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Home Theater Seating Shop Talk


Magic Tree Theater Seating Plan

Select Seating has attempted to answer many of your home theater questions with our Home Theater Shop Talk page. If there is something else you need to know, or if you would just like to chat about our theater seat solutiions available - please do not hesitate to call us at 207-200-6274. We will be happy to discuss your seating project with you. We've been providing commercial and residential theater seat solutions for over 30 years combined, and we're more than happy to pass our expertise and experience on to you.

Q: Tell me about Select Seating.

A: We are much more than just another theater seating internet retailer. We have been in the business of selling, installing, and refurbishing theater seats for over 30 years combined. We're talking about decades of actual hands-on experience with all kinds of theater seating projects all over North America.  Our goal is to pass our experience on to you so that you get the chairs you want and your installation is as simple as possible.

Q: How comfortable are our chairs?

A: Chair design has undergone a bit of a renaissance. There have been many improvements in the rocking mechanisms and, more importantly, in back design. The result is a chair that is at once anatomically correct and comfortable. Our chairs are designed to keep you in an ideal and comfortable viewing position.  The large overstuffed loungers that are ubiquitous on-line are great for taking a nap.  Our chairs are great for watching a movie!  Many of our customers have called us to say how comfortable they thought the chairs were. We are sure you will agree.

Q: How durable are these chairs?

A: These are commercial theater chairs that have be subjected to independent testing by Intertek. They are built to withstand the sort of intense use they will see in theaters. In your home theater they will provide you with many years of trouble-free comfort and service. Whether in a commercial environment or your home, our chairs are backed by a 5-year warranty.

Q: What fabrics are available?

A: In short, anything! Our standard fabric is called Marquesa Lana. It is a woven fabric that is very durable, easy to clean, and is available in about 50 colors. We offer the entire fabric line to our home theater customers, not just a few colors! We also offer synthetic leathers and top grain leathers. We have even used cowhide for a customer in Texas! Also, you can supply your own fabric. This is often done when working with an interior designer or architect. You can find links to the color options on the web pages for the individual chairs.

Q: How do I choose my fabric color?

A: You can select the fabric color from the on-line resource, or we will happily mail a fabric booklet to you. Our preference is to mail the booklet to you so there is no confusion about the color or the quality or hand of the fabric. Once you have the booklet, you can compare the swatches to your wall coverings and carpet under the light source that is in your room. This will help you eliminate any questions about color rendition.

Q: How long does it take to get the chairs?

A: All orders are custom orders.  You choose each option on the chair, and you aren't limited to just a few fabric colors.  Production time for theater seating is usually 5 - 6 weeks followed by about 10 - 12 days in transit. This can vary throughout the year. Orders placed after September as we approach the holiday season can experience additional lead time.

Q: How do I determine the width of a row of chairs?

A: The chair widths listed on our web site are measured from the centerlines of the armrests. To find the outside-to-outside width of a row of rockers, multiply the number of chairs in your row by the width of the chair, then add 6".

Drilling template for Concorde Rocker theater seat

As an example, this drawing shows the chair widths for the Concorde Rocker theater seat. The distances between the centerlines of the arm rests are shown on the drawing and in the table as "K".

At each end of the row there is an additional 3" required to account for the distance past the centerline of the arm to the outside edge.

So, a row of four 24" wide chairs would require ((4 x 24") + 6") = 101" (8' - 5"). This is the outside-to-outside dimension required for this row.

Or, a row of three chairs at 23" width would require ((3 x 23") + 6") = 75" (6' - 3").

For a row of the Plus chairs, you will follow the same procedure except you will add 7" to each row.


Drilling template for Convention theater seat

The calculation is a little different for some fixed-back chairs. Refer to the drawing for the Convention theater seat shown here. Notice that the centerline distances between the arm rests of the center standards are shown on the drawing and the table as "J", but the distance at the end standards is shown as "K". And, there is an additional 2-½" needed to account for the distance past the centerline of the arms at each end.

So, a row of five 22-⅛" seats would have three center chairs and two end chairs and would require (3 x 22.125") + (2 x 22.625") + 5" = 116.625" (9' - 8.625").

Don't worry if math isn't your favorite subject. Call us, and we will walk you through any measurements you need.

Q: How far apart should I space the rows?

A: We recommend 42" minimum to 44" between rows of rockers. If you have the room you can expand this up to 46" - 48". This extra spacing between chairs is often used in assisted living facilities when additional space for walkers is needed. For rows of fixed-back chairs we recommend 36" - 40". It should be noted that when we specify row spacing we are making measurements from identical points on the rows, usually the front anchors on the standards. This is sometimes called row spacing or "back-to-back spacing." Here are a couple of examples:

Theater seat rocker row spacing

In this drawing we are showing the Alessandria Rocker with a 40.5" back height. When we are taking measurements between rows, we are measuring between the Size Lines of the rows. The Size Line is a line that runs laterally across the rows. It is on this line that the front anchors are placed for the chairs. You can see the Size Line shown in this drawing and noted in the drilling templates above.

We recommend 42" minimum between rows with 44" being ideal.  For clarity, we have also shown that the distance will be repeated between the same point on the backs of the chairs.  This is why the measurement is often called "back-to-back" spacing even though, in the field, it is never measured there.

Please contact us for ideal spacing between rows and in front of walls for your specific chair model. We are happy to provide drawings to assist you in planning your room.

Rows spacing for Convention theater seat

For smaller fixed-back chairs like the Convention theater seat, we recommend 36" between rows. You can increase this to 38" - 40" if you have the available space.

