One of the first polls in the "Building a Home Theater Area" forum poses the question: "Who designed your home theater?" As one might expect, the initial poll responses vary, with some people opting for the "do-it-yourself" route, while others choose to hire a HT design consultant (such as Dennis Erskine, to use one example for clarification's sake) to help them with the design plans. This poll helped fuel a question I've had in my mind for a while now: should I design my own HT or hire a consultant? There are many sides to this argument, and frankly, I'm not sure which way to go. Regardless of the decision, I'll likely do the construction myself; I'm speaking strictly of the design decision here. I would really like to hear from those of you who have wrestled with this question. What went into your HT design decision process that led you to choose one over the other (DIY vs. hiring a consultant)? If you had to do it all over again, would you make the same decision? What did you like and dislike about your design process (pros vs. cons)? For me, I'm probably a year away from beginning construction on my HT (I hope it's not much longer than that!) but I'm trying to plan for it now. One side of me says that I could design it myself, by looking at the designs of others, and combining the ideas I like with ideas of my own. If I have questions along the way, I know I can always count on the good people at HTF to help me with the answers. Right now I have a good idea of what I'd do in terms of basic room layout, and I'm coming to the point where I'll need to really start to dive into the details of each sub-task (i.e. learning more about lighting, such as what equipment I should buy for scene lighting, how to integrate into the room, etc.) Through the web, I've seen some beatiful rooms that were designed by the homeowner. The other side of me realizes just how complex building a good dedicated HT can be, and that in order to make sure I don't miss any important details, I should spend the money to hire someone who will have thought through the details and can offer me plans that don't leave any "stones unturned". Going this route offers something akin to reassurance that the money spent will yield the best possible theater (I'm thinking mostly in terms of video and acoustic quality here). Details such as acoustic treatments, soundproofing, lighting, seating/riser height, surround speaker placement, etc. are things I'd expect a good designer to be able to help me with. And, I know a designer will come up with a layout that is probably much nicer than what I could imagine (though I would point out that while I want a very nice theater, I don't need it to be quite as elaborate as some of the HTs you see in magazines such as Audio Video Interiors - I am on a budget here!). Perhaps you can help clarify this decision for me by giving me your opinions on the topic. I hope I articulated my question adequately. Let me know if I need to explain something more clearly. Thanks for your help. For me, this is a very important step as it will help shape the next year of planning for me.