Home Front: Media rooms an inexpensive way to entertain

Video: Building a media room on a budget

SEATTLE - The economy may have your family thinking about building out a media room to cut down on the cost of movies and concerts.

Remodeling a room in your home can be done without running up a Hollywood-style budget.

A 60-inch flat-screen TV is the focal point of Elodie and Al Morse's new media room.

"I wanted to be able to watch more TV, just the two of us and relax, and we don't have a family room upstairs," Elodie Morse said.

But Elodie's occupation provided another motivation for remodeling.

"I also am a realtor, so I wanted to make this room, I thought, for resale value too, so some of the things we've done is create this for a future family," she said.

Enter interior designer Wendy Albee, who mixed up a new plan for the 620-square-foot rec room that doubled as a cluttered storage area. Now it stores the Morses' entertainment needs.

The bar area got a splash of style and granite tile while adding a sink and a refrigerator. Albee also heated up the fireplace area with more granite tile, less brick, and two bookcases. Now it's a cozy reading mini-library.

Low ceilings like you'd find in many a basement were indeed a challenge.

"Designers have secrets to make a space look larger," said Albee, of Albee Interior Design. "You can raise the height of a room by, we put detail on the crown molding, that red accent, so it makes your eye go up so it actually feels taller We actually raised the height of the room by going all the way up to the ceiling with the granite design."

That granite cost $10 a square foot, not $35 as the Morses originally wanted. Another reason, Wendy says, to seek out an experienced designer.

"They know where all the cool stuff is, and I pass along discounts to clients if I can buy it wholesale," she said.

Wendy also recommends wireless speaker systems that keep you from tearing up a wall for wiring.

Anything to stay within budget and to remember the real reason why you'd want to build out a media room in the first place.

"People are not going out and spending their money for dining and for entertaining and for movies, and so here's a great room where they can entertain," Wendy said.

Wendy Albee says including materials and labor, the Morses' media room cost about $50,000, but that's because their room was not in good shape to begin with.

If you've got a basement or rec room that doesn't need a lot of demolition, you can bring that price down to between $20,000 and $30,000.


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