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Best Home Theater Seating: Movie Chairs Buying Guide

Updated: November 16, 2020

There are several things to consider when you are searching for the best home theater seating options for your room.

For a start, there a few different types of movie chairs to choose from.

From single recliners to loveseats. From sofas to multi-row split seating. Which one will be the right fit for your room?

But, that's not all. You must also think about the material of the seating. Which is the right type for you? And, what about accessories?

These additional features can add to the theater experience when you are watching a movie in your home.

In this article, I am going to help you understand the different choices that you have. Plus, along the way, I will highlight a few of the best home theater seats from some of my favorite brands.

Hopefully, you will get plenty of home theater seating ideas to help you get the best viewing experience in your room.

Home Theater Seats Comparison Table

Image Model Material Layout Options Powered: Recline / Headrest / Lumbar
Cavallo Coda Cavallo Coda Fabric / Bonded Leather / Top Grain Leather Row 2-5 + Loveseat ✔ / ✘ / ✘ Check Price
Palliser Collingwood Palliser Collingwood Top Grain Leather Row 2-6 + Loveseat ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Pantheon Big & Tall Seatcraft Pantheon Big & Tall Top Grain Leather Row 2-6 + Loveseat ✔ / ✔ / ✔ Check Price
Seatcraft Diamante Seatcraft Diamante Top Grain Leather Single Recliner ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Equinox Seatcraft Equinox Top Grain Leather Single Recliner ✔ / ✔ / ✔ Check Price
Red Barrel Studio Power Recliner Red Barrel Studio Power Recliner PU Faux Leather Single Recliner ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Venetian Seatcraft Venetian Top Grain Leather Row 2-6 + Loveseat ✔ / ✘ / ✘ Check Price
Latitude Run Curved Seating Latitude Run Curved Seating Bonded Leather Row of 4 ✔ / ✘ / ✘ Check Price
Valencia Piacenza Valencia Piacenza Top Grain Leather Row 2-5 + Loveseat ✘ / ✘ / ✘ Check Price
Latitude Run Loveseat Latitude Run Loveseat Top Grain Leather Row of 2 Loveseat ✔ / ✘ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Headline Seatcraft Headline Top Grain Leather Multimedia Sofa ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Capital Seatcraft Capital Performance Fabric Multimedia Sofa ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price
Seatcraft Dynasty Seatcraft Dynasty Leather Gel Row 2-6 + Loveseat ✔ / ✔ / ✘ Check Price

Home Theater Seating Buying Guide

Before you start, one of the best ways of reducing your choices is by thinking more generally about what you want. Once you know roughly what you are aiming for, you should find that you can pin-point your ideal home theater chair more easily.

So, to begin with, try thinking about the general style that you think would work best in your room.

Do you want a more homely look? Something that will blend easily into the décor of your room?

Or, maybe you want a more contemporary home theater design? Something that will stand out more as a dedicated piece of home theater furniture.

Comfortable seating in a home theater

Maybe you don't even want a dedicated 'home theater chair'?

While chairs and sofas that are designed specifically for a home theater have many advantages – some people are perfectly happy with a more traditional piece of living room furniture.

However, in this guide, I am going to focus on seats that are designed just for your home theater.

Let me take a more detailed look at some of your options.

Materials

When it comes to the materials, there are essentially three broad categories you will find with home theater seating:

  • Natural leather
  • Faux Leather
  • Fabric

Leather is probably the most common material that you will come across. However, there are different types.

Natural Leather

Natural leather is very commonly found when you research home theater chairs. And for good reason. It is warm and inviting to sit on for long periods and offers an elegant appearance that will look great in most rooms.

However, it can be confusing when selecting the perfect leather chair because there are different types of leather used. Each type offers advantages and disadvantages.

There are four main types of natural leather used in the production of furniture:

  • Full Grain Leather: the best quality leather that uses the top layer of the hide. It retains the grain and imperfections of the hide. It is expensive and not often found in home theater seating. It might be found in the absolute top-end of the market.
  • Top Grain Leather: this type uses the top layer of the hide and the surface is then sanded to remove the imperfections. It gives a smoother finish and is more flexible than full grain leather. The high-end leather in the best home theater chairs will most likely be this type and it offers a very high-quality finish.
  • Corrected Grain Leather: also known as split-grain leather. This is produced using the skin layers left after the top layers have been removed. It is usually tougher than leathers made from the top layers. This is less common in home theater furniture. 
  • Bonded Leather: made from leather leftovers and fibers and mixed with bonding materials. This mixture is then extruded onto a fiber sheet. The quality can vary, and this type can be prone to flaking over time. However, good quality bonded leather can still look great and last well. It may also be used in leather match home theater seats. Leather match furniture has 100% natural leather on the seating areas and armrests - and vinyl or bonded leather on the sides and back. This can reduce the cost.

