can pile your whole
family and the dogs on, and you don’t
need as many side pieces. Contrary to
what people think, sectionals give you
more seating for the space,” she says.
Toss colorful beanbags on the floor for
the kids, meredith says, and throw them in
the closet between showings.
Create a snack station
“one of my favorite media room pieces is
a long, thin console table behind the sofa. You
can use as a buffet-style snack tray because it
doesn’t take up a lot of room, and everyone
can reach their drinks,” salyer says.
if the table is counter height and you have
the space, add a couple of bar stools as well.
“This is the perfect setup for kids, so they
don’t get food on the furniture but can stay in
the room and watch the movie,” salyer says.
Splash on some style
Add flair to functional equipment and
furniture with colorful accent pillows and
throw blankets, meredith says: “You can
change these out seasonally to kick up the
space several times a year.”
Hang sconces on the walls for ambient
lighting. “You want to be able to see, but to cut
everything off when the movie starts,”
if your budget isn’t big enough to do everything at once, start with the television and
work your way through the plans, salyer says:
“skip the movie theater for a year and you’ll
save a bundle. A media room is a great investment for your home, family and lifestyle.” C
Gretchen Roberts, a wine, food, home and
garden writer, lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Costco Connection
Members can find all the essential components to set up a media room at Costco
warehouses and Costco.com, from flat-screen TVs to sectionals to snacks.