15 Things You Need for the Perfect Movie Night at Home
You need more than just popcorn and a movie to create a fun and unforgettable movie night experience. But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered.
One lesson we learned during the pandemic was the importance of recreating our favorite experiences at home. Many people are now heading back to movie theaters. However, a lot of us decided that it is not only safer, but also more fun, to host movie parties at home.
It’s easy to point and click your remote to start a movie, but the perfect movie night entails so much more than that. You need the right equipment and accessories to ensure that everyone can see, hear, and thoroughly enjoy the at-home movie experience. Whether you’re planning for a party of two or a party of 12, these are the 15 things you need for the perfect movie night.
1. LG OLED C1 Series 65” TV
We love going to the movie theater because of the larger-than-life experience, and the LG OLED C1 Series does a darn good job of reproducing the same effect at home. I should know, because I have the 55-inch model in my home. And LG is on Bob Vila’s list of the best TV brands of 2021. If you have the space, I recommend the LG OLED C1 Series 65” TV, although the company also makes both larger sizes (77-inch and 83-inch) and a smaller size (48-inch). OLED (or organic LED) TVs are designed to work really well in dark rooms, and create breathtakingly vivid colors and sharp contrast between light and dark images. The LG OLED C1 Series also has Dolby Cinema and built-in Alexa and Google Assistant. In addition, it has built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and other popular streaming platforms.
2. Bose Smart Soundbar 900
The picture is only part of the perfect movie night. Audio is the other half of the equation. The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 will make you think you’re in an actual movie theater. That’s because it has Dolby Atmos surround sound, and I can attest that you not only hear the sound, you feel it—which is what you want when creating the perfect movie night at home. Bose is known for its high-quality audio products (in fact, it tops our list of the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers of 2021). The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the company’s newest soundbar, kitted out with a seven-speaker arrangement. For so much power, you might expect it to be bulky. However, it has such a sleek, low profile that it actually looks good underneath the TV. In addition, it has another neat feature: its Voice4Video technology lets you control the soundbar and also the TV/cable with voice commands.
3. Anker Nebula Capsule Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector
One fun alternative to using a TV is to show a movie using a projector. These devices can be rather bulky and hard to use and store. However, the Anker Nebula Smart Capsule Max Mini Projector weighs 1.60 pounds and is only 5.9 inches in height and 3.14 inches in diameter. It can even fit in your backpack so you can be the life of the party wherever you go—or loan it to your family members and friends. But don’t let the small size fool you. It can project up to a 100-inch image in 720p. And 200 lumens allow the mini projector to brighten up even low light settings. You can mount the mini projector on a tripod or just set it on a table. The included Smart OS provides access to Netflix and other streaming services. One charge provides 4 hours of viewing time, and you can connect devices to the mini projector either wirelessly or via HDMI and USB cables (and also connect via screen mirroring).
4. PropVue 100” Projector Screen With Stand
If you’re using a projector, you can show a movie on a wall, or even on the ceiling. But for optimal viewing, we recommend a projector screen with a stand, which provides enough versatility to place it almost anywhere. The PropVue Projector Screen is sturdy enough to use either indoors or out. Also—and this is important—the screen is made of wrinkle-free material, so you can focus on the movie, instead of being distracted by creases in the screen. The height adjustment sleeve makes it easy to move the screen up or down, and the locking handle keeps it in place once you’ve set it. The tripod and stand also come with a carry bag to make it easy to transport and store.
5. Denon AVR-S540BT Receiver
An AV receiver can bring all of your AV equipment (TV, speakers, and even record player) together, producing dynamic visuals and sound. The Denon AVR-S540BT is a budget-priced receiver that punches above its weight. The 5.2-channel home theater receiver is compatible with 4K TVs, as well as HDR, and supports Dolby Vision. Regarding audio, whether you have Dolby or DTS, you’re covered. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to set up the receiver, don’t be, since it has an onscreen setup assistant including a room calibration process at the end. You can connect to the receiver via the five HDMI inputs, in addition to two optical and one coaxial audio input. And since the receiver also lets you stream music wirelessly, you can play your favorite tunes before and after the movie.
6. Govee Smart LED Strip Lights
Strip lights are a fun way to set the mood for movie night. Govee Smart LED Strip Lights can be used to backlight your TV, or you can use them on the edges of tables, sofas and chairs, on the walls—the possibilities are endless. The strip includes 65.5 feet of rope, and you can change the colors using voice commands or via the Govee Home App. The light strip even has a microphone that can detect and sync the lights to different types of music. We love these lights so much that they top our list of the best LED light strips of 2021. In addition to light strips, Govee makes uniquely-shaped table lamps that can also help create the perfect movie night. I have one and it’s definitely a conversation starter because when it’s off, it looks like a clear bowl full of milk—tilted at an angle. However, when it’s on, it can be changed to any color. The lamp is charged via USB cable, and when fully charged, it’s portable and can provide 4.5 hours of light. You can put them on the floor, on a table, or next to or on either side of the TV.
7. EZVIZ Outdoor Security Camera
Whether you’re watching a scary movie or enjoying a comedy when you hear strange noises outside, the EZVIZ Outdoor Security Camera can provide peace of mind. In fact, we consider it one of the best outdoor security cameras. The weatherproof camera provides 1080p video via WiFi, and has a motion alert, siren, and strobe alert. It provides infrared night vision up to 100 feet, and you can conveniently view what’s happening on your smart phone or via Alexa or Google.