There are several other types of leather that you may notice when researching furniture. These are produced with different processes and a varying amount of organic material. 

You might see reference to pigmented leather, aniline leather, semi-aniline leather and napa leather. These often refer to the methods used to color the leather – or the region in the world that they are produced. 

If you want some more information, this article gives a good overview of the different types of leather used in making furniture.

Faux Leather

Faux leather refers to a number of leather alternatives which are man-made materials that are created to look like real leather. A common material used in home theater seating is leather gel.

There are a few different types of faux leather – mainly PU and PVC leather

Although they aren't made from animal products, they provide many of the advantages of using real leather – such as durability and comfort.

It may also the perfect choice for animal-lovers.

As these materials are cheaper than real leather, they are a good option if you are looking for more affordable home theater furniture. 

They don't have the warmth and natural comfort of real leather, but they are perfectly good for producing quality furniture.

Fabric

The different fabrics commonly used for all types of seating for the home are also used for home theater seating. 

Your choice may just be down to the fact that you prefer the look or feel of fabric - rather than leather. Fabric home theater furniture may also fit more easily to the décor in your room.

You will often have a wider range of colors to choose from.

One of my favorite examples of excellent fabric home theater chairs is the Cavallo Coda range, pictured below.

Cavallo Coda Home Theater SeatsCavallo Coda Home Theater Seats
Image Credit: Cavallo
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Fabric furniture may also prove to be easier to maintain and clean. This can be important when you are looking for something that will last for years to come.

Colors

When it comes to getting the right furniture to fit in your room, getting the perfect color might be high on your list of priorities.

And, while there is a fairly wide choice to be had, you may find the colors that you can choose limited by the material.

If you are looking at leather home theater chairs, then many will only come in black or brown. Sometimes gray or cream.

However, some leather models are available in brighter colors such as red and blue.

A fabric finish will usually offer a greater selection of colors. So, this might play an important role in your decision-making. 

Features

Once you have decided on the best material and color for your home theater seating, you might be forgiven for thinking that you are nearly ready to buy.

But, not so fast. There is a wide range of features that you might want to consider before pulling out your credit card.

Getting the seating with exactly the right features can make or break your choice.

Powered or Manual Recline

Many of the best home theater seating options will have a reclining feature. To get the perfect position for an extended movie viewing session it can be ideal to push back and settle down into your chair.

If you want a seat that reclines back and supports your legs, you have a couple of choices.

Many chairs will have a manual recline feature. This is where you push the chair back into position yourself.

However, for the ultimate luxury when reclining, maybe look for a chair that has a powered recline feature. Settle back at the push of a button.

Powered Headrest

Another common powered option is the headrest. A power headrest will be able to adjust your head in several different positions.

This might save you grabbing the nearest cushion to prop up your head to just the right angle. 

A powered headrest can save all the bother and allow you to alter your head position with ease.

Palliser Collingwood Home Theater SeatsPalliser Collingwood Home Theater Seats
Image Credit: Palliser
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The Palliser Collingwood Home Theater Seats, pictured above, are a fine example of a top-quality chair with power headrests that will give you the perfect viewing position.

Powered Lumbar

Just when you thought you had your body in exactly the right position, you still might find things aren't quite right.

So, if the option to adjust the recline and headrest isn't enough, some home theater chairs also come with a powered lumbar feature.

This is where you can adjust the lower backrest to find the perfect position to support your back.

If you want total control over your body position then this can be a handy feature to get everything just right.

Seat Vibration

If you really want to take your viewing experience to another level, then you may want to consider a seat vibration system.

The idea is that every rumble and shake that happens in a movie or TV show will be transferred to your seat. Yes, that's right, your seat will vibrate along with the action on the screen.

One of the most popular systems for this is the SoundShaker Tactile Transducer Bass Shaker system.

SoundShaker Seat Vibration KitSoundShaker Seat Vibration Kit
Image Credit: SoundShaker
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The SoundShaker transmitter connects to your AV receiver via the subwoofer output connection.

It then sends a wireless signal to the Soundshaker amplifier which powers the transducers installed in each chair.

Check out their promotional video which will give you a better idea of what it's all about:

The SoundShaker system is currently compatible with seating from Seatcraft, Barcalounger and Jaymar.

