How to set up the Ultimate Home Theater

Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone had an impressive home theater system? With all of the equipment, technical knowledge and money needed to set one up, many are too intimidated and think it’s too expensive to think about setting one up of their own. These step-by-step instructions will help you install a respectable starter home theater that’s financially sensible to turn your extra living space into the ultimate movie night destination.

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Image Credit: via Flickr by gsloan

1. Prepare an Entertainment Room

The first step to setting up any home theater is finding the right room for it. Things like lighting and acoustics will figure heavily into your entertainment experience, so put some thought into these factors before shopping for electronics.

For starters, find a room with as few doors and windows as possible a basement would work wonderfully. This setup will insulate your theater from outside noise, while also keeping your sound system from leaking into other parts of the house. Think about covering up hard floors with rugs or carpeting and other surfaces that can deflect any sound. Also place drapes over any windows, and install dimmer switches to control the level of light in the room.

2. Furnishing Your Home Theater

There’s two schools of thought when it comes to furnishing your home theater, either going the luxury theater route with individualized reclining chairs, while this can get expensive buying one for each family member, and a few more for guests, it will make your theater that much more comfortable and give it a high end, luxury, custom feeling.

The other is what I call the family route, using a couple of couches for seating which is less expensive per seat and is ToshFurnituremore intimate for viewing with your spouse or kids.  If you’re going this route, you’ll likely want this room to be more multifaceted for everyday use. So, if you have the space, go for it and add some side tables, coffee tables, lamps and an entertainment center to hold and organize various media input boxes and your movies in.

If you’re up to it, and want to give your home theater even more of a custom feel with more dimensions to it, you could think about building a simple foot high platform (with a few screws, 2 by 4’s and boards of wood) to elevate the couches in the back and create stadium seating feel. Finish off the platform with red or black carpeting and even some string lights around the edges to give it a theater feel.

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Photo Credit: Flickr by gsloan

3. Choose a Display

You’re making a dedicated home theater, and unless you can splurge on a 70-80 inch HDTV, getting an HD projector is the only sensible way to go. You can get a giant 100+ inch display for relatively low cost, for $800-$1200 you can get a good midrange projector, it’s even possible to even get a 3D projector in that range. When selecting a media input for your screen most any Blu-ray player will suffice, however try and opt for one that can access the internet, so you can download and use apps and receive firmware updates to keep it up to date with new features and fixes.

Now for the actual screen the image is going to projected upon, you could go either 2 ways, a roll up removable screen, or if you have a plain flat wall to project on, you can paint it to your desired size.  Use white tones in very dark rooms and grey/silver tones in rooms with some ambient light and you need special 3D projector paint if you want go to that route. Be sure to add a deep black border around your painted screen to enhance the contrast. If you want to go the extra mile, get some red velvet curtains to hang around the screen to give it a classic Hollywood feel.

4. Customize Your Sound System

Lastly, think about what kind of sound system will fit your entertainment needs. The main factor to remember when shopping for sound equipment is to have at least five speakers and one subwoofer, these can range anywhere from $200 and up. This setup is based on Dolby 5.1 surround sound, which distributes audio outputs evenly throughout your entertainment room to give you the sense that the sound is all around you, making that serial killer in the movie seem like he’s actually creeping up behind you. Make sure to place speakers far enough from the television that they won’t cause interference, or select speakers with magnetic shielding.

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Photo Credit: Flickr by PoshSurfside.com

Once you’ve figured out everything you need for your entertainment center, the only thing left is to hook it all up. As long as you’ve followed these steps to find the right equipment, you’ll have the ultimate home theater installed in no time!

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Check out new exclusive designs from Schonbek at Bellacor

Chandeliers are works of art that can bring a sense of grandeur and beauty to any room. One of the most important factors in choosing a chandelier is quality, which is why we at Bellacor are excited about our new partnership with Schonbek, which will make their collection available to you on the Bellacor website.

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Since its beginning in 1870, Schonbek has specialized in the creation of custom chandeliers and has continued to influence the lighting industry with over 200 patents. Inattentiveness, quality and authenticity are the hallmarks of every chandelier that is designed and created by Schonbek, and Bellacor now makes it easier to access these exceptional fixtures.

