My Sony VPL-HS51A Home theater
by Greg Dasenbrock

Since moving into my current house 14+ years ago, there has been this room that I always thought would make a good family theater... The room has been a sitting room, a bedroom, a junk collection room, etc. Everything else but what I had envisioned it could be. The room itself is roughly 12'x20' in size.

The picture above shows that I've done some work. Removed pictures, furniture and the carpet has been pulled up. I've decided to totally redo the woodwork, so all the trim has been removed. I added a center ceiling medallion to simulate a raised ceiling. My solution was to use heavy embossed wallpaper (paint able) and trim it out with mouldings.

I had already decided on the room colors.

Ceiling = dark blue

Walls = dark purple with dark purple curtain panels.

Carpet = burgundy with speckles of blue and purple.

Also, there was the problem of the window on the wall slated to be the screen wall. I stretched a dark fabric with the pattern facing outward over the opening and trimmed the window out in the same mouldings I would be using for the balance of the room. This way, if I ever were to move, the next guy could still use the window. On the walls, I decided to break them up by creating smaller panels mimicking the shape of the ceiling panel, just smaller.


These panels and the ceiling panel were then trimmed in a chair rail profile moulding.


How to light the room…

I strung rope lights around the full perimeter of the ceiling. These were then hidden by building a small light soffit allowing a wash of light onto the ceiling. To illuminate the wall panels I used can lighting to accent these areas. Instead of calling in an electrician to wire up everything, I found some low voltage units at These work exactly like your outdoor landscape lights do. One transformer, seven lights later I'm in business.

All lights are on dimmers, I usually leave the perimeter lighting on when watching. The accent lights have three settings; these are off normally for movie viewing. But they will be great at showing off the movie props and paraphernalia I plan on displaying in these panels. Next, I hung the backdrop curtain across the screen wall. This was in burgundy velvet; color matches the carpet color. Then I hung the screen. The screen used is from Da-Lite and is a 16:9, 92" diag. The seats were then installed and the balances of the curtains are now hung. The picture below is an "in process" picture.

Since the seating has higher backs than I had originally planned, I will probably construct a "deck" for the back row, so those people can see the screen a bit easier. All six seats are leather recliners in a taupe color. I hung a vertical blind over the sliding glass door in the same color and the slats also have a leather like faux finish... The projector was hung just behind the ceiling panel, roughly 13.7ft… using the calculator on this website really helped plan this out! The speakers were all installed. The receiver I'm using is a 7.1 system, so I installed 2 floor standing fronts, center, subwoofer, 2 presence speakers as well as 2 rear surround.

Another "in process" picture…

I have yet to paint the ceiling panel. This will be a gold color matching the gold colored faux crackle paper I used on the wall panels. The curtains will be finished off in gold braid tie backs etc… I did add a HD cable box as well; the Olympics are great on the screen!

Here are the equipment particulars:


Sony VPL-HS51A = $2500

Mount = $180


Da-Lite Cinema Contour = $850


Yamaha HT-5990 = $900

(I sold a Yamaha Roadstar to pay for the A/V equipment, brand loyalty, right?)


Klipsch Synergy Series = $2500+

Cables and such = $500

Other expenditures:

Seating = $1800

Carpet = $500

Woodwork = $600

Curtains = $400

Audio cabinet = $300

I did manage to go over my 10K budget, even with the sale of my motorcycle defraying most of that. I'm not done buying either… Wish list items include a new DVD player, 2 front presence speakers, and of course… a popcorn machine! I have a fuller story of this project here: