I Turned My Bedroom into the Ultimate Home Theater — Here’s How You Can, Too

updated Mar 3, 2021
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Before the world came to a sudden halt last March, one of my favorite pastimes was going to the movies. Like many, I use a trip to the movie theater not just for entertainment but also as a means of escape. Once I realized things wouldn’t be going back to “normal” for a bit, I began to wonder if there was a way I could somehow recreate the cinema experience at home as a way to get away from the chaotic state of the world. After a little bit of research, I discovered that doing so was surprisingly easy, and everything I needed was a click away on Amazon.

Since my living room was now doubling as my work-from-home office, I turned to the one place of zen I already had: my bedroom. Now, this is the part where you yell, “But bedrooms are for sleeping and should be screen-free!” Hear me out for a second: While my home cinema setup is quite handy, it’s more of an occasional experience, not an everyday thing. After all, everything’s good in moderation, no? Read on to learn how I created my own DIY bedroom theater and shop the products that helped me bring the magic of the movie-going experience home.

Set Up a Projector Screen (or Prep a Bare Wall)

Credit: Sarah Vazquez

The first thing to do is figure out where you’re going to project the picture. To make the experience feel as authentic as possible, I wanted a projection screen, so I mounted an 80-inch screen from my ceiling with suspension U-hooks that could safely support its weight. Aside from creating the ultimate cinematic feel, I opted for this retractable screen for two reasons: Its design meant it would virtually disappear when not in use, and, unlike a TV, I couldn’t just flip it on without setting things up — meaning no spur-of-the-moment binge-watching. If you’re not keen on drilling holes into your ceiling (or you’re a renter looking to keep your security deposit), you can also pick up a projection screen with a stand or project the picture onto a bare wall.

Mount Your Projector

Credit: Sarah Vazquez

The next step is to pick out a projector and find the perfect place for it. I tested a couple of options and found the WiMiUs projector to be my favorite thanks to its high-quality picture, hi-fi stereo-sound speaker, and superior keystone correction with a zoom function; that last part means that I don’t have to place my projector dead center to centralize the picture nor do I have to physically move it to adjust the size of the picture. Next comes the placement, which can range from mounting it to the ceiling with a specialized bracket to placing it on a shelf. I chose the latter and went with a simple metal shelf that seamlessly blended in with the decor of my room. Then I ran the power cable behind a picture, covered said wire with a cable sleeve, and was ready to kick back and press play. Well, almost.

Connect Your Streaming Device

Credit: Sarah Vazquez

Finally, the pièce de résistance: Connecting your streaming device. Whether you use an Amazon TV Fire Stick, a Google Chromecast, or your trusty Roku, these handy little streaming sticks are the secret to the ultimate home theater setup. When shopping for a projector, you’ll find that most are equipped with an HDMI port, which is where you’ll connect your device. All that’s left to do is turn on the projector, sign in to your favorite apps, and enjoy!

Personally, I always flock to the theater to see the latest Pixar release, and the thought of missing their latest film, “Soul,” left me feeling blue. But thanks to this theater setup (and to the fact that many studios are releasing their films directly on streaming services like Disney+ and HBOMax these days), I was still able to grab some popcorn and check it out, albeit on a slightly smaller screen. This new normal might look different, but with a couple of simple, quick fixes, there’s still plenty of fun to be had. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.