LED Ambient Lighting

Some home theater seating has a built-in LED lighting system that will give an impressive ambient light around the chair.

Usually around the base – but also for armrest features like cup holders.

It can add an extra 'wow' factor to your room – without distracting from your on-screen enjoyment.

Of course, subtle lighting around the cup holders will help you find your drink when the lights are out!

USB Charging Ports

If you want the extra convenience of charging your mobile device or remote while watching a movie, then you might want to look out for USB ports.

In some chairs, a charging station is neatly built into the design and can save you running long cables across the room from your power sockets on the wall.

And, might save you tripping over the cables in the dark.

The USB ports are often located in hidden storage areas which will only be accessible when you want them. Other chairs may have them installed in an open face-plate on the side of the chair.

Check this out if it is important to you. For some people, an open faceplate might spoil the look of the chair.

Extra Large Sizes

Many home theater chairs have plenty of room for most people. However, if you are on the larger side – or you just want plenty of space to move around in – then some models come with extra-large dimensions.

For example, Seatcraft have their Big & Tall range of home theater seating. 

Seatcraft Pantheon Big & Tall Home Theater ChairsSeatcraft Pantheon Big & Tall Home Theater Chairs
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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These theater seats have a taller backrest, wider armrests and seating area, a reinforced wood frame and a longer recline position.

They also have base lighting, cup holders, USB ports and plenty of arm storage space.

There's no need to be uncomfortable if you take your time and buy the right size chair for your body.

Further Accessories

There is a further range of smaller accessories that you might want to consider. Some of these may be built into the chair or sofa. Others may be optional extras that you can install after delivery.

Some of these might be useful added extras:

  • fold-down tables
  • swivel table trays for snacks
  • storage compartments for remotes and cables
  • cup holders
  • reading light
  • tablet holder
  • extended neck pillow

Accessories like cup holders and storage will often be built into the chair itself. So, you may want to find a chair that offers this before you buy it.

Whereas extras like neck pillows and swivel trays may be able to be attached later. Some models do include some of these extras as part of the price.

Different Types of Home Theater Chairs

Now that you have an understanding of the fundamentals, you are in a better position to consider the different types of home theater seating options.

This is the final decision that you need to make before you are ready to make a purchase.

So, to get the best viewing experience in your room, what choice of home theater chairs do you have?

Single Recliners

A single home theater recliner is an excellent choice for many rooms. Nothing beats having your own space to fully enjoy watching a movie.

Of course, if you only need a seat for one person – placed in the prime position in the center of the viewing area – then a single recliner may be an obvious choice.

However, there is no reason not to buy 2 or 3 single recliners for more people.

Buying several single recliners means that each person gets their own space – and you have the flexibility to place them around the room in exactly the right position.

If you have the space in your room, there is no need to crowd them all together in one place. 

The Seatcraft Diamante leather home theater recliner pictured here is one of the best examples of a high-quality leather power recliner.

Seatcraft Diamante Leather Home Theater Power ReclinerSeatcraft Diamante Leather Home Theater Power Recliner
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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It comes with a powered recline and headrest feature. Made from genuine top grain leather, other features include:

  • high density foam padding
  • hidden in-arm storage space
  • LED-lit cup holders and base lighting
  • built-in SoundShaker bass shakers
  • swivel tray table

If that single recliner isn't to your taste, then how about another beautiful single power recliner by Seatcraft?

The Seatcraft Equinox single home theater recliner pictured below comes in red, brown or black leather.

Seatcraft Equinox Single Power ReclinerSeatcraft Equinox Single Power Recliner
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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This stylish single recliner is ideal for anybody looking for the ultimate luxury in their home theater seating.

It is made from premium top grain leather. With pocketed coil springs, the high density memory foam will offer many hours of comfortable viewing.

Other highlights of this seat include:

  • high resilience memory foam padding
  • powered lumbar that adjusts to several positions
  • push button recline with a range of positions
  • hidden armrest storage with a removable swivel tray
  • USB ports and power outlet inside arm storage area
  • built-in LED-lit cup holders
  • LED ambient base lighting

The great thing about home theater seating is there is a wide range of price points so there is something for everyone.

If the high-quality leather seats are more than you would like to pay, then look for a faux leather alternative that will be easier on the bank balance.

A great example is this single power home theater recliner:

Red Barrel Studio Power Home Theater ReclinerRed Barrel Studio Power Home Theater Recliner
Image Credit: Red Barrel Studio
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With power recline and power-adjustable headrest, this recliner is made from PU faux leather.

