Worth the Price of Admission: How Much Does a Home Theater Cost?
If you're a die-hard movie buff, building a home theater can help you take your hobby to the next level. However, creating your dream home movie theater doesn't come cheap, and knowing how much a typical home theater costs can help you decide if it's a realistic project for your budget.
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Whether you want a modest setup for your immediate family or a lavish entertainment room with tiered seating and surround sound, this guide can help you estimate your home theater installation costs.
How Much Does Home Theater Installation Cost on Average?
According to Fixr, it usually costs between $20,000 and $70,000 (CAD 27,500 and CAD 96,000) to convert a basement into a home theater. You could pay as little as $10,000 (CAD 13,700) for a basic home theater installation with minimal add-ons. Meanwhile, a premium setup with features, such as lighting, tiered seats and soundproofing, could set you back as much as $90,000 (CAD 124,000). Building a home addition to accommodate your home movie theater will make the costs significantly higher.
How Much Do Home Installers Charge?
The labor costs associated with installing a home theater depend on which features you want and the room size. Therefore, installers base their fees on your home theater specifications.
Thumbtack provides a hypothetical setup to demonstrate installation costs. This theoretical theater includes a projector screen, projector, wiring for audio, speakers with volume controls and some smart home systems. The total comes to about $13,000 (CAD 18,000), including labor costs.
Generally, you should expect to pay a professional contractor between $150 and $200 (CAD 210 and CAD 275) per hour for home theater installation. Hiring an architect to design changes to your home costs between $150 and $400 (CAD 210 and CAD 550) per hour.
How Much Do Add-ons for Home Theaters Cost?
How much your home theater costs also depends on whether you want any additional features and décor. Installing features like lighting and surround sound can make your home theater room feel more authentic, but they can significantly impact your budget.
With projectors, you get what you pay for. So, if you’re looking for superior picture quality, this isn't the place to skimp. According to a roundup of this year’s best home theater projectors by CNET, you can get a good model for anywhere between $250 and $4,000 (CAD 340 and CAD 5,500). The top-rated model costs about $3,000 (CAD 4,100).
Alternatively, you could install a large TV if you don't mind a smaller image. Expect to pay between $1,500 and $9,000 (CAD 2,100 and CAD 12,400) for a large-screen HDTV, then another $70 to $300 (CAD 100 to CAD 415) to mount it on the wall.
There are several suitable options for home movie theater lighting. LED strip lighting is a common choice for home theaters because it allows you to illuminate the steps and seating areas without interfering with your view of the screen. Expect to pay between $1 and $3 (CAD 1 and CAD 4) per linear foot for home theater LED strip lighting.
Wall sconces that project the light upward can also be a good choice for lighting key features. These fixtures usually cost between $50 and $200 (CAD 70 and CAD 210) per unit.
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Surround sound systems have several speakers and one or more subwoofers to create movie theater-style audio. A 5.1 system is sufficient for most home theater setups and includes five speakers and a single subwoofer. Expect to pay $700 (CAD 1,000) for a basic system and $1,500 (CAD 1,500) for the best sound, according to Angi.
Installing individual home theater seats costs between $400 and $3,000 per chair or between $5,000 and $10,000 per row, based on data from Fixr. Reclining seats cost more than non-reclining models.
Some homeowners prefer to soundproof their home theater to prevent noise from disturbing the film or annoying their family members and neighbors. Prices vary depending on the size and location of your home theater room, but you should expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000.
Installing acoustic panels can also improve the sound quality inside your home theater by controlling echoes. Acoustic paneling is usually more expensive than basic soundproofing and can cost up to $8,000.
As long as you’re tricking out your home theater, you might want to add some carpeting to the room. The Home Depot says carpet installation costs $1 to $4 (CAD 1 to CAD 5) per square foot.
All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.