Saturday, October 2, 2010

How I stuffed up my home theatre room, and how to avoid my mistakes

No posts for a week - unbelievable, hey? The problem is, getting the keys to your new house is the end of one stage and the beginning of a whole lot more construction - couldn't sleep this morning so I've got a few minutes to blog. Been incredibly busy moving, cleaning, contacting trades etc.

Anyway, the problem all started last week when our carpet installation was delayed. Thought it might be a good idea to quickly pick a colour to paint my home theatre room - the problem word here is quickly. Don't do anything quickly as you'll regret it - unfortunately this tends to be my main problem, impatience and stubborness. Much love to Tina for putting up with me over the last few days while I've been moaning about "my" room.

Anyway here's a quick guide on how I ruined my home theatre. Starting with last weekend, laying down painter's tape and drop sheets to protect the trims and windows. So far so good. Also removed the batten light covers and taped up the heating duct vents. Sugar soap all walls and ceilings. Allow 2-3 hours for prep work and 24 hours drying.

Next, couldn't help myself - quickly plugged in the projector and did a preview of Top Gear testing a very practical family car - the Audi R8. I'm wondering/hoping this car will depreciate enough to make it a good company car in 3-4 years time - yep, definitely hoping! I had calculated that at a throw distance of 5m the image should project onto this wall with 40cm to spare on either side but my calculations were off a little - this image is definitely too small :) Good excuse for a new HD widescreen DLP projector with scope lens, as this old Benq is 5 years old and definitely not up to current specs. For anyone who wants to become a home theatre tragic (that's all you guys out there) I recommend for too much information.

Sample pot. This is Dulux Musing, meant to be a very subtle light grey. Doesn't look bad in this photo but lighing affects everything. And here comes mistake number one... only bought one sample pot and decided too quickly. Buy maybe 3 sample pots, paint them all on the same wall, and decide over about 3 days in different lighting before buying a big pot of paint.

My intention was to paint the entire HT a neutral grey, and use the wall as a projection screen. In our last house I had a 4:3 Brightview motorised screen, but have always believed a good painted wall in the right colour, in the right environment (properly prepared dedicated HT room) is more than sufficient for the average HT - for more nerd detail on neutral grey specs, click on this link.

Anyway, stupid me bought a 10L pot of paint and went blindly ahead to cut in all the corners. Oh BTW painting is not as easy as you think - it's hard on the muscles (especially ceilings) and getting a good finish is difficult. Pay a pro to do it and avoid killing yourself is a good alternative to DIY.

And then ended up with this.

A nice lavender home theatre. Great for your elderly great-aunt in the country in her "good" room, not so good for Tim's modern home theatre.

Plans for today? Go buy some sample pots, paint over a wall, and start all over again. I'll keep the ceiling as Musing as it looks OK, and painting ceilings is a real b!tch to do. I was thinking of leaving this colour on for a few months and then redoing it, but I'm definitely not happy with with the colour and it's easier to repaint now with no furniture in, than later on.

And of course, we had carpets put in yesterday in this room so now I have to buy heaps of drop sheets to protect our lovely new carpet. More pics later, if I'm not busy overpainting my lilac walls.

Finally, I think sometime during the week the blog ticked over 100,000 hits - never thought it'd get so much attention! Thanks to all the readers who have followed our blog, and still continue to suffer plenty of self-obsessed ranting and raving about stupid details. Though of course - if you've subscribed to this blog, you're probably building a house too, and are probably as detail-obsessed as we are!



  1. Hi Tim

    Very well written!!!

    Well --- home theatre rooms --- we're not sure about a colour as well, at the moment we're getting it painted a dark colour (ceiling as well).

    I can tell you a few stories about mucking up paint colours and our DIY attempts at painting. Lets just say Tom's been banned from painting for life!!!!

    Good luck with your next attempt at sorting it all out!

  2. You poor bloke Tim, I can't think of a worse colour (aside from Pink). I'm getting my HT Room painted as part of the house construction, paid a lot more doing it this way of course, but I know what a pain painting is, and I just wanted it done before carpet went in. I have chosen Dulux Peppercorn Rent straight off the Colour Chart which is a grey brown, quite dark. I did a fair bit of reading online regarding HT colours but in the end I think you could spend an eternity on the aspects of a HT room only to end up dissappointed. I'm going with a large screen TV as opposed to a projector and my main concern will be how the room 'sounds' as opposed to how movies look in it, I am much more interested in the ultimate HI-FI experience as opposed to the ultimate HT experience. Good luck with your next colour choice

  3. Fortunately choosing the wrong colour for a painted wall is relatively easy to fix, so now it's solved I'm much happier!

    Glenn: a room setup for sound quality rather than HT sounds like heaven - wish I could have both, but home theatre and gaming takes priority for me!


  4. Guys, your blog is great! Very well written, love your honesty and sense of humour! You've given us a chuckle with this post :)



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