As with the rocker drawing, we have shown the 36" row spacing as measured between the Size Lines. And, we have shown that the measurement translates to the distance between the same point on the backs, what is called "back-to-back" spacing.

Again, please contact us for ideal spacing between rows and walls for your specific chair model.

Q: Can you further explain what the Size Line is?

Drawing showing the size line for theater seats

The Size Line is a line marked on the floor that indicates the location of a row of chairs.  Every row will have a Size Line.  Every theater chair standard (leg) will have one or more holes in the front and back of the foot of the standard.  It is the front hole(s) of the foot of the standard and the associated anchors that are placed on the Size Line.

The distance between the standards is determined by the width of the chair.  This distance is used to mark the standard centerlines.

Distances between rows and from rows to front or rear walls are always measured in the field at the Size Lines of a row.

Q: Where should I place my rows?

A: There are two things that will impact the placement of your chairs. First is your screen size. The general rule is that the optimal viewing distance is about 1.5 times the diagonal screen dimension. So, the optimal viewing distance from a 60" diagonal screen would be about 90". Therefore, your first row of chairs would be placed about 90" from a screen of this size. However, this is just a general rule. Many people find they are comfortable with a slightly closer viewing distance and some wish to be further away. In addition, if you will be installing chairs in  a larger media room, you may want to move your first row slightly closer to the screen so your subsequent rows are not so far away. Before you install your chairs, it may be beneficial to watch a few shows at different distances from your screen to see what you prefer.

Second, is the placement of your back chairs relative to a rear wall. If you are placing an aisle behind your back row, then you can simply determine how much aisle space you want and place your chairs accordingly. However, if your back row of chairs is being placed against a rear wall, it is important that the chairs be installed at the proper minimum distance from the wall. This is especially important with rockers so that the full range of rocking motion is allowed. Most rockers should be placed about 25" - 26" forward of a wall. Please note that this distance is measured from the wall to the front anchor (Size Line) on the chair standard and will vary slightly depending on the chair model. Please contact us for the specific measurement for your chair.

Sectional drawing of a home theater room

Let's take an example of a home theater room with two rows of chairs and a screen with a 65" diagonal screen measurement.

The first row of chairs is placed 97.5" (8' - 1.5") from the screen which is 1.5x the diagonal screen measurement. Since this home theater room is using a rocker, the second row is placed 44" behind the first row, and the second row is placed 25" forward of the rear wall so the full range of rocking motion is allowed.

A few other items to note:  A riser was built to assist with the sight line of the second row. The riser was chosen to be 7" high. This riser height required that the riser face be placed 12.5" behind the Size Line of the first row.

It is important that the riser face be far enough back so that it does not impede the rocking motion of the row in front of it. But, it also must be tucked under the downward projection of the rear of the back so that a person walking between rows is naturally pushed away from the edge of the riser as a matter of safety.

We know no room will be identical to the room in this example. That is why we offer our design services free of charge to all home theater customers.  

Q: Should I build risers, and how should they be built?

A: Most home theater customers will install risers to get the proper sight lines. The height of the risers depends on a couple of things. Naturally, a low room ceiling will limit how high the risers can be built. Also, the higher your screen is off the floor, the lower your risers can be. For most applications you will find that framing your riser with 2x4s or 2x6s is sufficient. It is important, though, to top the risers with TWO sheets of 3/4" plywood. Since chairs installed on risers must be anchored with lag screws, it is important to have a sufficient thickness of wood for the lag screw to bite into. One sheet of plywood is simply not enough for long term stability. Please feel free to call us to discuss the specific details of your installation.

Q: I'm putting carpet on my risers. Should I put the carpet down before installing the chairs?

A: Yes. Lay the carpet, then install the chairs. Our installation instructions will provide you with all the information you will need to install the chairs, but here is a quick tip if you are using a berber or commercial carpet. When you have determined where the standards will be placed, use a felt tip pen to mark on the carpet where the lag screws or anchors will be drilled. Remove the standard, and use a short length of 1/2" conduit to punch out a hole in the carpet where you have marked or use a carpet knife to cut out a 1/2" x 1/2" square of the carpet where the anchor will be drilled. You don't need to be precise. Creating this cut in the carpet will ensure that you don't pull a run in the carpet when you drill for the lag screws or anchors. This step is not necessary if you are using a cut pile carpet. If you are using lag screws on wood, it will be helpful to drill a pilot hole into the wood for the lag screw.

Q: Where do I get the mounting hardware for the chairs?

A: We provide all mounting hardware and installation instructions with each order. Plus, we will provide all the phone support you need.

Q: Why do you not offer on-line ordering?

A: We have considered this. However, we realize that buying and installing theater chairs is not like buying a sweater. We know you have questions, and we are happy to answer them. We didn't see the point of having you place your order on-line only then to have to call us with your questions.

We certainly enjoy speaking with our clients, so feel free to call us or send us an email anytime!

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 5:00PM Eastern Time Zone

Mailing Address:

Select Seating Inc.

PO Box 84

Scarborough, ME  04070

Sales Support Line:  207-200-6274

Fax: 207-805-7667

Email:  sales@selectseating.net

Select Seating Inc. is a North American commercial seating and home theater chair distributor and installer of high quality seating solutions for theaters, home theaters, performing arts, auditoriums, arenas, churches, synagogues, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, government, businesses, schools, universities and colleges.  Our expert sales, seating plan/engineering and seating installer teams continue to offer our customers over 30 years of the highest quality select seating solutions customer service available in North America and abroad!

Select Seating  -  We'll Seat You Right!