8. Dash Hot Air Popcorn Maker
You can’t have a perfect movie night without popcorn—and we’re not talking about the microwaved kind. The Dash Hot Air Popcorn Maker can cook up to 16 cups of fresh popcorn at one time, so you don’t have to miss the movie because you’re in the kitchen trying to pop enough for everyone. Since the popcorn maker uses hot air, it’s also healthier than either microwave or movie theater popcorn. However, there is a tray on the top of the appliance for butter, if you prefer. It’s easy to operate: add popcorn kernels, place the butter at the top, and then turn the appliance on. When the popcorn has finished popping, simply remove the butter tray and pour it over the popped kernels.
9. Ninja Foodi Power Blender & Processor
You can usually get soft drinks at a movie theater, but consider doing something more interesting at home for your movie night. We recommend the Ninja Foodi Power Blender & Processor, which is also our choice for the best blender food processor combo. Imagine the possibilities: you can use it to crush ice, make frozen daiquiris and other drinks, and create smoothie bowls. The power blender and processor can also mix cookie dough or knead bread dough. You can also make salsas and purees for your chips. In fact, you can choose from six automatic and 11 manual programs. The 72-ounce pitcher has plenty of room to blend everything at one time, and the set also includes three different blades, a blending cup with spout lid, and a blending bowl with lid.
10. EspressoWorks 7-Piece Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker
Some of your more fancy-schmancy movie attendees may prefer hot drinks, and if so, this 7-piece EspressoWorks Espresso Machine and Cappuccino Maker provides everything in one neat bundle. It even includes a separate electric coffee bean grinder (since built-in grinders can take up vertical space, making it hard to store the appliance under your upper cabinets). Another convenience is the removable water tank, which is easy to view, fill, and clean. The 15-bar pump provides the correct amount of pressure for the perfect cup of coffee that’s not too strong and not too weak—although the machine also accepts ESE pods if you prefer to go that route. The machine can also be used for café latte, cappuccino, macchiato, flat white, and Americano brews. The kit includes a stainless-steel milk frothing cup, single- and double-shot filter baskets, and a measuring spoon and tamper for tamping the beans into the included portafilter. It even has two porcelain cups to enhance the barista-style experience.
11. Jackery Solar Generator
Nothing ruins a perfect movie night quite like a power outage—which always tends to happen at the most inopportune time. However, with the Jackery Solar Generator, you won’t skip a beat. Okay, you may skip one or two beats, but then you’ll be right back on track. This trusty companion tops our list of the best solar generators of 2021. The 1,000W continuous/2,000W peak solar generator includes two solar panels. This model can charge eight different items simultaneously, including powering a 60W TV for 14 hours, recharging a smartphone 100 times, and recharging a laptop 12.5 times, while also powering a mini fridge, coffee maker, and microwave. And it’s super easy to charge. You can use the solar panels, the car charger cable, or the AC/DC adapter (all of which are included).
12. PhoneSoap SurfaceSoap UV
Smartphones are among the germiest items we own, and when you have people sitting in close proximity touching food and other surfaces, that’s one source of contamination you don’t need in your home. However, the just released PhoneSoap SurfaceSoap UV is the portable version of the original Phone Soap Phone Sanitizer on our list of the best phone cleaners for germ-free devices. We chose the new version because the original only holds one phone at a time and requires 10 minutes to clean. Depending on how many people are over for movie night, the movie could end while you’re still trying to disinfect all of the devices. However, the PhoneSoap Surface Soap UV is a sanitizing wand that disinfects in seconds instead of minutes, killing 99.95 percent of germs and pathogens on phones, seats, trays, remote controls, doorknobs, railings, and other surfaces. The device works for 30 minutes before you need to recharge it.
13. Casper Sleep Pillows
Casper Sleep Pillows are on our list of the best pillows for side sleepers and Casper is also on our list of the best mattress brands, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about comfort. That’s why we chose the Casper Sleep Pillows over regular throw pillows as one of the items you need for the perfect movie night. The pillows are soft and fluffy, but they also provide support, and they adapt to the user. The pillows have a 100 percent breathable cotton cover that can be removed and tossed into the washing machine. We recommend getting several of these and placing them on your sofas, chairs, and even on the floor so everyone can be comfortable during movie night.
14. Layla Weighted Blanket
Regardless of the season, someone in attendance for movie night is going to be cold, so plan on handing them a Layla Weighted Blanket. We think highly of Layla, and they make frequent appearances in Bob Vila articles, such as the best mattress brands. The blanket has a breathable fleece top layer and a cotton bottom layer. And since it’s a weighted blanket, it’s designed to help people relax. And isn’t that what you really want when people come to your home?
15. Eufy Cordless Stick Vacuum
This last item will help you prepare for movie night, and also help you quickly clean up when it’s over. The Eufy HomeVac S11 Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner can be used on any surface from hard floors to carpets. The various attachments help you clean those cobwebs and dirty vent covers high on your walls (yes, people will look up there!), and remove pet hair from your sofas and chairs before your guests arrive—and also vacuum up popcorn and other debris when everyone leaves. The vacuum cleaner even has LED lights to help you see in dark spaces. The battery lasts for 40 minutes, and there is a spare battery that you can swap out for a total of 80 minutes.
The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on 11/29/21.