The Ultimate Guide to Home Cinema Seating

An in-depth article covering Home Cinema Seating

In this article we aim to cover every aspect of home cinema seating. We go in to detail on how to position the seating in the room and then move on to actual seat selection and designs. We even have a load of examples to get the imagination flowing!

What is the correct distance from the screen for home cinema seating?

When designing a home cinema room the distance from the screen to the seating is crucial to delivering a great user experience. There are a number of variables to take in to account – room size, screen size and the particular clients needs. The human eye sees detail in a 30 degree arc beyond that we just see colour definition, therefore if the seating is too close to the screen viewing films will be tiring (as the head moves from side to side to pick up detail) but too far way (and much above 30 degrees) the screen will appear small.

  • Room Size – Obviously room size features in the design. A small room with a large screen may mean one large row of seating is preferable to two or more rows. Our Dubai home cinema is installed in a fairly narrow room so has two rows of four seats whereas our Derby Home Cinema is a wide but narrow room so has one long row wrapped around the room. Both cinema rooms are very different but fit well in to the space and are great to use.
  • Screen size – The larger the screen size the further away the client should sit although with 4K projectors the distance doesn’t have to be as far back as with previous HD projectors (4K has a higher resolution so has more detail, enabling you to sit closer without suffering any blocky visuals).  The table below is a good guide based on our experience and equates roughly to watching a film in a commercial cinema from the middle seats:
    • 75″ screen first row at around 3m
    • 100″ screen first row at around 3.8m
    • 150″ screen first row at about 5.7m

Updated to reflect 4K resolutions!The above advise on distances was 100% correct when we wrote it but things have moved on with the advent of 4k resolutions! With previous 1080p projectors you had to be careful about sitting too close to the screen – due to fatigue and being able to see the pixels. 4K resolutions have 4 times amount of pixels in a given space than 1080p – allowing clients to get much closer to the screen without seeing unwanted effects. We used to work on angles so would work on a viewing angle of approximately 31 degrees – happily with 4K home cinema systems we can now bring that much closer to 45 degrees – so the front row can be as close as the width of the screen away – a 3m wide projector screen can have seats as close as 3m away from the screen! This is the absolute closest we feel comfortable going and we normally work as follows:
For a 3m wide projector screen:

  • Minimum Distance to screen 1:1 ratio – 3m
  • Maximum Distance to screen 1:1.7 ratio – 5.2m
  • Ideally all the cinema goers would be seated between 3m and 5.2m from the screen with the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. If we are only installing one row of seating then this gives us lots of flexibility to allow for room characteristics and client needs (we take in to account age of the clients and whether they wear glasses amongst other things!). If installing two rows of seating then we can generally accommodate both rows within those measurements. If we need to design a cinema with 3 rows then generally the screen will be bigger which us gives us more range to work with.
    What about the Second Row of Cinema Seating?
    The second row of seating is much easier to work out than the first – a good rule of thumb is to leave 20″ or 50cm between rows. This gives enough space for a comfortable walk way between the rows although the cinema seating needs to be taken in to account. Reclining chairs with foot rests must be accommodated although the foot rest can occupy the space between rows when extended.

    What are the different types of Cinema Seating Available?

    There are loads of options when it comes to home cinema seating and the only “rule” is that it should be comfortable for you and your family. The section below this should help with working through the selection process but for now lets look at the options!

    • Individual Home Cinema Seats – as good as it gets! Individual chairs finished in the customers choice of fabric. Electrically operated and custom designed specifically to match your cinema room and family requirements.
    • Individual Home Cinema Seats
      Individual Home Cinema Seats
    • Home Cinema Sofas / Love Seats – What better way to watch a film than cuddled up with your significant other? This is a variation of the above single seat – made to order specifically for your project and to your requirements. They work equally well for one person!
    • Home Cinema Sofa
      Home Cinema Sofa
    • The Chaise Longue / Day Bed – Perfect for less formal cinema rooms and for those families with younger children. They allow kids to sleep and fidget more than a formal cinema chair. A very comfortable way to pass a few hours on a film marathon!
    • Chaise Longue / Day Beds
      Chaise Longue / Day Beds
    • The Modular Sofa – A modular sofa from one of the big sofa manufacturers can work perfectly in a cinema room without costing a fortune. In new build rooms it is even possible to match the width of the room to the sofa – giving the custom built look with no extra costs!
    • Modular Sofas
      Modular Sofas
    • The bean bag – Not forgetting our secret weapon! The humble bean bag makes its way in to most of our family orientated cinema rooms as they provide great occasional seating and can also add a splash of colour!

