The cheapest home theater

Because we’re at our forever home now, I’m making all my house dreams come true. You probably think I’m talking moulding and built-ins and gardens. Nope! I’m talking disco lights in the living room and cheap home movie theater!

This movie theater space is SO fun. I’m not even kidding. I love it more than anyone else in the family and feel strongly that everyone needs a movie projector!

Cheap home movie theater - review, quality and awesomeness

We're having so much fun with this movie projector

Cheap home movie theater

Movie room and movie projector

Inexpensive movie projector in playroom for big impact

twinkle lights in playroom

Yes, we did designate this room as a playroom — I even spent quite a bit of time making it kid friendly! (You can check out the tour here.) Buuuuut I am actually in here almost every day either watching something with the kids, or Marcello and I watch our own thing after they’ve gone to bed. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. I mean that. I would rather slice bread than give up my projector.

Side note: It’s really difficult for an amateur photographer (me) to take quality pictures of a projector movie shot and maintain good lighting. I don’t want to talk about how long I spent trying to take pictures of this, haha! Keep that in mind when you are judging screen quality. Ok?

Let’s get to the details, shall we?

The projector

Update: This is the projector we now have. For $99, this thing gets five stars from me. (This is not sponsored, but that is an affiliate link.) And this is the mount.

Home movie theater ideas

blank wall for movie projector and giant bean bag chair


The screen fills up to 176 inches. Yes, 176 inches! It will take up the ENTIRE wall in your house. Or it can be projected outside as well. This is the screen I would buy if I needed one. Right now we just use a blank, white wall. Cheap and no storage!

Helpful measurements: The screen is 158 inches wide and the projector sits 230 inches (a little over 19 feet) from the blank wall.

Cheap home movie theater - favorite inexpensive movie projector


Of course, the smaller it is the more focused it tends to be. But our projection size here is about 158 inches and it is HUGE and clear. Now if you are expecting high definition, you will be disappointed. Let’s remember this machine is under $100. But yes, it is focused and enormous and amazing.

230 inches (a little over 19 feet)

Cheap home movie theater revie - this one is GREATR


When we bought this projector, I thought it needed to be pitch black to watch. Of course that helps, but I was actually surprised by the lumination it provides. We can have the curtains open during sunset and still watch.

You could use this outside at dusk. Night is best, but you can still see the picture beforehand.

Cheap home movie theater - favorite speaker


The projector does have sound, but it’s not even close to loud enough. We use this bluetooth speaker for dance parties and this movie theater room. In my cheap little world, this is a bit more pricey, but I will say that it’s better than spending money for surround sound.

Why? Because this little speaker has fantastic quality, offers that bass that you love to hear with movies, and can be moved to the living room for a dance party or outside for a barbecue. Also, you don’t have to install six pieces or looking at a bunch of black boxes on the walls or try to conceal them.

Ways to watch movies on projector

Cheap home movie theater - remotes

Ways to watch

On projectors nowadays you can use your phone, iPad, laptop, DVD player, streaming stick, SD card, anything you want to keep cold son. Tommy Boy? Anyone? No? Ok, basically all electronic devices will work.

We normally watch the projector through an Amazon Firestick that I bought on Amazon prime day. It’s good. It works and the price was affordable. But with kids, I would rather have a Roku device because it doesn’t show advertisements for adult shows in the selections. Roku just shows the channels you have selected, nothing extra. It feels safer to me.

We also use the laptop with and HDMI connector.

The set up

Cheap home movie theater - setup, review and tips


Also, I ordered the wrong mount to hang it from the ceiling. This is the one I should have bought! You’re welcome. My father-in-law found a way to make the one I bought work. Yay!

Cheap home movie theater accessories and setup


We put this small shelf above the projector, out of the reach of kids, to hold cords, remotes, speaker and my laptop fits off to the left. It makes it so nice not to have cords dangling down or worry about kids tripping and godzilla-ing the whole thing down.

Cheap home movie theater - favorite blackout curtains and setup

Cheap home movie theater - cord covers


Speaking of cords, I bought this $8 nylon sleeve to keep the cords up and less noticeable. Because this room is a converted garage, we have an outlet on the ceiling! So that’s the weirdness going on here.

If it were my living room, I would try this nicer cord concealer to not only cover up the cords, but also keep them out of the way.

Cheap home movie theater - favorite $17 blackout curtains

Cheap home movie theater - blackout curtains


I’m always talking about bargain shopping and saving money, but I totally wasted $30 on “blackout” curtains at Big Lots. I was looking for a cheap fix, but it didn’t work this time! They were too small and didn’t block all the light out.

I soon replaced them with these super long and wide IKEA curtains for $17. They’re an amazing value and, as you can see, they really do block out most of the light. This way we can easily watch a movie in the middle of the day. The material is high-quality and soft too.

Home movie room with giant bean bag chair of course

the joy of a giant bean bag chair

Giant bean bag chair

This bean bag chair, while not a great aesthetic beauty, has been so much for for the kids. In addition to a trampoline, it serves as super comfy extra seating. I like laying on it too (when they’re not jumping on it)!

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This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog! 20 percent of proceeds earned from my blog are donated to charities for children and clean water.

Instagram @housemixblog pic

Let me give you a video tour of our home theater too! 

The cheapest home theater - Here are the basics and how to set them up

The cheapest home theater - best inexpensive projector, setup, how to play movies, surround sound, brightness, quality

The cheapest home move theater room - so much fun for the whole family!

2 thoughts on “The cheapest home theater

  1. Hi Kate,

    I cannot even tell you how much I love this and your kids’ playroom post!! Such fantastic ideas and I especially love the concept of more activities than toys! My son is getting the same Ikea kitchen for Christmas this year so I’m excited to know that it’s something that will last him (and any future siblings) for a long time! Thank you for always posting such thoughtful and exciting ideas for home and kids!


  2. Thanks so much, Kristen! That kitchen is the best! He’ll be so happy. Thanks for taking a minute to leave me a note. It makes my day :)

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