Hidden away - through a discrete doorway in a dining room, this SONA home cinema delivers a magical experience, transporting you out of the house and into the action on screen with a 4K projection system and Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound system.

CEDIA Awards 2018
Best Home Cinema (under £40,000) / FINALIST

The Brief

As part of a whole home technology installation, the homeowner was keen from the very outset that their home should feature a cinema space that was a level above just a generic surround sound system in the lounge and wanted to create a room where friends and family could retreat and feel like they were in another world.

The room given to us to create this experience was relatively small (5m x 3.5m) and the client wanted to feel as immersed in the action as possible, and also wanted the room to feature the latest surround formats.  It was also requested that the room was able to seat 5-7 people in comfort.


Our Solution

As with all our home cinema projects, the process starts with our designers creating a CAD drawing of the space, and initially placing seating, speaker and screen positions to check that the clients requirements can be met from a technical perspective.  Creating a CAD layout of the room in this way, with floor, wall and ceiling plans enables us to overlay speaker position specifications such as the Dolby Atmos guidelines and immediately see where speakers need to be positioned and if there are any obstructions or obstacles to overcome.

As the structure of this room was already in place in terms of the floor, walls and ceiling we were limited to being able to fit equipment within the existing structural elements.  Fortunately, with the preferred listening position allocated, we were able to confirm that the room was suitable for a Dolby Atmos configuration, and after discussion the client, a 7.1.2 configuration was agreed upon.

This speaker placement plan uses 3 front, 2 side surround and 2 rear surround channels (indicated by the 7) – a single subwoofer channel (indicated by the .1) – and 2 height channel speakers (indicated by the .2).

(Home Theatre Speaker Guide from

You can read about one of our other home cinema projects, which features a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos configuration here.

Beyond the speaker placement, our design team created a layout based on 2 rows of seating, including a raised platform at the rear of the room to lift the rear seating and ensure that people on the lower level didn’t obstruct the view of those on the back row.  Having the room drawn in CAD enabled us to confirm the exact height this platform needed to be for sight lines to be kept clear.

As part of our design process we also created 3D mock-ups of the front wall of the cinema room to give the client a relative view of the size of screen in the space and understand how it fitted within the room.

The rest of this property features a comprehensive lighting control system which extends into the cinema and separate circuits for the ceiling coffer, niche spot lighting, feature wall lights and general down lights allow us to create preset scenes which can be selected at the push of a button from the wall keypad or from the handheld remote.
The system automatically triggers these lighting scenes depending on the source being watched and the time of day.


The Process

We have some images of the room during the initial platform construction showing the dramatic conversion from bare brick work.  You can click on the images to open a slideshow with further details on each image.



The true magic of this cinema is its unexpectedness, the careful choice of colour and intimate seating transport you to another place as soon as you step foot inside.  Once the door closes and the system comes alive you are literally drawn into the screen and whatever you are watching  This system shows what is achievable in a small space and with a modest budget when the system is designed from the ground up in every detail and careful planning goes into each element.

In addition to the local Blu-Ray player and Playstation 4, this system also provides audio and video from central SkyQ and Apple TV sources through the house-wide Ultra HD video distribution system and users are also able to view images from the high definition CCTV system which covers the property directly on the large screen.

The room is controlled from a simple and intuitive hand-held controller, where a single button press automatically turns on the projector and starts dimming the lighting, switching on the surround amplifier and providing direct control of the source from the handset.



About SONA

SONA are an award-winning home technology provider, providing services across the UK.  We offer a complete cinema design and installation package, and can take care of every element, including the technical design, room decor and lighting design, construction, wiring, decoration and carpeting, including co-ordination with existing trades if you already have interior designers, furniture makers and decorators you work with.

If you’d like more information or a conversation regarding a project you’re involved in or looking at in the future you can email us: and you can find all our contact details including links to our social media pages here.

You can also read about the other services we offer here, and view some of our previous projects here.