As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, retail stores, restaurants, and other public spaces have begun to reopen, albeit with safety precautions.

Our entertainment options, however, remain severely limited. Movie theatres, sports arenas, and other entertainment venues remain closed virtually everywhere.

These closings—combined with Hollywood’s halt on new theater releases, film, and television production—have likely made your home theater the only theater that you’ll be able to enjoy for some time. As we head into the Fall and Winter months, colder temps and unfavorable weather conditions will likely force people to reduce their outdoor time further, making indoor entertainment even more essential.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, and there’s no better way to do that than giving your home theater the upgrade it deserves. Here are some ways you can make your home entertainment spaces a red carpet event.

Home Investment

These days, home theater systems and the living room serve as the main entertainment venue for families who are mostly staying in, so investing in these spaces has become a priority.

The Big Screen

Whether it's movies, gaming, or binge-watching a hot new series, the TV serves as the main attraction for most home entertainment. Since you can't make it to the theater, it's a great time to upgrade your television to help recreate the theater experience at home. 

From high refresh rates to the number of pixels displayed per inch, TV technology is improving all the time. The latest TVs offer 4K LCD, LED, or OLED HDR screen technologies that can have some substantial differences in picture clarity, color quality, and cost. Whichever your preference—and budget—upgrading from a 1080p unit to something bigger and more advanced can really transform your home entertainment experience. 

Newer TVs also include a host of smart functions that can link to your favorite digital streaming services, helping to streamline your set-up by eliminating the need for standalone devices. 

Streaming Services

The pandemic has shuttered production on new movies and TV shows, making it the perfect time to get caught up on all those show and movie recommendations your friends have been making for years. 

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBOMax all have a plethora of classic, pre-pandemic, and critically acclaimed movies and shows to keep you entertained for many months to come. For families with children, adding Disney+, PBS Kids, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang to your streaming menu will give you access to fun options for kids of all ages. 

For cord-cutters, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, and Sling TV give you access to live TV, along with dozens of your favorite channels. 

Resonating Sound

Beyond the visual, an authentic cinematic experience requires immersive audio, so a great sound system is vital. The good news is that a quality system doesn’t have to break the bank. 

When on the lookout for a new sound system, consider your space and what you're hoping to get out of it. Do you have a dedicated media room that allows you to set up a perfect 9.1 sound system for a full surround experience? Or is your home theater space also your main living room and requires a more streamlined and aesthetically clean solution?

If you’re looking for quality soundbar solutions, the Sonos Arc soundbar, for example, features Dolby Atmos technology. You can also wirelessly pair other Sonos speakers together to create full surround sound. Bose also offers an assortment of soundbar solutions for most budgets, while providing high-end performance. For more audible impact, add a subwoofer to further enhance the cinematic experience.

Take Inventory

When it comes to your setup, consider upgrading your media console to one that offers features designed to extend the life of your components inside, while looking good doing it. Determine the space you need to store your system by taking stock of your electronics, including speakers, cable box, streaming devices, Blu-Ray, etc.

Set the Stage for Entertainment

It’s worth the investment upfront to select a media cabinet that has a timeless design and offers great functionality that can be at home in your spaces for many years.

Even with streaming technology, modern-day entertainment setups still come with a lot of cables, so make sure your cabinet has integrated cord management to keep everything bundled and neat.

Additional features to look out for include:

Ventilation

Ventilation panels, both inside the cabinet and on the backside, will prolong the life of your equipment by letting air easily pass through, keeping components cool.

Remote Access

Cabinet doors specially designed to allow sound and remote signals to flow through help hide components inside while giving you full access to everything within.

Adaptability

Adjustable shelves inside the cabinet allow you to make space for all the components you need for a full theater experience.

Ease of Use

Cabinets that offer hidden wheels and feet levelers ensure your cabinet can maintain even footing on uneven surfaces.

If you’re looking to achieve the full home theater experience, consider investing in good lighting, too. Overhead lighting on a dimmer ensures you’ll get the perfect ambiance for family movie night while reducing glare. 

Smart lighting like Philips Hue is compatible with voice-activated Alexa and Google smart speakers, and offer an assortment of colors to create a truly unique theater experience, even allowing you to match the colors with the action on the screen.  

Front Row Seating

Having enough places to sit ensures that everyone is comfortable and gets a good view of the television.

Best Seat in the House

More people at home means more opportunities to get together in front of the television—and with it, a need for more places to sit—making now the perfect time to update your seating arrangements.

Your choice of seating can influence how the room is used. For instance, a full sectional with side recliners pretty much set the room as a place to watch the game or have a movie night.

If your theater space is also used for gaming or casual dining, consider lighter chairs so that you can effortlessly rearrange them without damaging your floors.

Making the Most of Your Spaces

Like the seating you choose, how you set up your home entertainment spaces goes a long way into determining how versatile they can be. With the right kind of media or storage furniture, you can hide away the latest gaming systems, and only pull them out when you’re ready to battle it out on “Overwatch” or “Fortnite”.

A center coffee table is a great place to display keepsakes, hide away remote controls, or stage your latest meal around the TV. Side tables also play double duty for storage or providing surfaces for drinks and your own homemade movie theater popcorn.

Whatever your needs, now is a great time to take inventory of your entertainment spaces. With a little planning—and the right furniture—you can create an entertainment experience that may give cinemas some temporary competition. Better yet, they can be enjoyed in the comfort and safety of your home for years to come.