    How to choose a specific type of Home Cinema Seating

    Home Cinema Seating is one of the most important elements to a successful Home Cinema Installation – clients can spend a lot of time spent in one position watching a film or a box set and they must be comfortable. If the seating choice is wrong then the home cinema will not be a success!
    We have a number of factors we take in to account:

    • What is the make up of the family and age of any children? This may seem a really strange question to be top of the list but we specify different seats for different ages of children. If a home cinema room is mainly going to host adults and older children then more formal cinema seating will work just fine but if children are younger then day bed type seating allows younger children to lie down (maybe even fall asleep if you are very lucky!). Our standard approach for families with smaller children is day bed type seating for the front row and more formal seating behind – providing the best of both worlds. The relaxed nature of the day bed front row also allows viewers from the second row to look over the top without a particularly large step up – something which can be necessary if all seating is the same.
    • Would you like all individual seats or shall we incorporate some sofas too? One of the main benefits of a home cinema room is enjoying films as a family – it may therefore be preferable to have the main seating area as a sofa arrangement rather than individual chairs. Even for our more formal options we can specify the seating without arms to allow a hybrid of formal seating and sofa.
    • Which kind of fabrics? Traditionally home cinema seating is leather but really this is only due to the fact it is perceived to be luxurious and hard wearing. In our more bespoke home cinema rooms it can be comfier, warmer and more personal to cover the seating in fabric. As part of the full room design we can ensure fabrics complement the room aesthetic and different rows can have different types, finishes and colours. There is also a slight acoustic benefit to fabric chairs as opposed to leather.
    • Electric or Manual Recliners? Most of our home cinema seating comes with moving back rests and foot rests – we can even program the seating to move to your exact seating position (and perfect recline!) when a film starts – in conjunction with dimming the lights!
    • Cup holders, chillers, chargers and mini fridges! Home Cinema seating is very much at the luxury end of the market, cup holders seemed extravagant a few years ago but can now be chilled too. Wireless charging stations can be built in to the armrests allowing clients to charge their phones but also ensure the iPad which provides main room control is also charged. We can even incorporate transducers in to the seating – allowing you to actually feel  the bass in the room!

    The bespoke nature of our home cinema seating means almost any request can be accommodated – from materials and stitching through to electronics integration and size.

    What cinema seating brands do you offer?

    The below list is no means exhaustive, we select cinema seats from a large array of manufacturers as each project is bespoke. If a sofa from one of the large sofa manufacturers fits the scheme then we are happy to use those too.

    What options do I have for Seating styles?

    Now we have the technical aspects out of the way we can look at home cinema seating options. Click on any of the images to go to the fuller case study!

    • Basement Home Cinema – Berkshire

      Cineak Chaise Longue and Chairs
      Cineak Chaise Longue and Chairs

      We often use this seating design as it is very flexible – the chaise longues allow a fully relaxed experience and the chairs can offer upright seating or the foot stool can be pushed closer to the chair to create more day beds!

    • Home Cinema Room – Greater Manchester

      Home Cinema Room - Greater Manchester
      Home Cinema Room – Greater Manchester

      Our Cinema designs dont have to utilise mega expensive bespoke cinema seating – sometimes an off the shelf sofa from one of the big manufacturers fits the bill!

    • Home Cinema Room – Midlands, UK

      Eight Cinema Seats Installed in a Cinema Room
      Eight Cinema Seats Installed in a Cinema Room

      A proper cinema deserves proper chairs and these are beautiful! Custom created to the clients exact requirements, they fit the room perfectly and offer complete custom with electric adjustment!

    • Luxury Home Cinema – Abuja, Nigeria

      Luxury Cinema Seating for a Cinema Room
      Luxury Cinema Seating for a Cinema Room

      For clients who demand the best then installing two styles of seating makes total sense! A “formal” row at the rear and then an informal row for relaxed movie marathons! The front row is also perfect for younger viewers!

    • Family Movie Room, Dubai

      Less formal cinema seating
      Less formal cinema seating

      This is one of our favourite cinema rooms! A BB Italia Tufty Time sofa can be the perfect seating solution for a room like this! Comfy and informal – what lucky children!

    • Kensington Basement Home Cinema

      Kensington Mews Basement Home Cinema Installation
      Kensington Mews Basement Home Cinema Installation

      This basement home cinema shares a similar approach to the first case study on this page. The foot stools add huge amounts of flexibility – pushed towards the cinema and the clients can lounge on a day bed, pushed away and the foot stools can act as tables with trays of drinks and snacks. As is tradition we added a bean bag in the same fabric as the sofa to allow occasionally seating for younger viewers!

    • Home Cinema Room Derby

      Home Cinema Room Derby
      Home Cinema Room Derby

      Our clients absolutely love this room, it is easily the most shared on our social media channels too. The wrap around sofa creates a very social space and the huge screen and sound system ensure a fantastic experience no matter the viewing position in the room!

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