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How to Create a Home Theater on a Budget

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/12/2010

Contrary to what you might imagine, you do not have to shell out a ton of cash to create your own home theater. Here are some ideas that will help you set up a home theater that fits your budget

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    Overview

    Your home theater should be comfortable for you, your guests and your family and should suit your personal style and tastes. Using your imagination, being creative and considering these budget home theater ideas will help you create a room that meets those criteria.

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    Budget Home Theater Equipment

    Budget Home Theater Ideas: Equipment 

    When it comes to setting up your home theater, the equipment is the most likely budget-busting part of the equation. While you might dream of the biggest flat screen television, the loudest surround sound and the coolest DVD or Blu-ray player, your budget might say otherwise. If you have a decent DVD player and a nice enough TV, consider purchasing your home theater equipment piece by piece as you are able to save up for each item. If you want to invest a little money in some new equipment now, there are several Bright Hub articles that can point you in the right direction, such as: Where Can I Get a Cheap 42" HD LCD TV, Cheap Dual DVD Players and Cheap Blu-ray Players and Where to Buy Them.

    Consider purchasing gently used equipment, as well. Often, the best way to find a great deal is by word of mouth. Network with friends, family members and coworkers to let them know that you are looking for affordable home theater items. Check out local classified ads, Craigslist, Freecycle and ads posted on bulletin boards at nearby colleges, churches and stores. Always take care when responding to an advertisement. Take a (big, strong) friend with you, if at all possible, and let someone know where and when you are going to look at home theater equipment.

    Photo Credit: sxc.hu/LotusHead

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    Budget Home Theater Furnishings

    Budget Home Theater Ideas: Furniture 

    If you already own comfortable, albeit somewhat worn or dirty, living room equipment, then you have a great start towards creating your home theater on a budget. If your sofa looks a little grimy, you can rent an affordable carpet and upholstery cleaner from most grocery stores and have your furniture looking like new in no time. If your favorite love seat is faded or out of style, look at outlet stores or online retailers for cheap yet stylish slipcovers.

    As with home theater equipment, it is a great idea to let people know you are in the market for some new-to-you home theater furnishings. You might luck out and learn about someone who is redecorating their own home theater and just wants their old stuff out of the way.

    Another idea is to fix up old furniture yourself. Many local colleges or community centers offer non-credit courses that will show you how to refinish or reupholster a piece of furniture. Sign up and bring in a favorite old recliner or a cool but dated chair from a thrift store or yard sale. Not only will you wind up with a great new piece of furniture for your home theater, but you will also learn a new skill.

    For more ideas, read Home Theater Seating Tips and Ideas.

    Photo Credit: sxc.hu/jpcritis

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    Budget Home Theater Decor

    Budget Home Theater Ideas: Decor 

    Accessories will provide the finishing touches to pull your home theater together. You can find or make many budget-friendly home theater decor items in a variety of places. Start by looking around your own home. If you have any throw pillows, bean bag chairs or unused cushions, consider recovering them in fabric with a home theater motif and tossing them strategically around the room.

    Check out yard sales, thrift stores, consignment shops and classified ads for cheap, kitschy decorating items. Keep an open mind while you keep your eyes out for a deal. You might find a non-working popcorn machine for a song that will look perfect in one corner of your room, or a second-hand shop might have a stack of old movie posters that you could frame for next to nothing.

    If you have an old collection of VHS videos that you don't know what to do with, why not cut the front covers off and make a collage to adorn a wall of your home theater. For more ideas, read Home Theater Accessories and Decorating Ideas and think of creative ways you can replicate some of these items.

    Remember, you don't have to create the ideal home theater in a day. Get creative, take your time and shop around. Before you know it, you will have the home theater of your dreams without busting your budget.

    Photo Credits: sxc.hu/lumix2004