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Even a year ago we considered home theaters nice to have, but totally unnecessary and only for those places once featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or Cribs. We were happy watching Netflix in the living room or taking our laptop to bed. But now that Friday movie nights are the highlight of our weeks, having a dedicated spot to binge The Undoing or watch the Super Bowl is a top priority.  The good news: Big leather recliners and jumbo screens don’t have to be a part of the picture at all. 

Textured walls, layered rugs, sound-absorbing textiles—these are some of the ways to set a makeshift home movie theater apart from your standard media or living room. In preparation for the big game and all the popcorn-filled nights in between, we rounded up seven chic theaters we wish we had in our own homes.

Make It Worthy of Disney 

We usually think of screening rooms as being dark places, but this pink corner, designed by Bells + Whistles for Jillian and Tim Sassone, the founders of jewelry brand Marrow Fine, proves that doesn’t have to be the case. The large free-form shapes on the wall (actually a treatment from Murals Wallpaper) live up to the rest of the Palm Spring home’s playful attitude, while a curvy Gus Modern sectional and sound-absorbing carpet floor tiles from Flor make it an ideal spot to post up for the night.

Envelop Every Corner in Paint

“It’s okay for a room to have its own identity, even if it’s a departure from the rest of your home,” Athena Calderone writes of the moody lounge in her Brooklyn townhouse. She took a bold risk by going with Portola Paints’s In the Navy hue. When the light from above hits the walls just right, it really brings out the texture in the plaster finish. Most important, it’s not directly hitting the screen. 

Go Groovy

If you’re going to bring wood wall paneling back anywhere in your home, it should be here. The artful gallery wall and book-dotted open shelves lend an air of sophistication to this space by Commune Design, but it’s really the media station—clad in locally salvaged Monterey cypress—that makes you want to sit down and stay a while. Did someone say turn on Saturday Night Fever

Re-create the IMAX Experience  

If you really want to pretend you’re in a real-life theater (minus the gum-clad floors), invest in a drop-down screen and a projector (shop our favorite ones here). Let everyone know when it’s almost showtime by flicking the ambient wall sconces. 

Avoid Anything That Reclines 

Be flexible with your furniture choices. Curvy love seats and armchairs that are easy to move around make a room multifunctional. This lounge space Chroma SF designed for the Decorator’s Showcase is currently set up for conversation and listening to records, but that could easily change with a quick game of musical chairs. 

Shutter Out the Light

It’s totally okay to choose a space with windows in it to be your movie room, just follow up with heavy drapery or light-blocking shutters. You don’t want to be the one asking, “Wait, what did I miss?” when the credits are rolling. 

Cover Every Inch of the Floor

So you splurged on a high-end soundbar—don’t let it go to waste if you’ve got an echoey room. Laying down an extra-large sisal rug will prevent noise from bouncing around. Another tip: Hide your fancy tech and even the TV behind a built-in cabinet after you’ve powered off.

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