Small Space Home Theater: Get the Look

Shopping Guide

Last year's Small Cool winner Chris Nguyen has a smart home theater with good ideas for fitting a big screen into a tiny apartment. Using his ninja-like space planning skills, Chris combined a home office, projector screen, living area, and bedroom all in one space. His tech and furniture resource list is a helpful guide if you're looking for ways to slim down and go wireless.

Home Theater System

5093ed2ed9127e2f2e000425. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop
Chris' small, portable digital projector is the Olympus VP-1 Data Projector, a discontinued model from what we can tell. A new one costs around $2,000, but you can find them used on Amazon or click here for more projector recommendations.

5093ed30d9127e2f2e000426. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop IKEA
Rather than buy an expensive projector screen, Chris used IKEA's Tupplur Roller Blind, which ranges from $15 to $55 depending on the size. It's a blackout blind with a special coating to block light, so it works well as a projector screen.

Sound System

5093ed2fdbd0cb034f00047e. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Sony
Chris says, "I use a HWS-BTA2W bluetooth receiver to stream audio from my MacBook Pro and my iPhone... This works especially well for the projector setup as the video source usually needs to be across the room next to the projector itself." Available through Sony, it costs around $80.

5093ed30dbd0cb034f00047f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop
The speakers are Polk's RM30 Satellite Speakers, available from Amazon for $275 - $300. They sit on either side of the credenza.

5093ed31d9127e2f2e000427. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop ebay
On top of the cabinet is a vintage Kenwood KA-5700 Receiver. You can sometimes find them on ebay or craigslist. For more vintage (or vintage-style) audio, check out these shops on Marketplace.

Office System

5093ed32dbd0cb034200045b. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Apple
Chris' Wi-Fi network is hooked up via the Airport Extreme ($180), a wireless base system that, according to Apple, works for "Mac computers, PCs, and Wi-Fi devices such as iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV."

5093ed33d9127e2f2e000428. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Apple Store
Laptop computers are great for small homes, since they allow you to work anywhere and they take up less space than a desktop model. Chris has a Macbook Pro, which goes for $1,200 to $2,300 depending on the specs. You can often find good deals on refurbished versions through the Apple Outlet store online.


5093ed33dbd0cb033a00048a. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Design Within Reach
Chris' chairs are the Eames Molded Plywood LCW Lounge Chairs, available for $680 - $1,300 (depending on the finish) at Design Within Reach. These are modern classics, and they're more comfortable than they look. It's all about the shape.

5093ed34d9127e2f10000407. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop West Elm
The Jay Desk (currently on sale for $170) is designed for small spaces. The roll-out extension can be tucked away at the end of the day, and you can add a storage hutch on top for an extra $80.

5093ed35dbd0cb0335000451. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Craigslist
Chris' media center looks like a vintage metal office credenza. You can find them on craigslist and in thrift stores (we once found a $10 one) and they're great storage pieces—durable, clean-lined...the only drawback is that the steel makes them HEAVY.

5093ed35d9127e2f1c000432. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop YLighting
There are a bunch of modern floor lamps on the market that are similar to the one Chris owns. YLighting has a large selection of higher end models (the one shown left is Jonathan Adler's $413 Ventana Tripod Lamp). Stores like CB2 and Target also make inexpensive tripod lamps if you're on a tight budget.

5093ed36dbd0cb03580004cb. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Unica Home
The design above the desk is Alexander Girard's classic Sun motif. Unica Home sells a sun print on plywood for $150. If you'd rather choose another Girard motif, they have 10 different designs.

To see the complete tech tour of Chris' home, click here. Make sure to check out his full resource list, where he mentions vintage Texas shops and goes into further detail about how he set up his wireless systems.

Photo: Chris Nguyen