Movie theaters may be closed due to the coronavirus and social distancing requirements, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on winter movie nights. With many studios choosing to release movies on-demand early, or bypass theatrical releases entirely, now is the perfect time to recreate the movie experience in your own apartment home theater.

Building a DIY Home Theater In Your Apartment

To help you create the best home theater for an apartment, focus on the five “S’s”: screen, streaming, sound, seating, and most importantly, snacks.

Screen: Small floor plans may make it impractical to use large movie projectors and big screens, but the good news is today’s flat screen TVs don’t take up a lot of space. Plus they offer high-definition pictures and many have the latest 4K technology built in—all at a variety of price points. A television that measures between 50 and 60 inches should give you that in-home theater experience without overwhelming your space.

Streaming Devices: You have two options for streaming media—built-in streaming technology (i.e., a Smart TV) or a separate streaming device such as an Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire Stick. Streaming devices plug directly into the USB port on your TV, turning it into an on-demand platform.

With either option, you just connect your device to your internet, then subscribe to and download your preferred apps. Available options include YouTubeTV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney, HBO—the list goes on and on. Then just power up to stream movies and shows directly to your TV. 

Sound: If you’re looking to add a little extra oomph to your audio experience, sound bars can be a great option. Two of the biggest names in sound systems, Bose and Sonos, make excellent wireless options with crisp, clear audio quality that don’t take up a lot of space. They also offer speakers that work with your apartment’s other smart devices or voice assistants making it easier than ever to dim the lights, start the popcorn and adjust the sound with a simple, “OK, Google: theater mode.”

Don’t forget about your neighbors as you set up your apartment surround sound. You don’t want to be the noisy neighbor everyone complains about! One of the biggest contributors to noise concerns is loud bass, so you may want to skip the subwoofer and drop the bass setting on your sound bar. If you can’t imagine watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice without the full surround sound experience, consider investing in a pair of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones.

Seating: For the best apartment home theater experience, the optimal space between your seat and a 50-60 inch TV is approximately six feet. Other than that, anything goes when it comes to seating—as long as it’s roomy, comfortable, and can stand up to repeated showings.

Pillows and throws can help make a sofa, sectional, or recliner extra comfy and cozy during those winter movie nights. Large floor pillows can provide some extra seating for movie marathons. A coffee table and side tables give you a stable spot for your bowl of popcorn and extra-large soda. Sure, it’s not as convenient as built-in cup holders, but you don’t have to pay for refills in an apartment home theater.

Snacks: What is a movie theater experience without snacks? This is no time to skimp on the good stuff. Order up some tins of gourmet popcorn or make your own with Sur La Table’s Original Whirley Pop Red Carpet Vintage Movie Night Set complete with a stovetop popcorn popper. Stock up on your favorite movie candies, including Milk Duds, Whoppers, or Red Vines.

Or, you could do a movie/snack pairing, like a pastrami and rye deli sandwich while watching When Harry Met Sally, pizza for that Home Alone Christmas viewing, or a charcuterie platter with tons of French cheese while binging Netflix’s Emily in Paris.

When it comes to beverages, it’s your house and your rules. That means if you want to savor a glass of merlot while watching Sideways, toast Will Ferrell with a cold beer as you laugh out loud at Old School, or sip a martini (shaken not stirred) in honor of James Bond, there’s nobody to stop you!

Cozy Up in Your Own Apartment Home Theater at Southern Management

If you’re missing the movie theater experience during our coronavirus quarantine, you’re not alone.  With the right technology, a cozy atmosphere, and a few creative splurges, there are plenty of ways to stay safe at home and enjoy a night in front of the big screen. While you’re at it, check out these creative ways to socialize over virtual platforms (including shared movie nights) and ways to spend time alone in your apartment.

Looking for a new place to host your virtual viewing party? We invite you to tour any of our 75 apartment communities virtually! Our doors might be closed, but we’re still here to help. Contact our team for a phone consultation or to learn more about our online application process.