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Great Ways to Maximize Your Great Room
Prepare your open-layout multipurpose room for a media system that operates as effectively in daylight as the evenings.
July 01, 2013 by EH Staff

A technology installation in the great room can take a number of different paths to success. Sometimes it depends on how the seating is arranged, or what type of wall or area stands opposite the television. Sometimes you might want more than a television for your big-screen viewing experience (drop-down projection screen, anyone?), or you may want the audio to be heard but not seen. We’ve taken the empty canvas shown here (below) and provided some sound considerations for this great room, which can be applied to plenty of other great room scenarios:

Swivel TV Mount: With an open layout like this, invest in a mount that can also swivel a flat-panel TV—like toward the dining room while you’re eating. OR If looks matter more than tech, consider a motorized artwork type of mount that conceals a screen when it’s not in use.

Shading: In a room like this, the picture can easily look washed out (at least during daytime viewing). By adding shades to the sliding glass door—preferably motorized—you can minimize glare, add to the aesthetics and keep things cooler in the summer.

Lights: While you’re at it, replace the light switch with a dimmer. You’ll be able to set the lights perfectly for any activity, and even control the dimmer via the same handheld remote that operates the shades, and possibly the A/V.

Speakers: Clean and uncluttered, this room is suited for built-in architectural speakers—but rather than carve into the wall, plant round ones in the ceiling. This can look slicker and provide better coverage. OR 1) Keep things minimalist but maintain solid sound by going for stereo, putting two speakers above each viewing area. 2) Mount a sleek soundbar below the display and tuck away a compact, wireless subwoofer.

Wall Color: White is a notoriously bad wall color for video. It picks up and reflects light, especially if it’s a gloss finish, and splays it on the TV screen. An earthy brown or gray in a flat finish will curb the reflections and help define the image.

Enhancements: A glass wall combined with hardwood floor makes this room tough on audio, which bounces harshly off hard surfaces. Tone down reflections by adding another area rug and perhaps some draperies at the entrance.

For some more great room inspiration, check out how these rooms have been outfitted with A/V and automation technology.

See Tips for Other Rooms:
How Automation Systems Cater to Dining Rooms
The Kitchen Is the Center of the Connected House
Top 6 High-Tech Additions to Your Master Bedroom

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