Other features include:

  • Arm compartment storage
  • Two stainless steel cup holders
  • USB port
  • Available in black, brown or white PU leather

These seats can be just as stylish as those made from real leather. But they will be cheaper to buy.

A Row of Individual Seats

If you want a more traditional theater look, then a row of individual seats might be a better choice.

A row of seats has the advantage of being a compact design that can be easily put in the best place for viewing.

They will also have the same style and so will look much better than a random collection of seats placed in your room.

Many brands offer various options when it comes to rows of individual seats.

You can choose from a small row of two seats – up to a long row of 4, 5 or even more seats.

For example, here is the Seatcraft Venetian row of leather recliners.

You can see here the row-of-3 version. However, you can order these seats in a row of 2 up to a maximum of 6 seats.

Seatcraft Venetian Row of 3 Leather ReclinersSeatcraft Venetian Row of 3 Leather Recliners
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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Made from top-grain leather, this is a great value seating set with plush padding and a full chaise footrest. Ideal for stretching right out and enjoying the entertainment.

This model comes with built-in cup holders and there are also removable swivel tray tables which you can orderly separately.

You will usually have the choice of a straight row of joined home theater seating. Or, in some cases, you can get them in a curved shape.

This Latitude Run curved leather home theater row seating is an excellent example of a large, curved row of seats.

Latitude Run Curved Leather Home Theater Row SeatingLatitude Run Curved Leather Home Theater Row Seating
Image Credit: Latitude Run
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With generous padding, this seating has push button power reclining for each seat.

The bonded leather cover is a comfortable and durable material that is easy to maintain. It is available in ultra black, luxe black or luxe cobblestone for a choice of colors.

There are also steel cup holders on each arm rest for easy placement of your beverage of choice.

Your choice between a straight and curved design will depend on the layout of your room and what you feel will work best in the space.

A curved row in a long run of seats might give a more intimate feel for everybody that is watching.

In general, a curved row of seats would be best for a large home theater room. But, for a smaller room, a straight row should work better.

Also, look out for the option for choosing how many armrests that you have in the row. You may want an armrest between every seat. Or, you might prefer to have a couple of seats together with no are rest in between.

Loveseats

If a full row of individual seats is a little too formal for you, you might want to think about including a loveseat.

A loveseat is where two seats are together with no armrest in between.

So, you can snuggle up with the one you love - or your spouse if you prefer. ;-)

The smallest design for a loveseat is a two-seat model. With armrests at either end, you can get many of the features offered with single seats - such as power recline.

The example below is the Valencia Piacenza Home Theater Loveseat.

This comes with premium top grain 9000 black leather, hidden storage and LED ambient lighting:

Valencia Piacenza Home Theater LoveseatValencia Piacenza Home Theater Loveseat
Image Credit: Valencia Theater Seating
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You can buy this model in several different layout options. From a row of 2 - to a row of 5 including a loveseat. 

This is a good thing to bear in mind.

If you find a seat that you like, don't assume that you can't get a loveseat version if you can't see a picture of it. Many brands will offer layout customization for many of their ranges.

Another idea for a loveseat is a row of 2 with an armrest in the middle.

This Latitiude Run home theater loveseat is a good example:

Latitiude Run Genuine Leather Home Theater LoveseatLatitiude Run Genuine Leather Home Theater Loveseat
Image Credit: Latitiude Run
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It comes with a shared central console between the two seats. This allows for a little more space between each person - and there is the bonus of an extra cup holder.

This chair is made from genuine top grain leather and comes with LED lighting, power recline and a padded chaise footrest.

It can also be purchased without the power recline - which can save you some money.

Another variation is a long row of seats - but with a loveseat included somewhere within the row.

Seatcraft Stanza Home Theater Chairs with Top Grain 7000 LeatherSeatcraft Stanza Home Theater Chairs with Top Grain 7000 Leather
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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For example, the excellent Seatcraft Stanza range, pictured above, can be configured with a loveseat in the middle. However, you can also get a row of up to 6-seats - with multiple loveseats if you wish.

Other features of the Seatcraft Stanza range are:

  • genuine top grain leather
  • high resilience memory foam padding
  • powered recline, headrest and lumbar
  • USB ports for charging and power
  • Soundshaker technology
  • included swivel trays
  • LED-lit cup holders and baselighting

It depends on the needs of your family. So, everyone will have to make their judgment based on their circumstances.

Sofas

A dedicated home theater sofa can be a great option if you want to balance the features of home theater seats and the look of 'normal' lounge furniture.

