Due to current world events, movie lovers have been unable to enjoy the big screen experience that they so love. Nothing beats watching an epic romance or thrilling action film on a giant screen with the finest audio system. Nothing except, perhaps, your home theater.
With home theater equipment continually evolving to offer a better performance, and many television shows now possessing production values comparable to theatrical releases, film aficionados are seeking to recreate that cinema-style experience in the comfort of their own homes.
Those with the space and budget to do so can create truly breathtaking home theaters, sometimes mimicking actual cinemas, complete with concession stands, popcorn makers, marquees, and more. Others may go with even more fantastic designs, watching their favourite films in the comfort of the Batcave, or sitting in the captain’s chair of the USS Enterprise. The only real limits are space, imagination, and budget. Not everyone wants to go with either the classic cinema or the more outrageous creations, however, and seek instead to create a viewing or entertainment room with a more contemporary design.
What is “Contemporary Design?”
What exactly is meant when someone refers to contemporary design?
According to the dictionary, contemporary can be defined as “belonging to or occurring in the present.” More specifically, it means, “following modern ideas in style or design.” This is where it gets a bit confusing because while the definition mentions modern design ideas, actual modern design refers to the decor of the modernist movement that originated toward the end of the 1800s. Today, modern design can refer to mid-century modern (1950s and 60s) or postmodernism (1970s and 80s), while contemporary design is an ever-morphing style that is constantly evolving to reflect the world today. In that regard, contemporary design will never go out of style.
Currently, contemporary design leans into curved lines and minimalism, with neutral colours. A contemporary design for your home theater is one that will place its emphasis on functionality more than design.
Elements of Contemporary Design
When creating a home theater with contemporary design, there are a number of elements that you can expect to use:
A key element of contemporary design, colours will typically be neutral: shades of brown, black, grey, cream, or pure white. You may choose to stick with a mix of neutrals, or you might choose to offset them with an accent colour on one wall, or on accessories. Accent colour should be used sparingly, as the idea is to spice things up by adding a splash of colour, not to overwhelm the basic look. If you are a darkroom cinephile, you will probably want to stick with blacks and greys, with minimal colour.
Brighter colours aren’t your only option for accents. Stainless steel, chrome, and nickel are popular among contemporary designers, so using them as an accent is another option available to you.
Use of neutral colours needn’t be boring. Other elements of your theater can add visual stimulation, but remember that your focus is on function, and that the true focus of your home theater will be the movie or TV show that you are watching.
Lines, Curves, and Use of Space
Contemporary design makes use of strong visible lines, whether they are straight or curved, horizontal or vertical. Bare spaces on walls, or which lie between other elements are just as important as areas that are filled in. Typically, the overall look pays homage to the notion that less is more.
Structural elements may become part of the design. For example, ductwork, plumbing, and more can be used as accents when painted with your contrasting colour. If you prefer not to call attention to them, you may paint them to blend in with the walls.
Although contemporary design tends to make use of smooth bare floors, you may prefer to use carpet, particularly if your home theater is in your basement. This will aid in sound control and keeping your feet warmer. Plain carpets in neutral colours are suitable, but so are rugs with geometric patterns.
Another key element of contemporary design, lighting is both functional and an excellent design element when used with colour or metallic elements. Effective use of lighting shows off your room’s design and can provide interesting lines. If you are making use of paintings or prints, spotlights will help guide the viewer’s eyes to your chosen artwork. Avoid prints that are excessively colourful or otherwise too “busy” as they can confuse what should be a plain space.
Light does much more than simply illuminate a space. Used effectively, it creates atmosphere and affects the viewer’s perception of space.
Furniture in contemporary design should be simple: smooth and clean in the same neutral colours found throughout your design. The choice of materials can add some needed texture. Being able to design your own home theater seating allows you to choose the perfect complement for the rest of the room. Your custom seating is a perfect example of form and function coming together and can easily become a focal point for the entire room.
Other Design Elements
Some other elements that work well in contemporary design include stone and glass, whether opaque or clear. If your room has windows, choosing heavily textured fabrics can serve to soften up what might otherwise be a harsh design. The same goes for rugs if you have opted for bare floors.
If your theater receives enough light to include plants, aim to have ones that are large and bold with interesting leaves. These should be placed in simple containers. You may choose to cover the soil with bark chips or rocks.
Contemporary design tends to be simple but bold. It is very much about what is happening right now, but also with a certain timelessness. Your contemporary design home theater is sure to be an attractive, comfortable room that never detracts from your viewing pleasure.