Living Room Design Ideas

How to Transform Your Modern Living Room Into a Home Theater

Your home should be your sanctuary for relaxing, entertaining, and making memories with your family. An evening of your favorite films,’ Netflix streams will become instantly more exciting when you turn your modern living room into a home theater. Yes, that's right. You don't need a whole room or dark, old-looking recliners to have an at-home movie theater experience. With the following tips and ideas, you'll be able to transform your modern living room into the perfect home theater -- popcorn not included. 

Your Living Room Home Theater Setup

Home theater rooms can be placed in a variety of places in your home. Whether you have an unused secondary bedroom, a downstairs basement, or want to transform your existing living room into a home theater, the options are endless. 

To determine which room is the perfect fit, consider whether or not you can easily control the lighting, whether you have a large wall available for a  TV or projector screen, and if you can accommodate your seating needs. If the room checks all of these boxes, we can DIY the rest of the home theater design.

1. Choose the Seating

Target Reclining Sofa

What's the best part of going to the movies? Besides the endless snack options, it has to be comfortable recliners. We love to sit back and relax as we enjoy thrilling movies. Well, you can achieve that at home without having to have rows of individual recliners. 

Consider this Poulson Reclining Sofa from Target, pictured above. Choose it as your center living room and have space to seat three people. Each person can decide whether they'll like to extend the recliner or sit tight and watch the show. The best part? Its modern lines and simplistic design is the total opposite of the traditional recliner, which means you can fit them even into a small living room. 

Because (in my opinion) the seating arrangement is what makes or break a home theater setup, I wanted to break up the seating ideas by room:

  • Basement: You can quickly go all-in with your seating arrangement and get the classic home theater sofas that recline, have space for your drinks and snacks. I’m sure some of them even give massages. 
  • Open Living Room: Since your at-home theater can be seen anywhere in the house, you want to stay with more classic seats that won’t look out of place. A modern and sleek recliner accent chair paired with a traditional couch might be your best option. 
  • Closed Living Room: If you have an enclosed living room, you can play a bit more with more theater seatings. Something like this symmetrical sectional is a great option to consider. 
  • Small Living Room: When your space is limited, you might have to trade the recliners for a sectional instead. Another great option is to pair a small couch with a lounger sofa to create your idea of a sectional that will fit your tiny space. 

2. Figure Out the Living Room Setup

Target Blue Accent Chair

Of course, if your house is the center of entertainment among your friends and family, you want to make sure you have room for them. Invite them over and let them enjoy the movie from comfortable seats that will add a pop of color and personality to your room. 

We love the Soriano Channel Tufted Chair from Target, pictured above. Its modern style and striking bold navy blue upholstery make it stand out. Depending on how much space available you have, you can add one or more of these chairs on the side to frame the home theater area. It all depends on your living room layout and how many people you usually invite over. After all, you still need to make this space function as a living room. 

Target Floor Cushion

If your space is limited, you can still transform your living room into a home theater with fun floor seating cushions. Try to get enough hold to double as a coffee table or additional seating space when you have friends coming over. 

3. Pick the Right Home Theater Furniture

Target Coffee Table

The coffee table is always a synonym of attention and style. However, if you want to use your living room as your home theater area, you need to make sure your coffee table remains functional. Instead of styling the tabletop, leave space for your snacks and drinks and find creative ways to add decorative elements. 

We love this Ada Mixed Material Coffee Table with Glass Top from Target, pictured above. It's the perfect coffee table for this multi-functional room because the top can remain clutter-free, and you can use the second layer to display your favorite books and add a touch of color with bowls or decor accents. 

Popcorn Tray

It might seem silly, but transforming your living room into a home theater is also about the details. Getting some fun movie night snack trays can make your living room look even more like a movie theater. Adding decorative elements like this is perfect for families with small children. 

Alternative coffee tables that will work great in these spaces are lifting coffee tables and bunching coffee tables. These options provide flexibility to move easily in the space and accommodate your needs.

4. Choose Lighting Wisely

Target Floor Lamp

Perhaps the most important purchase for your home theater, even more, important than the TV and sound system, is the lighting. If you choose poor lighting styles, your whole at-home movie experience might get ruined. Too bright, and you'll have a reflection on your TV that interferes with the screening. Too low, and you won't be able to grab your snacks without making a mess. 

That's why we love the Ellis Tripod Floor Lamp from Target, pictured above. Featuring a fabric shade that delivers a welcoming glow, this modern free-standing lamp will brighten the room with cozy lighting that makes you feel relaxed. 

5. Frame Your TV and Home Theater

Target TV STand

Last but not least, you need to frame your TV and home theater system. Here's where everything comes together, and your living room finally transforms into a personal movie theater. There are many ways to frame your home theater system, and it will all depend on your style. 

As an easy way to achieve this, we love the Cabrini Floating Wall Theater Entertainment Center from Target, pictured above. The set takes the guessing out of the game and lets you easily transform the space into an entertainment room. Complete the look by adding a few bases, books, and even family portraits to frame the TV and make it look like part of your living room. 

Of course, remember to consider the space around your living room. If you have an open-space layout, you want to make sure your TV console and frame go with the rest of your home’s decor. Otherwise, you risk placing a central focal point in your home decor that will look out of place. 

Bonus Tips for Small Spaces

Urban Outfitters Projector

It might seem as if setting up a home theater requires all this space. But, even someone that lives in a studio apartment can set up a home theater. You just need a bit of creativity and perhaps some Sci-fi-looking additions. You can always keep your existing furniture. Simply add things like cushion ottomans that can transform your couch into a lounger or trade your love seat for a small sectional to create that lounge area that’s perfect for binge-watching your favorite shows. 

But, the one trick to transform your tiny space into a home theater is to invest in a portable smart projector and retractable screen. These can transform your wall into a gigantic movie-theater-like screen that will be perfect to showcase your favorite films. Plus, they don’t take up any wall space since most of them are mounted to the ceiling and roll up when not in use. 


There are a lot of steps when it comes to transforming your living room into a home theater. Here are some frequently asked questions you may have:

How do I turn my living room into a home theater?

First, you can start with our tips above. But, to summarize it, here’s how to turn your living room into a home theater:

  • Paint some walls darker
  • Move the furniture, so the seats are front-and-centered, facing the TV
  • Install dimming lights or choose the right lighting
  • Hang light-blocking drapes
  • Use a wall mount to set the TV

What the ideal room size for a home theater?

While you can get really creative with a small room, you want to choose a room that’s at least 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. This should give you a good starting point to start designing your at-home theater. 

How much should I expect to spend building a home theater?

The amount of money you spend transforming your living room depends on the items you choose to add. However, the average cost of designing a quality home theater is between $10,000 to $50,000. It all depends on whether or not you need to buy new furniture pieces. 

What’s the best paint color for a home theater room?

If possible, you want to choose a darker color such as gray, dark brown, burgundy, or black. However, if you’re transforming your living room into a theater, this might be daunting. We recommend that you at least paint the wall behind the TV darker. 

Let’s Create Your Home Theater

Your living room has the potential to transform into any room you want. Whether you’re working with a tiny studio apartment living room or you’ve been giving the green light to transform your massive basement living room space into a home theater, there are many fun ideas you can try. But, keeping these five elements in mind will give you all the basics you’ll need to start this fabulous project.  Start a project today and talk to one of Spacejoy's talented designers to design your dream home theater. We'll share different ideas on how to transform your living room into an at-home movie theater you and your family will adore. 

Ready to get started?