How to Wire Your Home Theater for Optimal Sound and Minimal Clutter

Choose the Right Speaker Placement

The most important factor in getting great sound from your home theater is proper speaker placement. The speakers should be positioned at ear level when you are seated, and spaced evenly apart. The front left and right speakers should be placed at a 60-90 degree angle from the central seating position. The surround and rear speakers should be placed just behind and to the sides of the seating area. Proper placement will ensure you get a surround sound effect that immerses you in the action.

Hide Unsightly Wires

Once you have your speakers positioned correctly, you'll need to run wires from each speaker back to your AV receiver or amplifier. To avoid clutter, conceal these wires in inconspicuous places. Run them under area rugs or carpet, behind baseboards or crown molding, through walls or ceilings, or inside wire channels on the floor. This will keep the wires out of sight so they don't detract from your home's aesthetics. You can also bundle longer wire runs together with velcro straps or cable sleeves for a neater, more organized appearance.

Use Wireless Speakers When Possible

Wireless speakers are a great way to avoid running wires across your room altogether. Sound quality has improved dramatically in wireless speakers, so you don't have to sacrifice performance. For smaller surround or rear speakers, wireless is a convenient option. However, wireless can introduce latency, so it's best to use wired speakers for your front left and right channels. Combining wired front speakers with wireless rears and surrounds gives you solid sound without wires.

Invest in In-Wall Wiring

For a completely hidden install, run in-wall speaker wires before drywall goes up. This involves fishing wires through walls and ceilings to each speaker location. Though more labor intensive, in-wall wiring is the most discreet option. If your home is already finished, you can cut small holes in walls to fish wires between studs. Just be sure to patch and paint when done. Pre-wiring during construction is ideal, but in-wall wires can be added to existing homes with a little extra work.

Use Powered Subwoofers

Powered subwoofers have a built-in amplifier, eliminating the need to run hefty speaker cables from your AV receiver. Since a subwoofer requires more power than other speakers, its cables are thicker and less flexible. Powered subs only need an RCA or speaker level connection to get signal from your receiver. This single, thinner cable can be easily concealed. Place your sub near a power outlet and run the signal cable along baseboards or under carpet edges.

Conceal Components in Cabinets

AV receivers, Blu-ray players, streaming boxes and other gear can be neatly hidden away in cabinets, instead of displaying wires and gadgets out in the open. Built-in cabinets or closets around your screen are ideal locations. This cleans up the look of your home theater while also protecting components from dust and curious hands. Just be sure to allow airflow so receivers and amplifiers don't overheat. Cabling can also be routed through small holes or conduits in the back of cabinets for total concealment.

With careful planning and strategic wire routing, you can set up an amazing home theater experience while maintaining a clean, visually pleasing environment. Following these tips will help minimize clutter and let you fully focus on enjoying the show. Proper placement provides optimal sound, and concealing cables keeps the room looking polished. Invest a little extra effort into a wire-free install, and your home theater will look as good as it sounds.