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Along with the many brands and styles of light fixtures already featured on the Bellacor website, you can now access the exclusive designs of Schonbek. With the addition of more unique and attractive fixtures, Bellacor has an even stronger lighting section, giving you more to choose from. Although known best for its chandeliers, Schonbek also offers pendant fixtures, wall sconces, lamps and ceiling-mount fixtures. Whatever your taste, you can be sure you’ll find a design that matches your style.Amytis_by_Schonbek_AM5506-22RAY_WBG_Photo¬_Swarovski_Lighting_Ltd

Décor in seconds: Peel and stick decals change the mood of a room in no time

Patience is a virtue, but who hasn’t had a moment when they’ve looked at a room and thought “I want this to change … now!” That impulse can lead to some projects that are better in theory than in practice, and leave you mired in a ton of work. But, next time you feel hurried and harried to makeover a space, consider how decals can change the character of a room – and let you do it over and over again with minimal effort.

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Parents in particular know that kids’ tastes change and evolve, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Decals are ideal for kids’ rooms because they allow you to adapt their décor on a whim. You can choose options that coordinate with your nursery theme, and as your child grows from baby to toddler to a kid with opinions of his own, all you need to do is peel off the old and stick on the new. There are even options to add your kids’ favorite characters to the room, from Dora to The Avengers.

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For parents whose kids have left home for college, there’s always the question of what to do with that now-unoccupied bedroom. If you want to convert it to a tranquil guest space, taking down old décor and adding peel-and-stick decals can change the mood of the space without ever having to open a can of paint.

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If your home has lots of blank wall space and you’re not sure how to enhance it, there are a number of decal options that can be used to add character. There’s plenty of sophisticated imagery, from botanicals to geometrics; you could also use letters for a custom treatment that speaks to your personality. Spell out your family name, your favorite places you’ve traveled or words that you find inspirational and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind décor element.

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Ottomans: So Much More Than a Resting Place

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Like what you see in the picture? Find your ideal room here:

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After a long day, there’s nothing better than sitting back and putting up your feet – and ottomans are the perfect piece of furniture for doing just that. But often, ottomans are an afterthought, seen more as an accessory than a necessity. Designers know, however, that ottomans are a key décor element that can pull a room together and give it some extra character in addition to providing that extra level of relaxation.

So, what can an ottoman do for your room?

  • Add style. Are you classic? Contemporary? Transitional? An ottoman can help to drive the style direction and feel of your room. With the plethora of options available, the ottoman can act as your center piece the brings everything together. As an added bonus, an ottoman can be style and function and may be a place for storage, extra seating, a place to rest your weary feet, or literally just a place to put your favorite magazines and accent decor.
  • Add texture. Ottomans are available in an almost endless variety of fabrics that add visual texture to a room. Leather, for instance, offers a subtle sheen and an organic, smooth texture. Cowhide ottomans cast light differently and have their own uniquely tactile character. Other fabric options like damask, velvet or even rush grass also provide visual interest.
  • Enhance color. Whether you want to harmonize with the existing color scheme of your room or add a burst of color, you can find an ottoman that suits your tastes. Neutral shades are the most adaptable options; earth tones generally pair nicely with other earth tones. For something bolder, an ottoman covered in handwoven kilim squares, which are one-of-a-kind, will offer a rainbow of rich colors, including reds, blues, browns and golden hues.
  • Balance the look of the room. Large rooms can suffer from an excess of negative space, leaving the room feeling “off” or just a little too empty. Ottomans, alone or in pairs or groupings can add that extra element that fills the space to balance the overall appearance of the room.

The Design Doctor

By Corey Damen Jenkins for Bellacor.com

In my humble opinion, Interior Designers are a lot like doctors: people come to them with ailing homes that need to be operated on. Some people get designers involved early, such as during the construction of a new home. But sadly, there are a lot of people out there who would rather wait until their home is in cardiac arrest before calling up a designer.

While DIY continues to be “all the rage” the truth is many folks make pretty expensive mistakes when they try their hand at decorating and design. In the end, what should be an enjoyable experience becomes a source of frustration. So what are five tell-tale “symptoms” that a person should accept a house call from The Design Doctor?