Some home theater sofas come with two or three seats joined together – some with a drop-down table in the middle.

The Seatcraft Headline multimedia sofa pictured below is one of the best examples of a high-quality home theater sofa.

Part of the Big & Tall series, it is covered with top grain leather 7000 and comes with powered recline and powered headrests.

The highlight is the central fold-down table which contains two cup-holders and USB ports.

The central table can be folded away to create an extra seat in the middle. You also have a hidden storage console in the armrests for keeping everything neat and tidy.

Seatcraft Headline Top Grain Leather Multimedia SofaSeatcraft Headline Top Grain Leather Multimedia Sofa
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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Other sofas have reclining chaise seats which have a more traditional look that you may be familiar with in any lounge.

A good example is the Seatcraft Capital multimedia sofa. As you can see from the picture below, it is covered with a light gray fabric that will fit into most living rooms.

Seatcraft Capital Multimedia SofaSeatcraft Capital Multimedia Sofa
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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However, the advantage of multimedia furniture like this it has all the accessories you would expect in a home theater seat:

  • high density foam padding
  • power headrest
  • USB ports for charging
  • hidden fold-down table
  • storage console

You can usually mix and match the number of standard recliners and chaise recliners to get a layout that is just right for your room.

So, the big advantage of these types of sofas is that they come with many of the extras that are typical for home theater seating. Such as power recline, folding tables and LED-lit cup holders and base rails.

Some of these are optional extras that you can add to your order to create a custom home theater sofa. Some come as part of the package. Just double-check that you order what you want before you checkout.

Many of the sofas also come in a wide range of materials. There are plenty of 100% leather sofas. But you can also find numerous fabric sofas in suede, velvet and chenille.

The Seatcraft Heavenly modular fabric sofa is one of the best I have seen. It can be ordered in numerous sizes and shapes.

Seatcraft Heavenly Modular SofaSeatcraft Heavenly Modular Sofa
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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You don't get many of the home theater accessories with this type of sofa - such as storage compartments, a cup holder or a USB port.

But, you do get a plush and extremely comfortable seating arrangement that will last for years to come. 

Multi-Row Split Seating

If you have plenty of room and are looking for a full-on home theater, then the only way to go is by getting multi-row home theater seating.

Many of the models that come in single rows can be ordered in multi-row versions. For example, you might want two in the front and three at the back.

The model pictured here is the Seatcraft Dynasty leather gel home theater seating - row of 2 and row of 3.

Seatcraft Dynasty Leather Gel Home Theater SeatingSeatcraft Dynasty Leather Gel Home Theater Seating
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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The rear rows will usually need to be raised above that of the front seats - just like in proper movie theaters. You don't want the people in the back looking directly into the seat in front of them. 

You can buy pre-made riser platforms for this purpose which can make the process a breeze.

You won't need too much height for a riser. The pre-built platforms are often around 7 to 14-inches high.

Of course, if you are a DIY whizz you can also build your own riser for the rear seats.

There is another way of tackling this problem.

Some brands have home theater seats which are built especially for lining up in rows. The front seats are a standard size – but the next row back is built to be much higher.

A good example is the Seatcraft Back Row range of home theater seats.

These are seats that have a 7-inch riser built-in. The extra height means that they can be easily placed behind a front row of standard-size home theater chairs.

Seatcraft Grenada Back Row Home Theater SeatsSeatcraft Grenada Back Row Home Theater Seats
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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This saves the trouble of buying or building a riser platform.

Alternative Home Theater Seats

If that isn't enough choice, then there are also one or two more unusual types of home theater seating ideas.

For example, Seatcraft has this interesting home theater cuddle seat.

Seatcraft Fabric Cuddle SeatSeatcraft Fabric Cuddle Seat
Image Credit: Seatcraft
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Made with premium Bella fabric - and available in black, chocolate and red - this round seat is filled with high resilience foam.

This creates a soft and durable base for anyone in the family to enjoy. Although, I imagine it will prove especially popular with the kids!

Conclusion

Building your very own home movie theater space can be a lot of fun.

While it's easy to focus on the technology, it doesn't need to stop at a big screen TV and surround sound system.

If you want to take your enjoyment to another level and get a real theater experience, then finding the best home theater chairs for your space can really hit the mark.

As we have learned, there is such a wide choice of home theater seating that it can be tough to know where to start.

But hopefully, this guide will provide the perfect introduction to all the options that you have.

From the materials and colors – to the types and accessories. You have everything that you need to get the best experience for your movie viewing.

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About Home Cinema Guide

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has worked as a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment.


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