Wellness Dept.

Home Theater Ergonomics

[dropcap]There’s nothing better than relaxing and watching a movie or show in a well-designed home theater, but there’s more to the design than choosing a style, textures and accessories. Ergonomics play a major role in how much you enjoy your home theater.[/dropcap]

You’ll be forgiven if the workplace is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “ergonomics.” But safe and efficient design is important for most parts of your life, including where you work, what you drive and how you sleep. If you spend a significant amount of your downtime watching television, it makes perfect sense to carefully consider the ergonomics of your home theater, too.

Where to Place Your Screen

Mounting your television above a fireplace isn’t just aesthetically displeasing, it is physically displeasing as well. Because it forces you to look up to see the screen, you could very well experience neck pain after a two-hour movie. (It’s the same reason why people try to avoid sitting in the first few rows of seats in a theater.)

Luckily, there’s a practical rule for choosing an ergonomically-sound place to mount your television or projector screen. Though the exact location will be different from room to room, you really want the center of the screen to be at eye level when you’re sitting. Measure the height and width of your television to determine where the screen should rest on the wall. The screen might seem too low from the standing positon, but you normally don’t look at the screen while standing.

How to Position Your Furniture

As you might imagine, the placement of your television dictates where you should positon your sofas and chairs — and the height of your television is an important factor in this equation. Obviously, placing your seating squarely in front of your television and back at least a few feet is the best solution, but not all rooms are conducive to such a simple setup.

Thanks to recent technological advances, viewing angles for modern televisions are much wider than they once were — meaning you can sit on either side of the television. However, if you have to turn your head significantly to see the screen, your seats should be repositioned. Ideally, your horizontal viewing angle should be no more than 40°.

Just remember, ergonomics aren’t just for work. Implementing them into your home theater or media room design will make quality time, comfortable time.