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Photo Credit: Corey Damen Jenkins

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Photo Credit & Interior Design by: Corey Damen Jenkins

Symptom #1: The “Play-Doh” Complex: You have good ideas but you are indecisive, unsure of yourself and become like putty in the hands of a hungry, diabolical salesperson. Folks like this end up with rooms full of hodge-podged messes.

Antidote: Like doctors making house calls, Interior Designers work with you IN YOUR HOME, not from a department store’s sales floor, so they can integrate your personal style with any space or house dilemma you may have. In other words, they care about the outcome and will work with you diligently to give you confidence as you make purchases.

Symptom #2: The “Ostrich” Complex: You are overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the process. You admit the house needs a facelift but you have no idea where to get started! Colors, patterns, scale…just thinking about these things gives you vertigo!  So you’d rather just bury your head in the sand and procrastinate.10

Antidote: A design professional will rescue you from the quick sand, and help you face the music! They have been skillfully trained to tackle all of those overwhelming challenges and can take a lot of stress off your shoulders in the process. They are also aware of cost-effective ways that can even make previous mistakes look like they were planned!

Symptom #3: The “Bottom Line” Complex: Okay, so maybe a lot of us suffer from this complex. You know the house needs to be updated–perhaps in stages over a period of months or even years–but you are naturally concerned about how much it will cost. “Budget” is your middle name…and maybe your last name too.

Antidote: An interior designer can prioritize things that need to be done, create a cost-study for you and generate a time-line. They are also well-versed in what the market has to offer in terms of cost savings–but without compromising style or beauty.

11Symptom #4: The “Doubting Debby” Complex: You are leery of making any changes because you’re afraid that they will turn out looking ugly. And then your friends will laugh at you.

Antidote: An interior designer has many specialties, not the least of which is the art of creating great looking spaces. Besides, no interior designer worth their salt will allow their work to be equated with the word “ugly”! Nothing can be possibly worse for a designer than a poor referral–it can be the kiss of death in business–so you can best believe that he or she is going to take pride in their work. They will be dedicated to making you look good as a client.

Symptom #5: The “Running Hampster” Complex: You. Are. Too. Busy. Your home desperately needs a makeover, but you are entirely too swamped with life/work/kids or lack the energy and interest to do it right now.

Antidote: Many Designers have great project management skills. They are well-equipped to negotiate and coordinate the efforts of vendors and contractors. This means you can delegate as much or as little to them to manage in your behalf and they will keep you updated on the progress.

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Photo Credit: Delight By Design

Let’s admit it and be honest with ourselves. You suffer from at least one of these maladies, right? If so, why not hire a professional that you can delegate this “problem child” to raise? I say use your energy and time for things that you really enjoy. Or if you do happen to love the art of decorating, imagine how much more enjoyable it would be to have a design coach collaborating with you, helping you to avoid making costly mistakes!

So if your house is on life-support, an interior designer may be just the “cure” needed to resuscitate it back to life. Why not call one up for an interview today?

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As Featured in Veranda: Troy Lighting brings grace and elegance with the Delacroix collection

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A lighting industry leader since the 1960s, Troy Lighting’s fixtures demonstrate their passion for quality, design, value and service. A stunning example is their Delacroix collection, which was featured in the July/August issue of Veranda magazine. Delacroix combines an old world style and aesthetic with cutting edge technology and artisan craftsmanship. This transitional piece can work well in any interior, from modern to traditional, and would look great in an entryway, kitchen or dining room – not to mention myriad contract applications.

Made from hand-worked iron, it also features the warmth of aged wood beading and hand-carved accents, as well as distressed gold leaf, giving it a luxurious, yet restrained feel. The French bronze finish confers a sense of classic European elegance. The Delacroix collection includes multiple pendant sizes and shapes to fit a variety of rooms and uses, all while maintaining its distinctive style.

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Troy Lighting’s dedication to unique design, superlative service and exquisite craftsmanship – all at a reasonable price – has allowed them to become an industry leader in its 50-year existence. They create both indoor and outdoor fixtures that are unlike anything else in the marketplace.

Some of Troy Lighting’s outdoor pieces have been spotted in stylish living rooms and dining rooms. Hand-forged iron, hand-applied finishes and hand-blown glass are just a few of their signature materials, which, combined in both new and classic ways, have come to establish the Troy Lighting style and brand. They take great pride in their design, engineering and inspection standards. It’s through this brilliant combination of product and service that they’ve thrived in the marketplace for half a century. Explore their whole collection, including pendants, sconces, indoor and outdoor fixtures and bathroom and kitchen lighting, all available at Bellacor.

