Seating Ideas for the Ultimate Home Theatre Experience
by Rebecca Hadfield
Seating Ideas for the Ultimate Home Theatre
Here’s our hot take: the seating in your home theatre is as (or even slightly more) important than the screen itself. Sure, great picture and sound helps, but even the best movie can be ruined by uncomfortable seating or an awkward, obstructed view of the screen.
For the best home theatre experience, make sure your sofa, sectional, or chairs are as comfortable as possible and your space is optimized for viewing. Keep reading to get inspired, see your options, and discover the perfect seating and accessories for your space.
Whether you have a whole room to dedicate to movie-watching or are just looking to transform your living room to a cinema on the weekends, there are several options for seating in your home theatre. We’ll explore the main four here but watch for a surprise addition later in this article.
Theatre-style Seating: If you’re going all-in, you might as well go all-in. Available in sofa, loveseat, and individual chair configurations, theatre-style seating gives you that authentic “night out at the movies” feel, but without the sticky floors and soaring ticket prices.
Just like the deluxe seats at your favourite theatre, you’ll find cupholders, armrests, and adjustable footrests, but that’s where the similarities end. Expect extra-plush upholstery, deeper seats, higher backs, and fun features like storage and lighting.
Sectional: Comfy—check! Room for the whole family—check! Available in dozens of configurations to fit any space—check! Just like in your living room, sectionals are a great solution for creating a seating arrangement that suits your needs to a T.
Choose a ready-made style, like the Rylee 4 Piece Sectional above, or explore custom sectionals with options like storage, chaise extensions, USB charging and more. The Keoni 4 Piece Power Sectional pictured here is even available with power reclining footrests and headrests for the ultimate experience.
Sofa: A home theatre OG, sofas are best for singles, couples, or multi-seating, multi-row arrangements. When shopping for your home theatre sofa(s), don’t be afraid to get comfortable and sit the way you normally sit when you watch movies—curl up, stretch out, or sit back and settle in—the showroom floor is a no-judgement zone.
Media Sleeper: Just a quick pull, takes the media sleeper from sectional to cozy bed, making this the perfect seating for people who like to stretch out and/or cuddle while they watch movies. Media sleepers, like the Altari 2 Piece Sleeper Sectional above, are also great options for smaller spaces as they take up less room than a large sleeper sofa and include hidden storage for stowing blankets and pillows.
Adding rows of seating will give your room an authentic theatre feel but takes a little bit of planning (and maybe a bit of construction) to ensure everyone has a great view of the screen. Here are some options for 2-row and 3-row seating configurations, with and without risers.
Two Row with Riser: In this configuration, a simple, carpeted riser provides elevated sofa seating behind a sofa or sectional placed on the floor. To get the perfect amount of “lift” behind a standard sofa, you’ll want to construct a riser that is 12” high. If your front row is made up of high-back seats, build your riser to a finished height of 15–18.” (Don’t forget to add a step!)
For the most cohesive look, choose matching sofas for both rows. Or, if you have a sectional in the first row, select the matching sofa or loveseat version for the second row. Another option is to choose a different style, but with the same fabric. For example, white leather recliners in the front row and a white leather sofa on the riser.
TIP: To give your second-row guests enough leg room, allow 20” between the back of the lower sofa and the front edge of the upper. Add a few inches to that if your furniture reclines or choose “zero clearance” recliners to save space.
Two Row without Riser: If you don’t want to build a riser, you can still get the feel of a second row by adding a bar height table and seating behind your sofa. Not only do you get a row of unobstructed seats in the second row, but those who are sitting there get a handy place for their snacks and beverages. In fact, it’s a great place to grab dinner and a movie when you don’t have guests!
Just like the main seating in the room, you’ll want to choose the comfiest chairs possible (i.e., something that will be enjoyable to sit in for two hours or more). Although bar height seating comes in all shapes and sizes, you’ll want to narrow your picks to padded, upholstered chairs with backs and a comfy, ergonomic shape, like the Bellatier and Tallenger bar stools, above.
Pair your chairs with a 40–42” high narrow table that can be snugged up to the back of your sofa or sectional. The Wilinruck Counter Table, above, is just 18” deep, which gives you plenty of room for drinks and popcorn and still keeps you close to the action.
Three Row with Riser: For those who have the room, this configuration combines riser seating with bar seating to accommodate several viewers at three different heights, without the need for a second level of risers. This configuration is essentially the same as the “two row with riser” set-up, but with a bar table and chairs on the riser behind the upper sofa.
When building your riser, you’ll need at least 36” of room between the wall and the front edge of the table to allow your guests easy access to their seats. For safety, make sure your riser extends to the rear wall of the room, or place a railing or half-wall at the back of the riser to prevent tumbles.
Sure, we have already mentioned snacks twice, but that’s just how important they are to us, especially on movie night. If you don’t have seating with built-in cupholders, make sure that each person has an easy-to reach place to put their drink.
The Kendell table, above, is one of our top picks for home theatres because it has a handy lift mechanism that brings your popcorn, candy and soda within arm’s reach, as well as a storage compartment for remotes, electronics, and more.
Although it won’t bring your snacks closer to you, a storage ottoman is another great option with the added benefit of a soft place to put your feet up. Add a large, sturdy tray to keep your drinks and popcorn safe and your ottoman clean.
Make sure your home theatre space is stocked with an assortment of all-season throws and plenty of pillows for comfort (and hiding behind). When picking your pillows, try to choose an assortment of shapes, sizes, and levels of softness—a couple firmer bolster pillows is always a good addition for shorter folks and those who like a little extra lumbar support.
In rooms with wood, laminate, or tile flooring, a soft area rug will warm the floor underfoot and provide some much-needed sound-dampening for the space. In fact, the more soft surfaces you have in your room, the warmer and richer your theatre sound will be.
Let's Take This to the Next Level
We hope we’ve inspired you to create a cozy theatre right in your own home. Discover our full selection of seating options online or visit our in-store furniture experts today. They can even help you find the perfect smart TV for your space! Book an appointment at your local store for a relaxed, no-pressure shopping experience today.
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