Can you imagine the look on the faces of friends and family when they walk into your home theater room, look up at the ceiling and discover that it's covered with twinkling stars from wall to wall?
If you're not afraid of DIY projects involving power tools and if you have the patience it takes to wire up a large ceiling to make this dramatic focal point, you're ready to begin a project that adds a perfect finishing touch to a room you've already fitted with a sound system, flat screen TV, theater seating and creature comforts.
Where to begin? By recruiting an equally-handy friend who's willing to help you get this surprisingly easy-to-accomplish project off the ground, both literally and figuratively. It's going to take time to do this job right, but once you're done, expect to be thrilled every time you walk into your four-star theater.
8 Decisions to make before you begin:
1. Will you cover the entire ceiling with stars, just the center or the periphery?
2. Do you prefer twinkling stars, static ones or will you be just as happy with either?
3. Are you more comfortable using cable or do you prefer to use fiber optic filament?
4. Would you like a sky that's densely crowded with stars or just sprinkled across the ceiling?
5. Will you have to install a dropped ceiling over the current one or do you have access to an attic?
6. Will the illuminator you install to power the stars require a dedicated outlet?
7. Is your ceiling area so large, you'll need more than one illuminator to handle your field of stars?
8. Do you have the time and patience to undertake an installation that could run 30 to 40 hours in total?
Finances, kits and options
Your ceiling size determines the amount of money you'll spend on your project, but if you're looking for a ballpark figure to decide if it's worth your while to undertake this challenge, expect to achieve a 4-to-1-star ratio on the ceiling of a small theater room using 1000-feet of .50mm fiber optic filament and an illuminator (this unit provides the light), with or without a twinkle wheel, for about $500.
Make life simple by purchasing a kit that includes the items you need as well as instructions for undertaking this ceiling remodel. Alternatively, hire a contractor to do the job for you using the following suggestions, but this is a time-intensive job, so keep the checkbook near.
While you can tackle this job on your own, things could get tedious as you methodically drill into your room ceiling from your attic access to thread filament into holes, so a helper can save you time and frustration. Using single strand filament costs less money and there's less waste, too. Follow these steps to do the job:
- Mark ceiling joist locations with a pencil so you avoid cutting into them when you drill your holes.
- Use a bright room light to illuminate the ceiling from the floor so those pencil marks are visible.
- Drill each hole "up" from the theater room rather than down from the attic to avoid ragged holes.
- Thread a length of continuous thread optical fiber into each hole.
- Secure each "star" in pace with a drop of epoxy to keep it stationary.
- Once all fibers are installed and sealed, collect them and attach them to the illuminator.
- Plug or wire the illuminator to your electrical system, adding a dedicated switch.
Make your theater room a "one of a kind" creation
Finish your home theater room by adding drama worthy of any blockbuster. Assuming you've money left in your movie room budget, go further with your design scheme by adding touches of authenticity. For example, "Architectural Digest" magazine featured an over-the-top movie room design sure to be coveted by movie fans everywhere.
Designers started with a ceiling filled with twinkling stars and then installed the trappings of a drive-in movie theater, complete with refreshment stand, theater seating that mimics vintage cars and cut-out palm trees that bring Hollywood to mind.
You may not wish to go to this extreme or plunder your child's college savings to replicate this ultra-cool environment, but you should be prepared for guests who drop by and refuse to leave, even if you cut off their popcorn supply!