Friday, March 30, 2012

Tips for Keeping Track of Remotes

The only question heard more often in a home theater than “What’s on?” is “Where’s the remote?” For legless, inanimate objects, they seem to disappear with frustrating frequency. Don’t panic. Once you’ve located your wandering remote, taming it is a lot easier than getting it away from the man of the house.

  • Bag’em. Hang a cloth bag like those used for magazines over the arm of one of your theater seats. Hang it on the right for most people and on the left for southpaws. Once reaching down for the remote as you sit becomes a habit, so will dropping it back in the bag when it’s not in use.

  • Box’em. Gather all of your remotes together if you have more than one, and place them in a decorative basket or box on the coffee table. Many home theater stores and office supply places offer a wide variety of choices ranging from pretty cloth-covered baskets to more masculine-looking leather boxes. Even a clean and empty coffee can covered with shelf paper works because people are more likely to put things back where they belong if they have a definite home.

  • In Extreme Cases. If someone in your household keeps the remote in hand as they head for the kitchen for snacks, attach a curly cord to your home theater furniture at one end and the remote at the other. Self-adhesive Velcro dots are great for this, but remember to stick them inside the arm of the chair or sofa down near the cushion where they won’t show.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Maintaining Your Home Theater Furniture

Enjoying movies, TV or the big game in your very own home theater seats offers a level of comfort you can’t get in a theater. The only thing missing is the cleaning crew to whisk away stray popcorn and clean up sticky spills. Not to worry. Whether your theater seating is upholstered in cloth or leather, it’s simple to keep it fresh without wearing yourself out.
  • Preventive Care. Drape a cloth-backed plastic tablecloth over your toddler’s favorite theater seat to make family movie night a little less nerve-wracking if you like to serve snacks. A placemat draped over the arm of a chair can help prevent stains from plates. Tuck a basket in the corner for shoes to avoid scratches from buckles and stains from soles.
  • Spot Cleaning. Blot spills immediately with a paper towel, dishtowel or clean cloth diaper. Use a mixture of mild detergent to and water to clean cloth upholstery. Leather cleaner is safest for leather upholstery. Apply a little bit of either on a clean cloth and gently blot the spill. Blot the spot again with a clean, damp cloth. Keep blotting with a clean cloth until the area is dry.
  • Maintenance. Consistent upkeep is the best way to keep your theater seats in first-run condition. Vacuum beneath cushions once a month if you have no small children or pets, and once a week if you do. Dust leather home theater furniture with a soft cloth. Clean cupholders with a damp cloth or moist towelette.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tips for Hosting Home Theater Parties

Movies used to be a social occasion for all ages, from packs of kids piling into a Saturday matinee through first dates for young sweethearts to date nights for busy moms and dads. These days movies are just as likely to be watched at home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be social.

  • Cast of Characters. It’s important to ask dinner guests about preferences before a dinner party, and movie night is no different. Some people can’t handle suspense or gore, while others are bored if there’s not an explosion in the first five minutes. Invite people with similar tastes, values and senses of humor so no one gets an unwelcome surprise. It’s also best to keep it light unless you’re sure that everyone is up for a tear-jerker or tough drama.

  • Set-up. Whether you serve dinner before the show or during, do as much of the prep work beforehand as you can. It’s hard to concentrate on a good conversation or a twisty plot if you’re jumping up every few minutes to check what’s on the stove. Toss a small tablecloth over the coffee table or set up a folding table near your home theater seats for extra napkins, condiments and drinks to help keep the interruptions to a minimum if you’re dining in front of the screen.

  • Main Theme. Keep it simple. One-dish meals, sandwiches, pizza and other finger foods are far less trouble if you’re eating during the film. Avoid anything that requires a knife to keep the noise level down. Coordinate the meal with the movie for a little extra fun. Cowboy flicks are complemented by chili and all the fixin’s, while classic French farce goes well with quiche and hot baguettes.

  • Twist Ending. Serve fresh fruit and cheese along with simple cookies for dessert. It’s not only healthy; it’s easier on your home theater seating to serve mess-proof treats like pear and apple slices or grapes. Or move the party to the dining room where you can talk about the movie over coffee and cake.

With a little planning and a bit of preparation, you can have all the fun of movie-going without the hassle of crowds, high prices or those clueless few who won’t turn off their cell phones. More movie party ideas can be found in this article.