3 Must-Haves for a Media Room

If you read my recent post about our media room, you already know that it’s not exactly the “standard” media room that you normally see. I built it, not just so my husband could watch football or basketball, but for our entire family. I built it to be multi-functional. Hey, if you’re going to spend money on building out an extra room, you might as well make it as versatile as you possibly can, right?

So here’s a little review from my last post…

Last summer when Chad and I were choosing a floor plan for our new build, we  had a list of must-haves that we stuck to. One of the main features that was top on our must-have list was a media room. I didn’t want the stereotypical media room though. We have two young kids and making the space work for them AND us was very important. We wanted the room to be light and airy during the day, while still feeling like a theater room at night. We also wanted the media room to be open to the kid’s playroom so we could see and hear them in case they wanted to go play while we watched TV.

Open concept? Natural lighting? Like I said, this was NOT your standard media room.

Since we had such specific ideas for the space, we ultimately had to alter one of the pre-designed floor plans to create a space that was a mix between a game room, media room, play room and family room. I opened up walls, built out a space for a built-in bunk bed wall, added columns to make it feel more “movie-esque”, added sconce lighting throughout, picked out our media screen, built out a nook for a bar space, added an electric fireplace, custom built our reclining sectional, you name it! I designed probably 30 different renderings in my 3D design program before we landed on the perfect floor plan with the perfect furniture layout. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing about it!

But lucky for you guys, I did all the hard work for y’all, which is why I wanted to take a minute to talk about some of the stand-out pieces that I’m SO thankful for, SO obsessed with, and HAVE to recommend.

Of all the planning (and OVER planning) we did for this space, there are 3 elements that we use and appreciate every single day. In no particular order — because how can I really pick favorites when they’re all so good!? — Our top 3 most-used pieces  in the media room are our reclining sectional, 110′ media screen, and our 72″ electric fireplace. Let me get into a little more detail about each so you’re a little more informed.

Reclining Sectional

I have to admit, I NEVER thought I would EVER purchase a reclining sectional… Heck. I never thought I would purchase a reclining ANYTHING. There are so many unattractive reclining pieces out there, and they simply get a bad rap. There is a stigma around anything and everything “reclining,” but I want to put a stop to it right now. Because…

Dayumm they’re comfortable!

After 2 kids, and some lovely chronic back pain, the thought of a reclining sectional actually started to sound pretty dang amazing.  It wasn’t until I found one at HomeZone Furniture that I was actually ready to commit.

I mean… I AM a designer after all. I’ve got a reputation to hold up to! haha TOTALLY KIDDING  — but in all seriousness, reclining sofas can be expensive, so I wanted to keep the budget down, while still finding an attractive design that would remain super comfortable and incredibly cozy for our little family of 4. I wanted as many recliners as I could fit into the sectional, as well as a console to hold our remotes and other techy things.

That’s where the Overstreet Reclining Sectional from HomeZone furniture came into play. I had actually gone into the store to check out a few of their other reclining sectionals, but ended up choosing the Overstreet due to its ability to be customized.  Because of the shape of our media room, I needed a sectional that was shallow in depth, but long in width. Since the Overstreet is a modular design, I was able to literally build the exact shape I needed. I was also able to choose from 50 different fabric options, select the number of reclining pieces I needed, and even add features like motorized head rests, USB ports and a console with a hidden cup holder. For reference, below is the layout I sent to my furniture rep.

110″ Media Screen

Ok so this is another item we really did a lot of research for. Since our media room isn’t a “normal” media room, that meant we couldn’t get a “normal” media screen. We needed a screen that could handle natural light, but also perform really well in a dark setting. I also wanted a thin frame so it looked more like a TV rather than a media screen. Another item on our list was to have a fixed screen, which means it doesn’t roll up — it just remains fixed at all times. We basically wanted it to look like a HUGE tv, which is exactly what we got.

We ended up choosing the 110″ Aeon Series that uses Elite Screen’s EDGE FREE technology (aka, a thin frame).  The material we chose was the CineGrey® 3D because this material uses ambient light-rejecting technology, which is a fancy way of saying it performs really well in natural light.

I cannot tell you how happy we’ve been with this screen. I’ve never had a media room before and didn’t quite understand why everyone always ranted and raved about them. Ok… now I get it. I totally get it! They’re just so freaking cool! Sure, my husband loves watching sports games on the big screen, but honestly, we really use it more as a family and just love snuggling up with our kiddos on our reclining sectional and watching Peppa Pig — or lately —  Planet Earth or Deadliest Catch. For some reason my 2 and 3 year old are like.. really into it.

And this leads me to the last, but certainly not least, item on our top 3 favorite media room items.

72″ Electric Fireplace

For some reason, fireplaces are really important to me. I’m not sure why? I’ve always thought they bring so much dimension and “mood” to a room, even if it’s not a real flame. When we first started building our home, we incorporated a gas fireplace in our main living room, as well as our back patio, but I wanted more! I wanted a fireplace in our bedroom and media room, but didn’t have enough room for a gas fireplace in either location. That’s when I began searching for electric fireplaces. In many cases, you don’t need much depth to install an electric fireplace (the model I chose is only 5 inches deep) and you can put them pretty much anywhere you have a plug.

With that in mind, I built out nooks in our master bedroom as well as our media room and made sure the builder included electrical outlets so I could install our electric fireplaces flush with the wall. I’m so thrilled with the outcome of these electric fireplaces because we plan to use them year-around. Since it’s not a real flame, you have the option to turn the heat function on, or leave it off. We pretty much always leave the heater off, especially going into these warmer months of summer.

We’ve had so many people ask us if the flame was real because of how REAL it really looks. With this particular model, you have 3 color settings and can adjust the brightness of the flame. There’s also a handy-dandy remote so you don’t even have to get up to turn it on or off. If you’re wondering, we have the 72″ Sideline Recessed Electric Fireplace from Touchstone Home Products.