Many people do not realise the important role seating choice and placement plays in producing a top quality home theatre experience.

All too often people spend a lot of money on top of the range equipment but neglect the basics of home theatre design only to find that the results are disappointing.

Even the performance of the optimal choice of expensive speaker systems can be seriously hampered by acoustic issues caused by the shape and materials used in your theatre room.

If you think home theatre seating is not an important part of the home theatre design equation you need to read on.


Essentially, there are three aspects to home cinema seating design to consider:

  • Visual comfort—the distance from the screen that allows you to see images in optimal clarity without eye strain. This depends in part on your screen size and image definition but also on the type of media you tend to view most.
  • Aural comfort—This is perhaps the least understood aspect of seating choice but critical to a satisfactory home theatre experience.
  • Physical comfort—are the chairs comfortable to sit in? Are they adjustable? Can you reach the theatre controls easily?

Tying these three elements together will have a major impact on viewer pleasure, the acoustic properties of the room and proper functioning of the speaker system.

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Seating can affect sound quality

Size. Choose chairs that are an appropriate size for the room, chairs that are too large for the room will absorb too much sound and look out of place.

Design. Fabric choice plays a key role in sound quality. Position. Consider the effect of a straight line of seats compared with a curved or angled row.



Too many absorbent surfaces will deaden the sound and reduce the feeling of spaciousness. Too much hard reflection can reduce the clarity through echo clouding the sound.

Remember, the sound waves produced by your audio-visual system and speakers have only just begun their journey to your ears.

It might help you to imagine sound waves acting a little bit like sea waves crashing about your room, bouncing off hard walls, being deflected away from angled walls, losing energy in soft cushioning surfaces then you will begin to understand the effect your seating can have on the sound waves in your home cinema.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do the acoustical analysis yourself to get the best results from your home theatre seating design.

Jess Bonsignore (owner and technician of Collective Audiovisual Solutions) offers his training and experience as an electrical engineer and qualified sound and recording engineer to help you understand the complexities of home cinema design.

His advice and recommendations will give you the confidence to make the right decisions about your home theatre seating.

Visit Collective Audiovisual Solutions and take your seat on a home theatre experience beyond your wildest imaginings.