Generally speaking there are four categories of seating you can use in your home theater; Conventional household seating, authentic theater seating, home theater seating and custom seating. Let's look at each.
Conventional Household Seating. This category encompasses the seating options that are commonly found in the home. Sofas, sectionals, overstuffed chairs, etc., can all be options for home theater rooms. For most home theater owners, the reason to use conventional seating is because the home theater room does double duty as a family room, or play room, during the day and more dedicated theater seating designs would hinder the room's alternate activities. The other issue is cost. Using conventional seating, particular if one already owns the seats, can be less expensive than dedicated theater seating.
Authentic Theater Seating. Several firms offer commercial-style theater seats to the public. One of the most well known is Irwin Seating. Irwin Seating has been in the business of producing commercial seating since 1907 and offers several of their commercial models to the home theater market. Their Celebrity Rocker seats, for example, are a fixed seat (bolted to the floor), and offers a contemporary thick-cushioned megaplex-like look. Their Marquee series seats, also a fixed model, have the look of classic tufted velvet theater seating, and their Springfield seats offer a beautiful Victorian design complete with cast aluminum period supports and solid oak armrests. Borrowing from the design of its popular Marquee line, Irwin has also designed a new model, the Ambassador solely for home theater applications. Prices for Irwin seats range from $395 to $695 per chair.
Home Theater Seating. For those who want seating designed for home theaters but more along the line of large, comfortable, stratolounger-style furniture, several companies rise to the occasion. First Impressions Design and Management, Inc., for example, offers their very comprehensive CineLounger collection. This line of seating is designed for comfort, but the styling is definitely theater-like (see our illustrations). The series offers recliner and incliner mechanisms, beverage holders (in acrylic, glass or solid marble), illuminated glass end panels, specialty detailing like exotic woods and veneer trim, and each chair can be covered from a custom selection of several hundred fabrics and leathers. As we mentioned previously, many of the Cineloungers can be custom ordered to be installed along a pre-designed seating radius for comfortable sightlines. Contact First Impressions for details.
Another firm, Acoustic Innovations, offers their CinemaChair line with a similar overstuffed recliner design. The CinemaChairs offer two recline positions and dozens of fabric and leather choices. One of the first firms to enter the period home theater design business, Theater Design Associates, offers their DreamLounger line of seating. DreamLoungers are also available in a multitude of fabrics and are unique in that they can be ordered in custom seat widths and designs. Front row love seat anyone?
Custom Seating. If none of the above interests you than you might want to go the total custom route. Black Canyon Design Group, a custom furniture manufacturer located in Parker, Colorado, is a good source for custom theater seats. Their owner, Dan Mick, offers a unique opinion of home theater design, one that is reflected in his seats. "Home theaters are all designed backwards", he says, "they are environments where people sit down to enjoy audio and video presentations. If the seating isn't designed right, and installed right, then the whole point is missed. Proper seating is the difference between an average home theater and a great one". As a result, Black Canyon Designs approaches their seat designs with a philosophy; extremely comfortable. Several "standard" designs, the Odyssey, Classic and Roosevelt are currently offered, but from-the-ground-up custom designs are commonly constructed for clients.