The smallest design change that can redefine your bathroom

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Photo Credit: http://www.decorationtrend.com

The old saying goes that “little things mean a lot” – and design-minded individuals know that’s an absolute truth. The smallest details in your home, if ignored, can conspire to undo your home’s style. If you want to really send a message about your interior décor tastes, paying attention to the little things will make all the difference, from the silverware in your kitchen to the lever on your toilet.

Yes, that’s right – the lever on your toilet.

Few things in your home are likely more overlooked, but this tiny piece of hardware can play a big role when you want to revitalize your bathroom. Because it’s something that people generally assume will just “blend into the background,” making the effort to select a version with a sense of style can really have a strong effect.

A truly modern bathroom, for instance, will only look more cohesive and attractive when all the right pieces are in place. Opt for a streamlined, squared-off handle and it will only enhance the contemporary look of the room.

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ToiletTankLever_4ToiletTankLever_2ToiletTankLever_1Finishes matter, too. If your doorknob is brass, your cabinet pulls are oil-rubbed bronze and your toilet lever is silver chrome, it can look like a visual jumble. Pull it all together by using hardware that coordinates and presents a united appearance.

This one quick fix is as easy to DIY as you could hope for. In just minutes, you can switch out your levers and give your bathroom a beautiful new lease on life.

Beautiful bedrooms begin with bedding

Bedding_LushDecorIt’s the very first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see before falling asleep: your bedding. Interior designers know the bedding you choose can instantly set the mood and tone for the bedroom, and it should be one of the first things you consider when decorating.

Linger a little longer by creating a luxe environment with plush pieces that beckon you to hit the snooze button. Start by selecting a stylish comforter in a beautiful color or pattern. Ivory, for example, is a perfect color for bedding because it projects a clean, upscale look that stands the test of time. The Lush Decor Lucia Four Piece Ivory Comforter Queen Set is a good example. The gorgeous comforter provides an air of opulence with rich swags of fabric and unique tufts stitched to resemble white roses. The matching bed skirt and pillow shams tie the luxurious look together.

Remember, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so under that gorgeous comforter you’ll want to invest in some quality linens. Bed linens come in a variety of materials, with cotton being one of the most popular because it is soft, durable and breathes well.

When shopping for sheets, most people look at thread count. Thread count is typically in the 200-range, while more expensive sheets range from 250 to 500. But thread count is only one consideration – when shopping for cotton sheets, look for Pima or Egyptian cotton varieties, which are made from a high-end, silky thread. Keep in mind, something like bamboo or silk sheets may be a better fit for your particular sleep needs.Blanket-Thinsolate

Many people choose to rotate their bedding, not only due to changes in weather, but also to match their personal tastes. Your airy ivory comforter may be ideal for warmer months, but that colored blanket with extra warmth built-in is the perfect swap-out to add a splash of verve during winter . You’re sure to look forward to bedtime each and every day.

Easy ways to add urban-chic style to your home

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Photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/381257924674740115/

Page through any home design magazine these days and you’ll see it: urban-chic style. It can be hard to envision what that moniker means, but here’s the core concept: A mix of old and new décor items and traditional and trendy style touches, all in an airy, not-too-busy space. The great news is that, no matter what kind of “bones” your home has, you can update your interior in easy ways to get this in-demand look.

Here are a few ways to get started:

Add a rustic touch – Not everything in an urban chic environment is glossy and brand-new – one of the keys to the look is adding lived-in elements that provide texture and character. Furniture made from salvaged or re-claimed wood is a great idea. Try a console table that combines a distressed patina with the classical form of turned balusters, combining roughness and elegance in one piece.

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An updated take on the chandelier – Lighting fixtures can do a lot to define a room, or simply support your décor scheme. For an urban-chic look, select a chandelier that bridges the gap between contemporary and classic design. Crystorama’s chandeliers from the Cameron Collection, offered in the English Bronze finishdoes the job perfectly, with swooping lines of metal over a more traditional arrangement of bulbs.

