VelvetHow many times have you been sitting in a friends super new Home Theatre room and been shown everything from skyscraping stacks of power amps to voice controlled dimmers and electric screens or even real live bunny girls serving pop corn & drinks?  But no matter how much sexy electric leather there is, something is still missing from the room?  Well then Electric Velvet may be what's missing!  Take any room and cover the walls with beautiful red velvet curtains that go floor to ceiling and wall to wall, even if you just have a simple TV in the room, people will always say "Wow, this feels like a real theatre, what are we going to watch?".  The reason it feels like a real theatre is simply that it looks and sounds like a real theatre and this transformation can be done for very little cost compared to the rest of the rooms contents.  In a multi purpose room, just add electric curtain tracks, and your ready for anything!  In my opinion, this addition to my Home Theatre equipment has added more value to the entire system than any other part of the room or its equipment.  It gives a whole new look & feel for watching films and improves the sound more than you could imagine!

The Velvet

Joann Fabric and Craft StoresThe required supply of velvet is as close as your local Joann Fabric and craft store.  The velvet comes in several colors and if you really wanted to go to town, the electric curtain tracks described below can accommodate two sets, so you could change the color at the touch of a button!  Ruby Red is the usual classic color found in most all theatres so this is what we have.  The velvet normally goes for about $25 a yard where that yard in length is 48" wide.  Once finished, the curtains need to be gathered by at least 1.5 times or more, so the most width you would have in the finished curtain is about 32".  So if your ceilings are 8ft in height, you would need about 3 yards of material for each drop including the hem at the bottom and the and the tape at the top.  So if you had a 20ft long wall to cover, you would need 8 drops of 3 yards each which is 24 yards at about $600.00 plus the cost of making them.  Well, if you keep a lookout, every now and then Joann has a sale and you can get this stuff for just $14.99 a yard!

The Tracks

The curtain tracks that I use are Makita and these are the best there are.  Click here to see some examples.  In most cases, the ones to get are the 18 foot single tracks.  This will be enough length for most rooms and you can always get extra tracks.  These things are made with the same quality as Makita power tools and the ones I have had running for over eight years now are still working with no problems.  You can just point the remote in the direction of the motor that you want to run or you can get a contact closure interface that can be connected to X10 or any other home automation system, or of course you can cable out infrared senders to each motor.  To be honest, while I have some significant home automation equipment, I have never felt the need to go any further than just pointing the remote at the curtain I want to operate.  If you hit the button and pan it across the room, each motor starts in turn and it looks real cool!  Once installed, the motors are hidden behind the curtains and the remote control just goes straight through.

The Lights

To improve the effect even more, if you build a pelmet under which to fix the tracks, rope light can also be added just inside the bottom lip of the pelmet to shine on the velvet.  This looks really cool and if you add an X10 dimmer, you can lower the brightness when the projector screen comes down for a real Theatre Mode in the room.