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Eclectic accessories – Urban chic is a look that calls for a lot of your own personality. Express your unique tastes through accessories spread across the home. Don’t be afraid to mix and match eras and genres. Hang a minimalist painting on the wall, but set your grandmother’s heirloom candelabra on the dining table. Roll out an antique Turkish rug and decorate your mantle with contemporary ceramic vases. It’s all about creating an interesting mix that tells a story about you.

EASY-BREEZY DAY TRIP: THE ANTIQUE FAN MUSEUM

If you’re looking for a cool summer destination, why not take a spin to the Antique Fan Museum? Just a half-hour’s drive from Indianapolis, the Antique Fan Museum in Zionsville, Indiana, is a treasure trove featuring more than 450 antique ceiling and desk fans. It’s located at the headquarters of Fanimation, Inc., the premier ceiling and desk fan manufacturer renowned for original and reproduction fans. The museum’s collection represents more than 140 manufacturers dating back to the early 1800s, making it the perfect gathering place for decorative arts enthusiasts, gearheads and fan aficionados of all ages. Plus it’s the only museum of its kind that’s open to the public, which makes it a fun and unique experience.

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The museum was first launched by the Antique Fan Collectors Association (AFCA) in 1997, displaying fans acquired by its members. In 2008, the AFCA moved the museum to its current location at the invitation of Fanimation founder and CEO, Tom Frampton. Since age 17, when he repaired his first vintage fan while employed by an antiques dealer, he’s been an avid fan collector. Through his extensive world travels, Tom has curated a captivating collection of antique fans, which are now on exhibit.

A Revolutionary Collection

At the Antique Fan Museum, you’ll discover every kind of fan imaginable. Some are true curiosities; others are works of incomparable ingenuity; and each is a link with the past. Check out designs ranging from ephemeral hand-held advertising fans featuring brands, movie stars and politicians to über-durable fans for railroad cars and battleships. Explore a variety of indoor ceiling, wall, desk and pedestal fans with hot air engines, fueled by steam, lamp oil and—break out your flask—alcohol. And be on the lookout for surprises, like early coin-operated fans used in hotels and one of the world’s oldest electric desk fans, circa the early 1890s.

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After you’ve toured the museum, linger in the lobby to learn about the history of Fanimation and to see fans inspired by Tom’s personal collection. These exquisite reproduction models unite authentic vintage styling with modern safety and control features to create fans that represent the ultimate in character, comfort and convenience.

Style You Can Bank On: The Fargo

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Back in the 1920s, bankers, brokers and lawyers needed fans that would help them stay cool without blowing away their stacks of cash, stock certificates and legal documents. The solution then was the Savory Airator. A desktop fan featuring horizontal blades in a gilt cage, the Airator created lateral air movement that left their papers unruffled. Re-envisioned by Tom as The Fargo, this safer and more efficient desktop fan offers three speed settings, creating maximum comfort while your communiqués stay put. Available in satin-nickel finish with chrome accents, oil-rubbed bronze with antique brass accents, and burgundy faux leather with brushed brass accents, the Fargo adds the perfect touch to home or office décor.

All That Jazz: The Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald is often quoted as saying “There are no second acts in American lives.” But even The Great Gatsby author would have to agree that Tom and the team at Fanimation transformed the legendary Robbins & Myers Peacock fan, originally designed in 1933, into a thoroughly modern marvel. Uniting speakeasy styling with the latest technology and safety features, The Fitzgerald offers three speed settings, breezy oscillating motion and elegant satin nickel or oil rubbed bronze finishes. Equally at home on the wall and tabletop, The Fitzgerald is a versatile performer and powerful second act.

 Now You See It, Now You Don’t: The Air Shadow

Inspired by one of Tom’s favorite vintage ceiling fans, The Air Shadow is composed of four curved blades, combining a striking silhouette and a 43-inch sweep. When the Air Shadow isn’t in use, the blades retract, presenting a different yet equally compelling profile. A handy remote control operates the fan at three forward and reverse speeds, plus you can dim or brighten the light at the touch of a button.

Take another look and discover fans in both an old yet new light.

The Details

Fanimation Museum Brochure

The Antique Fan Museum
Address: 10983 Bennett Parkway, Zionville, IN 46077
Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–4 PM, or by appointment at 317.733.4113.